Years ago when I first started blogging at BloomBakeCreate, I ran into a woman, Rhonda, at our local Joann’s. She recognized me from the blog and told me how much she loved the website, and how everything I did turned out great. I was quick to tell her that she didn’t see all of the crap I created! At that point she suggested I talk about that or show some of my unsuccessful pieces.
For those of us who create, we often wade through a lot of “crap” before we get to a post-worthy piece. Today I’m talking about a couple of my struggles and successes.
Free motion has been one of my major sewing struggles. I’ve taken numerous online classes and read several books, but it’s been so difficult. Well, it was until I bought my Juki!
When I went in to test drive the Juki, one of the sales women came over to see what I was doing. She commented that I was really good at it. She had no idea how I have obsessed over the past several years on getting those perfect stitches. And sitting in that store and stitching was the first time I really liked how they looked.
I believe my success was due to this great machine, but I know all of the practice prior to that purchase helped too. One of the classes I took said you need to go through 30 bobbins before you “get it.” I know it’s not been that many, but I am getting more comfortable with it. Here are just a few of my practice samples.
I also found a couple books, Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 and More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 by Lori Kennedy, that were helpful. Both books show lots of different designs, and I love the easy to understand instruction pages.
Here are her instructions for the Square Flower.
And my attempt. I got a bit carried away, and it really doesn’t look at all like hers!
This one is Silly Spiral Flower.
The second from left is my favorite. I definitely need more practice.
I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m seeing the light! I love how my stitches look. Now to get the designs better.
In other struggles, I am working on binding my little art quilts. I wanted to bind them with traditional binding. Last night, after many tries and lots of cuss words, I finished a binding on a piece I sewed years ago for an online class. I wanted to practice binding on it before I moved to my spinner art piece. It’s not perfect, but it’s done.
Thanks to my friend Dawn, who helped me to see I could do this by taking me by the my hand and showing me the process. Also Susan Brubaker Knapp, who’s Fabulous Finishes DVD kept me company last night, helping me through to the end.
I have to admit I really enjoyed hand stitching the binding down on the back of the piece. I originally thought I could stitch in the ditch on the front and catch the back to finish it and it just didn’t work. Prior to trying that I felt like a child throwing a tantrum. “No, I’m not going to hand sew that down. I don’t have to and don’t want to!” But then I got out my needle and thread and really enjoyed finishing it. Interesting.
It feels good to accomplish a couple things I thought I could never do. Are they perfect? No, but I see that with more practice I’ll be happy with them.
How are your struggles coming along?
I think it’s so important to share our journey. We don’t get to the end without going through the middle, and it’s the ‘keep on going’ that eventually gets us to a spot where we are comfortably in sight of the destination.
I enjoy your posts whether it is a completed project, an adventure into another realm, or progress on the road to where you are heading.
Thanks for sharing.
Lynda, congratulations on your “overnight” success! Your process here is just like with writing or any art or skill. It all takes practice. And determination—which you definitely have. I think Malcolm Gladwell is the one who said we need 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. You have the “30 bobbins.” You did it, girl. Woohoo!
Like my other things in life, experience is the best teacher. We have to “do” to get better. Errors teach us to try another way. Tips from others also help. It is so great to have you and other bloggers share the journey! Thank you, Lynda!
My free-motion quilting also improved tremendously with my Baby Lock quilting professional machine like your Juki. It is a straight stitch only machine that can step slowly one stitch at a time or run at a fast speed. When one is in tune with the sound of the machine and the hand coordination, it becomes “second nature” like riding a bike.
Jane, I do think having the straight stitch only machine really helps. It’s not quite second nature, but I look forward to when it is! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, experience is the best teacher for sure.
Barbara, Thanks! Yes, it is like any skill it takes practice, practice and more practice. And it always helps to have experts on hand to guide us. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
Luann, Yes, that “keep on going” was really testing me yesterday. I was wanting to quit and it was saying, “Just push a little bit more.” Thanks for your kind words. I enjoy following your journey too. Lynda
I enjoyed the “practices”. That’s what makes us human, and leads to the great talent that you have!
Love your small hand stitched quilt too. Vibrant colors!
Dolly, Yes, if I could only love putting on binding! Thanks for you sweet words and support.
Sometimes when I am disappointed in the way something turns out, it’s not really so bad. I put it away and when I come across it again I see it with new eyes and it’s lovely. Of course, there are true flops.
Cathy, I know what you mean. Just stepping away for awhile changes my perspective. However, some crap is just crap! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
The joy is in the process! At least that is I what I keep on telling myself!!! I agree with Juki machine! I tried to free motion quilt on my Janome —– very frustrating. I bought a Juki and have not looked back —– not a skilled free motion quilter, but I am at least enjoyiing the process.
We are are own worse critic. I think your quilting looks great 👍 a couple things that helped my free motion journey 1. Machinger gloves – I’ve tried every glove and gadget on the market and when I found these the skies opened up and the quilting angels sang
2. I worked my way thru most of Leah Days 365 quilt designs. All have a video, all are free and she is a good teacher. 3. Once I loosened up and stopped worrying about how this or that looked I was able to relax. Mistakes can easily be fixed by doing a few like your mistake and they think you meant to do it in the first place. Nobody is going to know! You gotta go with the flow, get in the zone (and a glass of wine doesn’t hurt) lol!
I’m by no means a great free motion quilter but I sure do enjoy it
Kare, Yes, that’s what I tried to tell myself about the binding. Usually I love the process, but this was pretty frustrating. But I’ll try again. Isn’t the Juki amazing? It makes it so much more fun when the stitches are beautiful even if my designs don’t quite get it! Thanks for dropping by.
Hi Carol, Thank you. Great tips! Yes, I couldn’t do much FM without those gloves. I’ve taken a couple of her online Craftsy classes but haven’t worked through all of her designs. I really need to practice, practice, practice!! You may think you’re not a “great” FM quilter, but I think your work is amazing! Thanks for the tips!
Congratulations on your persistence and good attitude – Your binding looks terrific!
Susan, Thank you and thanks for your help. Lynda
Binding is my challenge too. Bravo, you,
Judith, So I’m not alone? Thanks!!