Struggles and Successes

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.


And Hostas.


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?