Sunday, November 4, 2012


All I can say is… THANK GOODNESS for Heritage Charity Quilts to practice my FMQ on!   This free motion quilting (using my ‘new’ mid arm) is not easy and it’s going to take a ton of practice and lots and lots of quilts!  The Charity Quilts are certainly filling the need..I HAVE to get them done in a timely fashion but still do my very best job…which ain’t great but no one at Heritage seems to mind and they assure me that the babies receiving the quilts won’t be complaining!

Here are this week’s finished Charity Quilts~

First off, let me just say that EVERY quilt has become a LEARNING experience…and believe me, this ‘Tinker Bell Quilt’ was the biggest!!  As you can see I now hand baste my quilt onto the top of the take-up leader and down the side about 6”.  This does away with pins so no more needle breakage can occur (happened TWICE!)…I also put a piece of tape down to mark my quilting area.  This gives me a visual of my space and prevents those flat loops…it’s much like having your needle hit a wall, then travel along the wall!!…Nope THAT’S not happening anymore…!  All learned the hard way…from experience!P1200592

Before I go any further…let me just say that this quilt is my biggest so far.  It spanned the whole length of the frame…which I discover IS NOT A GOOD THING!  At first I was worried about not being able to get to the bobbin…but with a few turns of the ratchet to loosen the quilt I could JUST manage to get in there… much like a blind woman threading a needle!  So that wasn’t THE problem…

Here I am sailing along…the first row…


Dadut..dooot…doot…NEVER get too confident…because….


…CRASH!…right into that BRICK wall…literally!!  The bed of my sewing machine HIT the frame…screech!  End of sewing…with still about 1 1/2” to go!  Yikes!  No more..dadoot dooting for me!!


So I soldier along…eventually this quilt will have it’s borders trimmed!  :o{ Yup…a definite learning curve for sure! 


Zooming in for a close-up!  Loops and stars quilting was perfect for this quilt as the fabric is covered in stars.

P1200645On to the next quilt…

While loading this quilt a light bulb went off.  I am always sticking my head between the bottom underside of the quilt and the bed and looking up to see how the tension is doing underneath the quilt…so I took a full length mirror and laid it on the bed of the frame and now I can just look in the mirror…all the way down!  SEE that is the mirror that you are looking into….genius or what?!  Yup…learning something NEW with every quilt!P1200655Before I quilted this quilt, I watched Green Fairy’s video…SEW helpful!!  I watched the video three or four times, drew out the design several times until I had it ‘down’ and flew at it!!   P1200657

I know you can’t REALLY see it that well…and maybe that is a GOOD THING! ;o)P1200658   P1200661 I liked this design but as you can see I NEED to practice it on at least ten more charity quilts…


And I LOVE it when the backing looks like this!!  Yup, there’s stitching on this…you just can’t see it!!   Whew!  haha…looks great, doesn’t it!


All I can say is, thank goodness babies can’t talk!


SEW come on Heritage…bring on those quilts!  I have got A LOT more to learn!

Hope you are having a SUNNY Sunday (I’m loving this Standard Time…so light out!!) and Happy Quilting!~P


  1. I have tried free motion on my regular machine and I am not good at it at all. Your quilting is looking great!

  2. Great idea with the mirror. I crawl under and back up and repeat to keep checking my tension. Looks like I am off the get a mirror.
    Your quilting looks wonderful.

  3. The mirror is an excellent idea. I usually just run my fingers over the quilting on the underneath side to feel if the tension is bad.

    Those really scrappy quilts are great to practice on. They are busy enough that the quilting isn't that obvious and the little "oopsies" go un-noticed.....especially by anyone who doesn't quilt.

  4. Really enjoying your journey on the mid-arm. It is inspirational-acknowledging that mistakes happen, persevering and moving forward - great role modelling. I am currently quilting a spider-web quilt for my daughter and making a royal mess of it on my domestic -fighting with the fabric, pushing and pulling. Don't know if I will win, don't want to hand quilt it.Guess practicing FMQ may happen sooner than I thought. lol

  5. Babies Sleep a LOT so no they don't really mind what the Quilting 'looks' like. I tell people I know they have their eyes closed when they are using my quilts. :) Mirror is looking good to me.

  6. I know nothing about long arm quilting but I went with a friend yesterday to have a quilt done by a long arm and noticed she had a huge zipper sewn to one side of her take up thing and the other side sewn to her quilt. Both sides of the zipper had been sewn by machine with basting type stitches. Said she had gotten this huge (huge in teeth size as well as length) zipper from an upholstery shop. Don't want to add to your beginners confusion but think this might be food-for-thought when you are more comfortable.
    Enjoy the process!

  7. Paulette you are doing great--don't be too hard on yourself! I still crawl under my quilts four years later and look for tension issues especially when I first start on a quilt.

    I baste down the sides of my quilt as I roll it--keeps everything nice and straight.

    To help you learn where that "STOP" point is, you could place a row of masking tape all the way across the quilt.

    Anytime you want to call and chat, feel free--I feel your pain, I've been there!

  8. Your quilting looks great Paulette. I am getting more comfortable with FMQ on my domestic machine. But a long way from being good at it. I like the stars, but for some reason, I can't seem to think them through naturaly. lol. more practice; I guess.

  9. I admire your fortitude and stick-to-it-ness with respect to learning how to long arm quilt. My two friends who do it are amazing at their craft but it didn't happen overnight.

    Don't be so hard on yourself because you're doing great. It'll all come together with practice, taking classes and watching videos. That's how they learned.

    Have fun!

  10. You are really doing a beautiful job with your quilting and taking the time to learn and learn from your mistakes.


  11. You're doing really great girl, and I LOVE the mirror idea, how brilliant!

  12. Your quilting is lovely. I'm so glad you had this post as I just finished that Aunt Millie's quilt and it is so big I've been worried about putting it on the frame. You gave me things to think about. Wish I could do the free motion like you do. I too have watched that video several times, but am too afraid to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Your doing great Paulette..
    It's not as easy as it seems to be, but I love the loops and stars.
    I just quilted the General, a bit ambitious for a first on SS, but it's done!
    Julia ♥

  14. It looks to me like you have learnt a lot, fast. The loops and stars quilting looks wonderful, but I can't see the other quilting well enough to comment. You're right though, not seeing the stitching on the back is great.

  15. I love your stars and loops, might try that on my next quilt, I've got a gracie frame and a 9" machine so at the end I can only do little designs. I think it is a case of practice, practice, practice...need to find some baby quilts :)