Saturday, April 16, 2016

More on the Gifted Quilt Tops...

Quote for the Day:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 
~Henry David Thoreau

So here's the story about that last quilt that I showed in my last post about the gifted quilt tops...

It was not good at all.  It didn't lay flat, it was hand-pieced with big stitches, the colored fabric was coarse and loosely woven, the top had some stains on it, and there was a lot of fraying of the seams on the back.  The colored fabric almost reminded me of loosely woven curtain fabric and the cream fabric was tightly woven and had a "sheen" to it.  The top didn't have a square corner on it ANYWHERE and the cream blocks were larger than the 9-patches, so there was no getting it to lay flat.  

I almost tossed it out.  Then I thought about contacting Tim Latimer to see if he wanted it if I sent it to him for free!  (Tim buys vintage quilt tops cheaply, does what he needs to do to fix their "issues", and then hand quilts them into beautiful quilt tops!)  

Finally, I decided to sandwich it and use it to practice free-motion quilting on.  You see, about 18 months ago I had purchased 2 online free-motion quilting courses from, but had not yet taken them because I was procrastinating.  I've been wanting to expand my FMQing beyond the basic meandering that I normally do, but I never wanted to "practice" on an actual quilt for fear of ruining the quilt.  On the other hand, I didn't want to just take random pieces of fabric and practice on those because...well...that's a waste of fabric and thread..and time.

So I decided to sandwich this poor, pathetic quilt top and practice on it.  If my FMQing was horrible, what did it matter?  The top was in horrible shape anyway, so I wouldn't be "out" anything.  And when I was done, at least I'd have a utility quilt that I could take to the park or use to cover the back seat of the car and not worry about it getting ruined.

So with all of that in mind, I used a cheap piece of fabric that I had picked up at a yard sale for the backing and some pieced-together leftover batting and made a practice sandwich.  I watched the two courses that I had purchased and practiced with a pen and sketchpad first and then practiced on the quilt.  I also watched several youtube videos on different quilting motifs and used those, too.   My ultimate goal was to be able to learn to do free-hand feathers without any marking.

I specifically used a colored thread so that the quilting would show up and I could study it easily and see where I needed improvement.  All of these designs were done free-hand without any marking!!!  There are "tucks" everywhere because the top just wouldn't lay flat...but overall, I was able to quilt it into submission so it doesn't look too bad!!!

This is the final product...

This next design was actually one I came up with on my own and really like it!  

Some free-hand feathers...not too shabby!  They kinda look like feathers!  LOL

I really love this next design...not my own, but one I found online...

And, of course, I had to try writing my name!!!  In the top name I had trouble figuring out the "o" and it came out like an "e", so I had to redo it down below the first one...

Since free-hand feathers were my ultimate goal, I did several blocks of them...
(you can see some tucks in this block)

Overall, I think it turned out well and I got a LOT of practice in!  It ended up being about the size of a throw or couch quilt.  I learned a lot and hope to put it to use in my future quilts!



  1. Awesome! I think you're doing fabulous, and I really like the one that alternates between tall and short loops - it kind of looks like "LOL" on repeat!

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable post about a thoroughly enjoyable quilt! You did a great rescue and the quilt is charming, "Warts and all", as they say.

  3. Looks good to me!! Your feathers work and I really like that "blobs on a line" quilt motif. I saw that on a blog not long ago, but haven't tried it yet. Nice work!!