Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Why I Quilt the Way I Do
I'm not very good at machine quilting. I mostly do straight lines: stitch in the ditch and straight diagonals. Sometimes I give in and attempt free motion quilting.
I find free motion quilting quite hard to do, and have never mastered the traditional patterns. I don't like meandering much. I have had to develop my own style. One problem I have is that my machine skips stitches when I free-motion. It'll be going along fine, and then suddenly I get three or four half-inch (or even bigger) size stitches. Not good! (I thought I had fixed this by using Quilting Needles, but no such luck. I'm pretty sure one big cause is pilot error.)
The quilting that I show here sort of compensates for skipped stitches. I did wonky concentric circles as you see in the pictures below.
When skipped stitches happened, I backed up and re-stitched that area, or went back around, adding to the circle, and filled in the space with semi-normal size stitches. (Since it's me in the driver's seat, they're not ever really normal.) Later I cut out the large, skipped stitches if possible, or just left them there if they camouflaged by my added stitches.
Here are some examples, from two different quilts. The first examples are on the back of the quilt that is pictured above.
This is a quilt I made a few years ago; these pictures show the front of the quilt.. similar wonky circles..
and my other speciality is wonky star-shapes, like this:
I wonder what people think when I donate quilts that I have finished in this style. Are they surprised it's done in that wonky, break-the-rules style? Do they even realize it's not traditional? Do they care? Do they like it/dislike it? I've had to settle for it in my own mind.. I even sort of like it.. but I do wish I could do some traditional swirlies or feathers and such with a certain level of ease. So far I have not come close. Perhaps my domestic machine will never allow me to quilt anything too fancy. I know I don't want to get heavily involved in long-arm quilting, so for me this is what has to happen. When I want it to look professional and nice, I "quilt by check."
How do you handle this dilemma of how to get your quilts finished?