I was particularly excited about this quilt show because I feel like I've had a breakthrough on free motion quilting, thanks in a large part to Leah Day and her Free Motion Quilting Project. I had submitted three pieces to the show, all of which I'd sat on for a few years because I couldn't free motion quilt (FMQ) well. I'm still not great, but at least most of the fear is gone.
One of the pieces was a Magic Tiles quilt done with Australian fabrics. I went to Sydney, Australia in 2001 for a business trip and fell in love with the country and the people. The weather, the beaches (worst sunburn of my life, but I don't hold it against Bondi Beach), the wine, the countryside, the animals, the history, the culture, Sydney. What more can I say? AWESOME!
In 2006, Michelle Dunn of Kallisti Quilts spoke at the Common Threads Quilt Guild, of which I was a member. I loved what she did with oriental, Australian and African fabrics. Because of my wonderful trip to Australia, I couldn’t resist one of her fat quarter packs of Australian fabrics and used it in a Magic Tiles formation to showcase the fabrics. I made it precisely to FMQ it. It was going to be our family room television-watching quilt so I was determined that I wouldn't care how well it was quilted, I would just do it. I quilted in the ditch along all of the sashing and bound it. Then I started the free motion quilting. I did five of the tiles and they were awful. It felt like I was fighting the quilt and the machine. My arms, shoulders and hands hurt. I was totally discouraged. So I left it with the in-the-ditch quilting and we used the quilt as it was.
About two months ago, I was determined to give free motion quilting another try. I had a new machine - no more excuses! I wanted to finish the Australian Magic Tiles the way I'd always imagined it and two other quilts for our guild show. I started FMQ one of the pieces, which I call Breakthrough. The FMQ went much better this time around, but I found that I was struggling to think of different designs.
It's weird how things can come together at the right time. It was just around that time that I found some of Leah's videos on You Tube and then our guild newsletter had some of her designs in it. Clearly, those were some signs. When I went to her site, it felt like a whole new world opened up for me. I think I read every post and watched every video.
I used her site to help my son choose FMQ designs that I should do on his quilt. It worked beautifully! I also went to her site for designs for the Australian Magic Tiles. I wanted to do a different design on each tile. Thanks to Leah and all of her fabulous designs, I was able to do it. She even gave me the confidence to try making up a few of my own.
Back to the show, while I was on 'white glove' duty, a few visitors asked me about the FMQ on the Memories of Australia quilt (my Australian Magic Tiles quilt)! I was thrilled and answered their questions about the FMQ and gave them Leah's site name. And they weren't the only ones! I think I spent the rest of Friday walking on air.
|Memories of Australia (Magic Tiles pattern by Kathleen Bissett)|
|Mitosis FMQ design by Leah Day|
|Tribolite FMQ design by Leah Day|
Thank you, Leah! Your work is amazing and your site is awesome. Thank you for giving me the confidence to just go for it and have fun with FMQ. I just saw that you have put up a Grab a Button, which I have figured out how to add to my sidebar. Again, what great timing!