Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting even


Even, consistent stitches in machine quilting are a result of everything being “in sync.” The speed of your machine, your hands and how smoothly and evenly they move, the set-up for your machine, even your mood can affect what those stitches look like.

One of the things I suggest over and over to students is to make more than small projects. Start at a 40” quilt. There is a lot of territory to cover in something this size, so you will have some time to build your quality and confidence.

A bigger project, like, oh, a bed quilt, is even better!

The sample of quilting, above, is from the border of my quilt “Shadows of Umbria” and shows how Diane-shiko can be used as a border design. Believe me, after quilting this border on an 85” square quilt I could just about do this design with my eyes closed, and my stitches were nice and even.

It’s harder for me to demo a small sample of a design in class, just sit and begin it and quilt for students, as I am doing it without any warm-up. I have to depend on the fact I’ve done it a lot so that my brain will remember how it all goes and be able to replicate the design.

Quilting on a large quilt gives me the opportunity to really burn in that mind/muscle connection. As I work on one type of quilting until all of it is completed, I can see it smooth out and get better each day. Then I switch to another type of design.

Jumping between designs does not let you build your skill level as successfully.

I take frequent breaks, don’t work when I am tired or in an impatient mood. Quilting is the part of a quilt that lets you escape, sit and hear the comforting rhythmic sound of the machine, in your space with your things around you, in a little cocoon of contentment. At least that is what I am hoping for!

The stitches will even out. They always do. Show them who’s boss.


Keep quilting, your work gets better every day,
Diane

4 comments:

West Michigan Quilter said...

How beautiful. Thanks for your words of wisdom too.

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

I'm so happy to have found your blog! I've always loved your work -- your quilts are breathtaking. Thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful information. I love your books, and I'm looking forward to visiting you here.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks! I promise to try and keep posts coming, but sometimes when I am away on a teaching trip there will be an interval, unless I have extra energy and internet wherever I may be.

Babette said...

Dear Diane,

So funny to read you about the demo's of a design in your classes. When I'm not able to machine quilt for a while, because I'm to busy, I am always scared that I lost my skills. I also have the same problem with quilting in a hurry or when your angry. That's not going anywhere than a bad result.
Best wishes, Babette.