September 28, 2010

Hot Mess Time Machine

I'd like to spend a little time horrifying reassuring you that the first steps down the path of free motion quilting aren't necessarily pretty. So let's step in my time machine and go back six years, to the first quilt I ever quilted. I kept this quilt in a dark dark drawer for five of the past six years. So please take it as an expression of love that I'm sharing my dirty little secret with you.


When I was working on my practice pad things looked pretty good, but for some reason when I started on the actual quilt it all dissolved into wackiness. Sound familiar?


I'd say this is about 30 stitches per inch.


Stops and starts - out of control.



What was I thinking using dark thread on white fabric? I don't know, but it's coming in handy now that I want to show it to you!








I had no idea what I was doing. 


On the back my bobbin thread was pretty much just laying on the quilt.


Oops.


By the end of it I improved a bit.  And from far enough away I don't totally want to burn it.


So if you're just starting out, with angles where you want curves, crooked lines where you want straight ones, stitch length issues and awful tension, carry on. It's just the way it has to be.The way out of this free motion morass is through. Keep stitching. Get through that first quilt and on the road to better quilting.

A special thank you to those who have posted their free motion stitching on the Flickr group. It is so exciting to see your experimentation and progress, you are all doing fabulously! Thanks for being brave enough to share your progress.

27 comments:

Jennwith4 said...

Thank you for sharing this with us! I need to get to work on my practice quilt! I'm a little bit behind!

theodora said...

Appreciate you sharing your beginnings, that means there is hope for us, and the quilt is so beautifull.

Fat Chick Design said...

Learning curves! Thanks for sharing!
:)

Diane said...

I appreciate your honesty! On a quilt forum I belong to people post pictures of "firsts" that have beautiful, symmetrical feathers; lovely but definitely not firsts.

Diane said...

I think your quilting is wonderful! I've been practicing on scraps for awhile now and my FMQ is not quite up to the level shown on your quilt :( so I've been sticking with straight line. I hope with more practice I may be able to get brave enough to try free-motion on a 'real' quilt. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Gene Black said...

Thanks for sharing honestly. I am not a rank beginner at free motion. But I am still very new to it. I can see things getting easier to control. As in most things, practice, practice practice! The more you do the easier it gets.

Also, everyone should remember that irregularities are not mistakes, they add to the charm of the quilt.

Carmen said...

Hola Cristina:
Con este post haces que siga hacia delante, pues estoy en ese momento que crees que todo va bien en la práctica pero en la colcha real es un fracaso.
También quería que me explicaras como hacer para poner mis avances y retrocesos en flick.

Muchas gracias y besillos

Pamela said...

Thank you so much for posting that it makes me feel so much better and gives me hope I can do this

Stormy Days said...

Wow, I feel so much better after seeing that. Thanks for sharing.

Karey said...

LOL! Thank you for being so humble as to share! Everything looked so familiar!

Merry Made Quilts said...

THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU!!! For reminding us that everyone doesn't start out just flowing along flawlessly!!

Dolly said...

Oh, what a wonderful friend you are to let us into your private world of learning by trial !

Thank you so much.......this is a perfectly timely post for me, and I'm going right now to share yesterday's experience with those in the Flickr group.

You're the best !

Sherry Hogan said...

I'm glad you posted your first practice quilt, it helps to see others beginnings and know we will get better. I'm glad I found you and thank you for for doing this for beginners.

Mama Pea said...

What a great post. I love the comment about "learning curves!" That is just great. Thanks for sharing. It really does help me to see where others started, too. I am glad you could share your dirty little secret with us.

DragonPoodle said...

ha! that's EXACTLY what my first SEVERAL attempts at quilting on the frame look like! and you know what? the people who received these quilts just loved them and still do.

Barb H said...

How did you get my quilt???? The pix look exactly like my first FMQ attempt! It's uncanny! Like you, I did fine on the practice piece but on the real quilt--oh oh. And I still find that to be true--just not so dramatic as at first. Yes, keep pushing on through the morass--it will get better!

Eileen said...

my all time favorite quote is by ralph waldo emerson: That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased. it's so true in just about everything in life and fmq is no exception. thanks so much for sharing your quilt--which is beautiful by the way...warts and all. it shouldn't be hidden. it is what is!!

Hollie said...

Thank you for sharing and I love your words of encouragement and advice. I am so afraid to try free motion quilting, I always end up straight line-ing it. But I think I am ready to try free motion again.

Jeane said...

Christine, thanks for sharing your first FM quilt as it really gives us that factor, "This Will Work".

I am just loving your class and when I am done I will have a lovely sampler to refer back to when I can't think of what to use. I hope this lasts for the whole year.

Eileen said...

Thanks for sharing...makes me feel so much better!!!

Sarah Craig said...

You are one classy lady to show off your early work! It will be such an inspiration to those who are struggling through the beginning stages of FMQ! Way to go!!!

Wickedly Divine Creations said...

Wow It gives me hope that mine will look nice with practice too cause the back of my quilts look just like this one....worse in some spots LOL

Janet said...

Thanks for giving me hope of improvement in my quilting. I am behind and need to catch up now. So true--I'll be going along so good and all of a sudden I'm goofing it all up. lol I love how you share and make me laugh, but encourage me too.

Suzanne said...

I sometimes look at one of my first quilts and think I'd should get rid of it because my tension was so bad. It started in the piecing and never improved. But it's always good to have a measure of how much progress we have made so I've kept it. And from a distance, it looks pretty darn ok. :-)

Jorie said...

I just finally finished the binding on the quilt I consider my first "free motion quilt"... I wish I had seen this post before I started for the "dark thread on light fabric" part... I had done "stippling" and wavy lines before, and this was my first attempt at any kind of real design. Although the hubby thinks it's awesome, he doesn't know what I was going for, and doesn't know why I am disappointed at a few spots where there are "angles instead of curves" ;) Thanks for sharing this! The quilt is staying with us, and my kids have already adopted it as theirs, and it was definitely good learning and experience!

Maiasaura said...

Hi, Christina. I'm working on my first FMQ right now. It's intended to be a baby gift, but it looks so crazy, I regret having my first one be a gift. I should have quilted something I meant to keep. But it will keep a baby warm and it is being made with lots of love (and also a fair amount of cursing). It's so heartening to see where you started out. I am going to keep trying. I have faith I will get better because I have seen what your quilting looks like today. I really wasn't prepared for how hard this would be. But I am determined to get good at this. The possibilities are just too fun and gorgeous to not try.

Sara Glascock said...

I am working on a quilt for my sister that looks something like this. I normally just walk away and come back, before deciding to rip it out. Thanks for sharing.

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