Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quilting Gloves and free-motion bomb!

I tried to "free-motion" stipples on a baby quilt that I just finished. Of course I was excited with my new machine and have done stippling on smaller projects, but this time I wanted to do something different. I got out the cute little flower motif stencil and drew that on my squares. I was thinking I would do the flower and then stipple around it. BOMB! MAJOR BOMB! I did two flowers. Of course I didn't check. Why check? It was going ok. Hah! I pulled it off the machine and looked on the back in horror! I had "E's" all over the back. Looked like stitches with eyelashes. I spend the next hour ripping out both of the pretty little flower and was so discouraged! Thank heavens I am going to a free-motion class/machine quilting class in November! I figure I have my Symphony...and it was anything BUT an orchestra! I came out of the studio totally crushed. I know that "perfection" should be out of the vocabulary, but seriously??? It's a simple little flower! Surely I could quilt a measly little flower! The internet is an amazing resource. As Chef Murphy was making lunch, I browsed and looked for a solution to my problem. I knew that you needed to have your hands in a good position. I tried the Neutrogena hand cream on my hands so it would grip a bit better (seriously it works!). But my research indicates my hand speed is too fast for my foot pedal. I move my hands and turn the quilt much faster than the speed of the foot pedal. The reason why I was getting those eyelashes was because I would turn the quilt around corners faster than the speed of the machine. BIG PROBLEM. It's like barely touching the accelerator on a car and turning way too far! The solution to this of course is more practice! Unfortunately the baby quilt cannot wait as it needs to get in the mail asap! So, the short-term solution was to use my walking foot to get something on the quilt. I did what I thought would be good, then realized the quilting was too far apart in some areas. Did I read the instructions on the quilt batting? Of course not! I grabbed the bag that the batting came in and read it was ok to quilt up to 3.5" apart. Some areas were bigger than that, so back in for some more lines! By this time, my hands were sore from wrestling this tiny quilt through the machine. How am I going to ever manage a bigger quilt?
To the rescue...Fons and Porter quilting gloves! I tried them on and thought how stupid I looked with gloves on my hands, but then quickly tossed that aside when I realized how much easier it was to move the quilt! I really had a grip on that quilt and felt more confident moving it on the bed of the machine. Some of the other things I thought about a little too late was the Supreme Slider that I bought a while back.
I am thinking that if I would have known all this and used those nifty tools BEFORE I started my cute little flowers, perhaps I would have been a tad more successful! Learn by your mistakes! Looking forward to my class now more than ever! I'll make sure I take the gloves and the Supreme Slider! Maybe I should start practicing more beofre I put it on a quilt that's headed out the door?

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