Monday, April 28, 2014

Learning from Others

I've never said I know everything there is to know about quilting. Recently I learned that I'm not producing it quite right yet, either!

I was humbled to receive quilt scores from judges who examined Bloom, the quilt juried into, and shown at the Machine Quilter's Expo (MQX) in New Hampshire earlier this month.

Here's a picture of the quilt, in case you don't remember.

I'll start by telling you I wasn't a winner. I'll even be brutally honest and show you my quilting scores:

Out of a possible 80 points, I received 64. It would have been nice to have been able to ask the judge about my thread choices - what would have been more appropriate? As for thread tension; stitch length; and starts/stops... those scores aren't such a surprise. No matter how long you've been free motion quilting - for me it's 14 years - it's tough to maintain an even stitch length (without using a stitch regulator), and those blasted stops and starts... well. Most quilters who know me know that I like to just lock the stitches and then cut them off. I know what I should be doing instead... taking the time to rethread and bury the tails in the batting. Oh, but that sounds SO tedious! 

Note the comment, on the left. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll remember that this is the quilt that I thoroughly marked up (for FMQing) with Frixion pens, in different colors. And then, after pressing the quilt to remove the marks, I washed the quilt... and every mark came back! It was a really tough lesson. No more Frixion pens on my quilt tops! Even though I touched up the quilt top with an iron before sending it to MQX, apparently I missed removing some pen color. 

This is the first time I've ever received a judges score sheet that gave me so much feedback. I'm learning, and will keep striving to improve. 

Now it's my turn to share with you! Not only about these Fine Line Rulers by Accents in Design - I really like them and plan to use them more often - but also about how nice it is to have a different quilting foot for doing ruler work. This is the open-toed foot I bought on Ebay. Though I could FMQ with the regular foot, the higher "heel" (quarter-inch thick height) makes ruler work a breeze! 

And I love that the needle is only about 3/16th of an inch from the ruler - a narrower distance for eyeballing making lines meet, as I did when I was making this elongated V. I used my curved ruler, at intervals, to achieve the cone effect. 

There was no plan to my playing as I tried out this new foot. In this design, I quilted one arc with the curved ruler, and then quilted with the straight-edge ruler. The lines aren't evenly spaced, but they could be by simply by using a measuring ruler to make a registration mark at regular intervals. 

With another curved shape ruler I managed to make clamshells. No marking!

 Effective quilting would be a different design in each clamshell.

Much like you, I find free motion quilting design ideas by observing what other quilters are doing. Here are a few (in no particular order) whose work I admire, with links to their blogs.

Domestic Machine Quilters 
Karen, Nana Girl Quilts, Florida
Marelize, Stitch by Stitch, South Africa
Patricia, Happy Days Quilting, United Kingdom
Wendy, Ivory Spring, Virginia
Emma, Sampaguita Quilts, Australia
Geta, Geta's Quilting Studio, Romania
Patsy, Patsy Thompson Designs, Ohio

Longarm Quilters
Jenny, Sew Kind of Wonderful, California 
Angela, Quilting is My Therapy, Missouri

It's apparent that I lean toward the designs of domestic machine quilters. Their designs seem more "real" to me - less intimidating than those of longarm quilters who not only manage uber-elaborate quilting, but seem to whip out finishes in no time at all!

Aren't we glad to live with technology at our fingertips, where the work of such talented women can so easily been seen?! Linda

21 comments:

  1. How brave you were to enter your quilt in a juried show! And how humbling! Thank you for sharing your experience and for the links to other FMQers. I am just beginning the FMQ journey and really rely on others experiences to help me grow. Have a wonderful week!!

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  2. I have been a scribe at our local quilt show and it is such a wonderful education....."straight lines should be straight, bindings should be full and mitered corners should be sewn shut".....just to name a few things that everyone seems to have at one time or another.
    I think doing the best you can do is good enough, don't let it take away the beauty of your quilt. I know that you will now think about those things as you go along on the next quilt and I am sure it will be even better!
    Your quilts are wonderful no matter what the judges say!

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  3. Wow, thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to see what the score would be in another juried show. I've heard so many quilters say they didn't make the grade in one show, only to enter the same quilt in another and ribbon! I wonder if the Frixion marks came back on your quilt if it got too cold while in shipment to the show? Seems I've read where that has happened. That quilt is beautiful and I've always admired your work.

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  4. Regardless of what those judges said, I still think your quilt is fabulous and beautifully executed. I would like to see the winning quilt as I can't imagine that it could be any nicer/better made than yours. How many points did the winning quilt get? So don't fret, in my eyes you are the winner ;)!

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  5. It's helpful to know the standards and where the hits and misses are. That's a lesson on the Frixion pens! The rules are great, but never more so than on those clamshells- wow. Easy to see that the thicker/higher foot is a help, too.

