Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garden Fence Memory Quilt - Steps of Progress

This project is moving right along. All of the blocks for the top are made so another step checked off the list. So far, this project has undergone:

  The selection of a design


  The creation of a few sample blocks to confirm the design choice

This week, lots of cutting happened. One lesson learned with this project is that it takes a lot more time to cut quilt blocks from clothing than it does from fabric yardage. The odd shapes make squaring up take a little more time, especially since many of these clothing item are plaids and stripes, and it also takes time to look over each cut to make sure that there are no stains, flaws, or worn spots.

Believe it or not, those stacks are enough to make 42 blocks. The picture doesn't do it justice. Trust me, there is a lot of fabric in those stacks! The Garden Fence blocks need two different fabrics, one in the center, and one for the borders. To mix and match, the center blocks were lined up on the table.

And then all the border pieces were placed on top to make a pair for each block. My goal was to mix them up as much as possible.

The weekend was all about getting these blocks sewn together. The Garden Fence block sews together fairly quickly, primarily because there are no points to match. I developed quite a rhythm by the end.

My goal for the next week is to turn these blocks into a quilt top. There is some rearranging to be done, sashing to be cut, and then it is just a matter of sewing them all together. There are a lot of good memories in these quilt blocks and I am having a great time stitching them into a special quilt.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Doodling to Improve Free Motion Quilting

I have a little bit of a doodling habit. I also have a habit of not being able to sit still. Doodling is a way to fidget least that is my story and I am sticking with it.

What I have learned is that all that doodling really helps build muscle memory for my free motion quilting. At work, all of my notes go into a bound book so it was easy to look back over the year to see how my doodling has evolved. 

Doodling helps me listen better, too. My mind becomes very focused when I draw. Doodles often start safely in the side margins of my paper.

One thing I have noticed this year is that my doodles became much more quilty after I took Angela Walters class on Craftsy, How to Quilt Negative Space. 

Sometimes doodles wander into the top margin of the page.

And every now and then, doodles take over EVERYWHERE!

They even inspire patterns and design. The sun that shows each ray as a different design might just become part of a bigger quilt design in the near future.

And Maureen Cracknell over at Maureen Cracknell Handmade certainly has put feathers on the brain. I love all of her drawing and quilting and can't wait to get my hands on her first fabric line later this fall.

I never have a plan for what is going to show up on paper. The wavy lines with the solid point on the bottom near the middle of the page was very random and then I decided it looked like a wild and wacky witch leg. You can see what happened after that idea popped into my head.

One day, I'm going to sit down with a blank canvas of a quilt and see what evolves. 

Doodling doesn't come naturally to everyone. I highly recommend it and here are some tips if you'd like to give it a try:
  • Let go of perfectionism.
    It isn't a tattoo. It isn't intended to be a masterpiece. It is just for fun.
  • Let it be fun.
    It is okay if it is ugly, or goofy, or unidentifiable. This reminds me of children's art work where I was advised not to say, "What is it?" but to say, "Tell me about it." Really, it doesn't have to be anything at all.
  • Let it be random.
    There is never a plan when I doodle. Sometimes I will just draw a wavy line on my page. Then I will draw dots on either side of the line. Then little triangles. Then I will look at it and might see a face or a feather or a cloud. It is totally cool to turn it into an ink blot test or cloud watching exercise.
  • Let it inspire you.
    You never know where a random doodle will lead you. It could be a quilt design, a machine quilting filler, a story you want to write, or it could simply be a mind settling exercise to ease you through some part of your day.
  • Don't be hindered by supplies.
    Something to write on. Something to write with. That is all. Pen on paper. Chalk on sidewalk. Stick in the dirt. All perfect mediums for your perfect doodles.

Do you doodle? I would love to hear your tips and see your designs. If you don't, give it a try and share those doodles. They may inspire someone else as much as they inspire you.
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