10 Things I Learned About Machine Quilting

         It feels so good to be finished with this piece. I really struggled with it but only because I had never used free motion quilting to finish a piece this large. So, as I was documenting and taking pictures, I wrote a long list of what I learned:

1. Always test your thread tension before you start stitching on your finished top. It took me awhile to remember this but after picking out endless yucky stitches, I did it consistently.

2. Keep your machine clean of lint lint and well oiled.

3. Use a new needle often!

4. Do not start stitching unless the needle is down and your hands are on the quilt. Those gloves are helpful too.

5. If the machine sounds funny, chances are the back of your quilt looks awful. Ignorance is not bliss in free motion quilting. So stop and figure out the noise.

6. Make sure you are set up correctly and use as much support for the quilt on all sides so you aren’t losing it off the table. Lessen anything you are fighting with and change it so you are comfortable.

7. Be fearless. I started out with all kinds of books and patterns to look at. Heck, the ones I like the most are the ones I just felt free enough to improvise with and make my own.

8. Doodling before I started on my day’s stitching really helped and my stitching was much freer.

9. The stitch should be intentional to the piece. The stitch on this piece is more of a sampler smorgasbord.  I knew that when I started out. But for the next piece, I want the stitch to compliment the work.

10. After the first few pieces, I never looked at the back and let all the mistakes stay there-large stitches, bad tension and little knots when I didn’t keep going. I’ll check more often next. Or maybe not. It will get better!

FINISHED is a very good place to be.

©Colleen Kole, 2013, “Set Free”, 68×71

©Colleen Kole, 2013, close up of “Set Free”

Thanks for your kind comments and encouragement. Review of Lisa Call’s class tomorrow.

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