Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October's Challenge!

October's FMQ Challenge

Whew, got it done!  October's Free Motion Quilting Challenge was from Teri Lucas, who challenged us to use a combination of batting, such as wool, silk, or bamboo, and experiment with different types and weights of thread, on silk fabric.  True to form, I waited till the last minute, though I did do my "practice on paper" ahead of time.

Paper Practice
I didn't have any wool or silk batting laying around, and I wanted to find some different threads to play with.  Saturday was my birthday, so I dragged my husband to Joann's to see what I could scare up.  I already had worked with bamboo batting, so I picked up some wool stuff.  There wasn't a silk option.  I also found some silk thread to play with.

I had some "homework" for my church's annual Holiday Bazaar (we bazaar ladies sew all year round) that I needed to get done.  I fired up my machine on Monday evening and did a nice little sunflower panel.  Everything worked great.  Then Tuesday, I was planning on doing another fall piece for the Bazaar and then work on my challenge piece, giving me lots of time to finish it up today. But darn it, the thread kept shredding and breaking!  I never did finish the fall piece, and I didn't start my challenge piece until today, the last day of the month!

For my top fabric, I used a scrap leftover from making my daughter, Lisa's prom dress.  It is a beautiful shade of teal, but my pictures make it look quite blue.  

Brandon and Lisa
It took me a couple of hours, but got it done in time.  As I was quilting it, I was thinking that my lack of practice during the month was really showing.  My "backtracking" stitches weren't very good, and my pebbles weren't very round.  But looking at it now, I'm thinking it's pretty good.  Amazing what stepping away from something for a while and then taking a fresh look does for you. :-)

I thought my name was going to give me problems since when I write, I pick up my pen to do the second half of the "K," but I figured it out.  The nautilus shells were tough.  Even on paper I couldn't get the inside lines consistently curved the same.  And I have large and small spaces in them.  

Here's the details for those interested:
  • Lisa's silky prom dress fabric on top
  • wool batting from Joann's
  • a scrap piece of thin cotton batting
  • muslin on the back
  • mostly used a size 14 quilting needle
  • also used a size 16 universal needle

  • outside square and nautilus shells and bubbles - gray Coats and Clark polyester trilobal
  • inner outside square- ivory Talon 100% cotton quilting thread
  • "Kathy" and echoes - gold mystery thread, possibly Coats and Clark rayon (hate it when the labels fall off!!)
  • clamshells - black Coats and Clark Dual Duty XP 100% polyester - this is the only thread I had trouble with, it broke two or three times.
  • feather - teal Gutermann 100% silk
  • plump feather - navy JPCoats rayon 40 wt. - the only thread that told me what weight it was.  Why do they leave that important information off the label? ...probably the same label designer that uses the cheap glue so the labels fall off!
  • tiger stripes (top right-hand corner) - YLI metallic silver

Another camera shot that shows the quilting better.

All in all it was interesting to work with the different threads.  The two layers of batting for the whole piece were a bit too much, I think.  But the alternate challenge for the month was using two layers under part of the design for a trapunto affect.  That worked and looked much better (more on that another day). This challenge pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is great.  How else am I supposed to learn new things?

I've still got a nice chunk of wool batting to play with.  Can't wait to see how it quilts, feels and looks on its own instead of layered with the other batting.

Happy Quilting!