The bad news:
Grrr #1 - I hate it when this happens (the edge of the quilt got caught underneath while I was top-stitching and I had to take the stitches out and redo that little bit). If this has never happened to you, I'm totally jealous. If you know how to stop it from happening, please tell me! It happens to me too often.
Major Grrr #2 - Not sure how this happened - probably when I had my piles lined up on my sewing table. We would have FOR SURE noticed these two blocks with the same square of fabric next to each other while we were doing the big layout on the floor - my helper was very diligent.
The good news:
Yay #1 - Thank you so much everyone for your advise and tips. They really helped.
Yay #2 - I did it! I free-motioned the entire quilt! Wohoo! It was so much fun, once I just relaxed and found my groove. Apparently, part of my technique requires my tongue to copy the movement of my hands - outside my mouth. Or for my lips to purse tightly and prevent my tongue from escaping altogether. Who said quilting was attractive?
(One of several little oopsies that I'm daring to show you.)
While I was machining, my girls noticed right away that I was doing something different and they were quite interested. I even had a little audience for a while, which was nice. "It looks like you're scribbling with your sewing machine," they said. I agreed. It felt like I was scribbling.
But now in my house "Loops" is officially renamed as "Swirly Twirly". THAT'S a great name. Thanks, girls!
This block is in the last part of the quilt that I "Swirly-Twirlied" so it's much better than the first corner (above).
It reminds me of the quilt I made when I was learning how to hand-quilt. You can really tell which was the first block I did and which was the last.
I like the "historical" aspect of it - seeing where I began and where I ended up. Do you have a project (quilt or otherwise) like that lying around to remind you how much you've improved at something?
So, not exactly blue-ribbon-quality but a respectable job, if I do say so myself. I'm happy to report that I'm encouraged by these results and can't wait to freestyle the next quilt!