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  6. I'm no fancy judge, but I think your quilting is amazing.
    Thanks for the links to other quilters you like. Now that I've done some FMQ on my machine and tested out a long arm, I feel more comfortable on my home machine as well. I forget if you've answered this before, but why don't you like the stitch regulator?

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  7. I think you are so brave to even enter. I don't think I would want a judge looking at my work so close! You are an inspiration Linda. Everything you do is beautiful.

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  8. You are brave to enter a juried show. I don't believe I ever will because I know I don't pay enough attention to detail. I make the quilts for my enjoyment. Please remember all the accolades you've received before. I liked the comment indicating that you made exemplary fabric choices for the design. It's a beautiful quilt. I also hate burying knots. So there!

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  9. Each event is a step of the journey. I agree that if you did your best, then you should be happy. It really is a pretty quilt Linda. Enjoy!

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  10. Show quilts really are in an entirely "other" world aren't they? I am always so amazed and impressed with the skill involved in winning quilts. Not something I even aspire to do. Good for you for putting yourself out there and learning along the way. I think your quilt is beautiful and in the end we have to love what we make. Just keep making because your work is wonderful.

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  11. While that may be the most feedback you've ever received, it doesn't seem like a lot of information. When I read the comment, I most definitely remembered your Frixon experience! It's a gorgeous quilt and I know you enjoyed and learned from the experience.

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  12. It's great to get some feedback and know where improvements are needed. we don't have that in our juried shows here.
    Thanks for the tute on using the rulers. I am also looking at all the links you posted and checking out their quilting tips.

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  13. I agree that you are so brave to let someone scrutinize your work so closely, Linda! I wonder if any of the judges have used the Frixxon pens....they certainly would be interested in knowing why you had lines showing! This was a great post, btw!!

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  14. Linda I admire the fact that you're willing to enter a quilt into a juried show - I know that having others critique your work has to be a nail-biting experience. Your work is simply stunning to me and I only wish I could do as well. This quilt in particular is one of my favorites of yours. I have only used the Frixion pens a time or two but I'll certainly be careful with them. I've got a call into my sewing machine store at home to ask about the foot you showed on an earlier post. They don't know anything about it but they're checking for me. blessings, marlene

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  15. I have only entered quilts in local shows but I always learn from the judges comments.
    I will not use those pens either because of other bloggers experience with them.

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  16. I was referred to your post by Carrie from A Passion for Applique after I blogged about the Frixion pens and wondering if the marks would come back. Wow! I am going to think twice about using them again also. Good for you entering a show. I have been afraid!!

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  17. This is fascinating reading. First of all, I thought this quilt was amazing. I'm proud of you for entering it into competition. I'm really interested on those rulers as I get closer to dipping my toes into FMQ. Also the foot looks very interesting. I wonder if it would fit on my Juki.

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  18. There's a LOT to be said for even entering a quilt! Congrats for being willing! It's an awesome quilt!
    I bought that ruler set also. If they fall in the floor, though, those little finger holds are gone for good!

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  19. Your quilt was one of my very favorites at MQX. The colors are so me. I've always wondered what the judges write so thanks for sharing that.

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  20. It was inspiring to read your post and then all the comments, as well. As someone who grades, it sounds like they gave you all the high scores they felt they could, but what I don't understand is why they didn't explain the rationale for the "one-pin-under" scores. I guess we'll never know. I'm completely impressed with your score, I have to say.

    I just got my straight edge ruler, and I can see I'm going to have to track down that foot--a visit to my sewing machine shop is coming up, but I'm guessing maybe it will have to be at ETSY shop or something.

    All I can say is that you are such a great example to me and have really helped me get going on my FMQ. I had a nice chat with a longarmer at guild the other night after showing off my Santa quilt, and she acknowledged that while my quilting wasn't perfect, it was as perfect as it could be! I think sometimes those show quilts blow us out of the water, but we shouldn't compare ourselves to them (and neither should those judges!).

    Bravo! to you--
    Elizabeth

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  21. It was inspiring to read your post and then all the comments, as well. As someone who grades, it sounds like they gave you all the high scores they felt they could, but what I don't understand is why they didn't explain the rationale for the "one-pin-under" scores. I guess we'll never know. I'm completely impressed with your score, I have to say.

    I just got my straight edge ruler, and I can see I'm going to have to track down that foot--a visit to my sewing machine shop is coming up, but I'm guessing maybe it will have to be at ETSY shop or something.

    All I can say is that you are such a great example to me and have really helped me get going on my FMQ. I had a nice chat with a longarmer at guild the other night after showing off my Santa quilt, and she acknowledged that while my quilting wasn't perfect, it was as perfect as it could be! I think sometimes those show quilts blow us out of the water, but we shouldn't compare ourselves to them (and neither should those judges!).

    Bravo! to you--
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete

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