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,


West Michigan Quilter said...

How beautiful. Thanks for your words of wisdom too.

Kim Brackett 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.