Thursday, 10 December 2009

Baby Batik 9-Patch Part 1

My baby batik 9-patch is done. It's a pretty involved quilt, so I'll feed it to you in piece-meal :) I'll have to savour the quilting on this quilt!

It all started with me finding this awesome free-motion quilting blog: by Leah Day. She challenged herself to create/showcase one free-motion filler design (to cover large areas) a day for a year. Some of the designs are very similar, others are really amazing. Here you can see all of the designs she has come up with or described so far.

Because I'm a scientist, I was lured in by the design she calls "Stomach lining", so I did this one on my first background block in the batik 9-patch:

"Stomach Lining"

It was really easy, so I went ahead and picked other motives I liked and zoomed through them!

"Sea Anemone"

"Swirling Flames"


Now, I thought these designs would be difficult, but I basically just had her example up on the computer screen as reference and went ahead. Sometimes I'd watch her video to see how she does a particularly tricky part, other times I just did the whole design from memory (and it turned out slightly different, of course :)

I found traveling (=stitching pack over a quilting line to get to a different place in the design) tricky at times, especially when I was going too fast - because in that case, there were 5 stitches off the original path, instead of just 1 or 2.

Also, I had a really hard time with skipped stitches, where your needles goes through the fabric several times and just doesn't pick up the bobbin thread from the bottom. I've blogged about this problem before and have figured out that there are two reasons this happened for me:

1) my needle was dull and the wrong size. I've since bought a quilting needle (I think it's an 11 or 14 in size) instead of the massive universal needles I used before - what a difference.

2) I had this problem especially when going through seams, the bulkier, the worse it got. Now whenever I get to a really bulky seam and need to quilt over it, I just go extremely slowly, sometimes just turning the knob to make the needle go up and down, then lifting the foot and moving the fabric, foot down, another stitch. It goes a lot faster than having to rip out stitches and requilt them!

In addition, I found out that dark thread is heavier than light thread because there's more dye in it. That was a big problem when I started the wormy-apple-quilt, because I tried to match threads. Well, no more! :)

I learned a lot about tension problems in free-motion quilting (leading to skipped stitches in my case) on Leah Day's blog (a whole post about skipping stitches!) and on Diane Gaudinsky's blog (here, here, and in the comments here).

Tomorrow, an update on the modified log cabin quilt, then you'll get the next few designs I tried on the batik 9-patch!


Cristin said...

Way to go! trying all those new designs! I'm finally branching out from stippling to pebble quilting.... I'll have to check out Leah's blog, really cool! WELL DONE to boot! I love the "stomach lining" one :-)

Crispy said...

WOW your quilting skills are growing by leaps and bounds!! Well Done!!


Leslie said...

i have hear of her free motioning blog and looked through some of the designs and they are amazing. you have done a super job with these. i love the anemone

quiltfool said...

Hi. Just found you from your comment on Leah's blog. You're doing exactly what I'm going to be doing; using multiple designs in large areas of a queen sized quilt. Good on you for giving it a try. You're doing terrific. And great that you solved your needle problems. They can make a quilter crazy! Lane