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Aug 5, 2010

A fitting finish to free-motion quilting woes

Aug 5, 2010
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After working late into the night to finish this quilt, I laid it out in the family room.  Displayed for his birthday (even 1 day ahead of time) in the early morning light, my cranky almost-4 yr. old's comment was "I don't like it.  Take off the polka dots."  ***Sigh***  Not that I really had dreams of him squealing with delight, but he helped pick out the fabrics for goodness sake.  Well, it's finished.  And that lukewarm reception captures how I feel about it too.

The center turqoiuse section is FMQ with a random star pattern.  Then I did a series of square borders around the train tracks with a walking foot.

Every project, either a masterpiece or a disaster, has a lesson.  Here's what I learned from mine.

  1. Don't try a new technique when faced with a definite quickly-looming deadline.
  2. New techniques should definitely be experimented with on something small (24" x 24" max?)
  3. Leah mentioned using polyester thread to avoid the fraying problem.  I had used a cotton that was supposed to be for piecing and machine quilting - so maybe those are not really best for machine quilting.  Said 4-yr. old picked it out because of the color.
  4. Holding both threads when starting up really does help eliminate the bobbin "spit-up" issue.
  5. I'm in love with pin less basting!  This was the first time I tried it, and now I am much more eager to attempt quilting my own stuff.

Through all the uneven stitches and disproportionate stars, I hope this quilt will find love even if it's just because his holiness Thomas the Train is on the front.  Do not fear.....I will attempt free motion quilting again!

*And just for the record, after the negative reception, I rolled it up and put it away, saying "That hurts my feelings when I worked on it so hard, but ok, then I'll just give this quilt to someone who likes it if you don't want it."  Crying.  Crying.  He hurt my feelings and he wants his quilt back.  This spurred a discussion about how when you receive a gift, you say "thank you" even if you don't like it or it's not what you wanted.  We'll see how this goes over at the Birthday Party on Sunday...
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  1. Sorry your son was so honest - a bit of a let down for all your hard work. The polka dots will grow on him. When my boys were small, Thomas the Train and Mr. Topham Hat visited the National Train Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Thomas was full sized and had his usual 2 cars, and took us for a short ride. At 19 & 20 years old, they still remember that ride and how they believed the engine was truly alive. Treasure your Thomas-the-Train-years, they go by so quickly! :)

  2. Oh, Chris...we eat and breathe trains in my of course, we have already been to see life-size Thomas. We traveled 2.5 hours away and walked around the Thomas festival in 90+ degree heat when I was 8.5 months pregnant. Now that is train dedication!!

    Thus, my surprise at his reaction b/c he's been pestering me "Is it done? Is it done yet?" Well, after the cranky pants came off, he seemed to change his mind.

  3. I am new to free motion as well. I have the stippling down but am starting to experiment with loops and swirls which are harder for me. I found machiniger gloves are sosososo helpful and made moving the quilt easier, like night and day. When i start i take slow short stitches then leave the needle down then get my thrreads tucked off to the side, put my gloves on and let it go :)

  4. The train track fabric works really well I think. Is that something you made or purchased? I'm in the middle of a train quilt with embroidered "thomases" on it plus other train cars. Now I'm struggling trying to think up some type of meandering train track.


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