Ok. I'm DE-TER-MINED to get this free-motion thing down. The book just makes it seem so easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. (Don't know what free-motion quilting is? Here's a quick video.)
History: I got my first sewing machine for my 15th birthday. I loved it. I set it up in my bedroom and used it a lot. It was great for sewing a straight line but I could forget about reversing, buttonholes, major thickness (as in quilted bags). At the time I didn't fully comprehend the severe limitations of my machine.
I took a machine-quilting class (in like 1993) but my results were as crappy as my machine and I just assumed I was a genetically lousy free-motioner. The end. Not in the cards for me.
In about 2004 I got a really sweet Pfaff and I went from being an "ok" sewer to ... if I may say so ... a really good one. My machine can do almost anything I ask it to - except make my morning cup of tea :). There is definitely something to be said for using good tools.
So when I tried free-motion again I was better than before, but not perfect. And there's the problem (another one ... ) - I'm a perfectionist. That DOESN'T mean I think I'm perfect. It means I loathe not being able to do things perfectly and if I can't nail it on the first or second try, I'd rather give up. I know, I know, totally immature and not very attractive. But I'm working on it. I'm trying to be ok with "my best at the time" instead of "the best or nothing at all".
Blah, blah, blah. Enough about that. Back to the quilt already!
In the book, this quilt is top-stitched with classic stippling. I was introduced to it as “dog-boning”. I don’t know if it's the name or what (why couldn't it have been called "Feather in the Wind" or "Wandering Fairy" or even "Toddler at the Park"?), but it never really excited me. Now loops - that's a style I can get behind! Funny, there isn’t much difference between the two but for some reason I just prefer the look of loops. So this is the first design I'm attempting.
I had four leftover blocks (on purpose) so I sewed them together to use for practice. But free-motioning didn’t get off to a good start. First, I forgot to tighten a screw and the foot fell off, breaking a needle.
Then this ...
(Deep breath.) It’s NEVER a good day when you need this ...
But a minor tension adjustment later and I was back on track ... sort of.
Here's a bit of my practice swatch. (Please don't laugh too hard - you have no idea what it took for me to show you this!)
I felt like my brain had zero control over the operation - lots of involuntary jerking & zagging - and possibly (probably) the occasional bad word. I know my stitch length needs work. Some places have a distinct "connect the dots" look. I gotta get used to the concept of pedal to the metal, which according to my manual is the secret.
Clearly more practice is required.
I hate practicing.
(Someone please cue the violins ... )