Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 FMQ Bonus Challenge #4 - Teri Lucas

I was finally able to get back to the sewing machine over the weekend, and just finished up Bonus Challenge #4 by Teri Lucas for SewCalGal's 2012 Free Motion Quilt Challenge.  Teri's tutorial was all about creating great quilt designs in a kaleidoscope pattern from photos or clip art, using the software program Kaleidoscope Kreator 3.  Teri also provided a great sample feather design in pdf format for those participants who did not have access to the software program, and that is what I used for this sampler.

I'll say right at the outset that I made a LOT of mistakes planning and carrying out this project, as you'll soon see.  I printed the pdf design on Dritz Printed Treasures 200 thread count pima cotton.  This was the first time I had used this brand of inkjet printable fabric, and I was quite pleased with the color/print quality obtained.  Since the colors on the pdf were intense, the printer laid down a lot of ink and rendered the cloth almost canvas-like, even after rinsing and ironing.  The kaleidoscope feather design was quite small, and the heavy canvas-like print made quilting tiny even stitches nearly impossible for me.  Tried several sizes/types of needles but the sewing machine sounded like a machine gun going through the layers no matter which needle I used.  The stiffness of the fabric also left the design quite flat.  But we persevered and also quilted down all the blank areas around the feathers - more popping and banging of the machine.  First Lesson learned - I'll use this printable fabric again for photos, quilt labels, etc. but definitely will keep the colors less saturated and will only stitch in the ditch around the edges and NOT attempt to FMQ over the face of this fabric again!

Second lesson:  don't use a tightly woven sheeting for backing fabric just because you happen to have it, no matter how many times it has been washed!  Result:  large needle holes showing every stitch!

Third lesson:  don't try to make decisions or do precision FM quilting a few days after surgery when you're still in pain and/or on pain meds!  Definitely not optimal timing for any intricate or small scale quilting, witness the narrow borders, lol!  The variegated thread in the light green border was another bad decision, too much space between color shifts and they don't blend naturally in this type of design.

All that said, this morning I decided to just wing it with freehand feathers around the outer border, and had an absolute blast!    And here is what I ended up with.  No binding yet since I haven't decided how this might be used.

When time permits I'd like to try another method of transferring this design to a fabric with a softer hand and have another go at quilting the kaleidoscope star, which is really very pretty, and I think would make a great design for corner blocks on a large quilt.  A big thank you to Teri Lucas for sharing this tutorial with us and to SewCalGal for sharing insights on Kaleidoscope Kreator!  This software program looks like it will be a fabulous design option and I look forward to working with it sometime soon.  This tutorial turned out to be a great learning experience for me in so many ways, and that of course is what this challenge is all about. 


  1. You got it....the Printed Treasures is hard to stitch through and it is not for quilting. Ditto on the sheeting. I know gals that use it, but it is not for me.
    The feathers are fabulous! You have gotten them down and here I am still figuring them out. They are fun to play with. This piece looks great and shows the motifs you stitched off so well. A super job you did....congrats!!

  2. Despite your problems, your FMQ challenge piece is awesome! Of course, the feathers look wonderful and I love them! I plan to use feathers a lot in the future! I'm not home now, but when I get there I have to get busy and get some quilting done!!!

  3. This is beautiful! Your feathers are so nice. I really need to practice them. Maybe when I grow up (haha) mine will look as nice as yours!

  4. Your quilting is beautiful! Your feathers just look so perfectly done. I'm glad I didn't print all the colors. I just transferred the outline of the kaleidoscope feather design. I had heard it was hard to stitch through. I did like the design and would like to look into that software.

  5. Regardless of all your problems this is just beautiful, Thank you for all the information you have given us about your problems, I have made notes of this and no doubt others will find it very useful too. I am laughing though at the description of your sewing machine sounding like a machine gun, I know exactly what you mean with that description. hee hee. Love it though regardless and kudos to you for sticking with it. A master quilter has been made...fabulous.

  6. Well done! Thank you for sharing the difficult experiences...those are useful to know! Even so, the end result sure looks great!

  7. In spite of your difficulties this has turned out really really well! I have learnt a lot from reading this post - as I'm about to start with mine- so thank you for the honest account.

  8. Your quilt top is beautiful, until I read your post would not have known the struggle you had quilting it. I learned so many things from reading your post, so glad you shared your learning experience. Thank you for sharing. Hope your surgery heals well :)


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