Practise, practise, practise….
Say Hello to Vicky again this week as she shares more of her free motion quilting knowledge with you this week. Were you brave enough to have a try after she set you up last week?
When I first started free-motion quilting it was a hard and frustrating journey. I wanted so much to be able to create amazing patterns and textures on the quilt tops I had made. All I was ‘creating’ on my practise pieces were ugly stitches of inconsistent sizes, wonky corners- scribble that was not at all creative or inspiring. It felt like a long road with not much progress on my part. But the one thing I learned was to not give up, and after a few months I realised that maybe my work wasn’t all rubbish and maybe, at last, I could actually be learning this new skill! What needed to happen was to retrain my brain and my hands to do this, and there were many ways to achieve this.
Of course, practising on quilt sandwiches is an essential part of the learning process, but you can also help to create a visual memory and muscle memory in many ways. There are many fantastic quilters out there in the online world who happily share their knowledge and skill with the world, and as a visual learner, I found it very helpful to watch what they did, how they moved around the fabric creating patterns and moving from section to section. Many of these quilters also have written books which can also instruct and inspire you. Classes with great teachers are also invaluable as they can help you with the smallest tips in your technique that can make changes in the finished product.
Another technique which I find absolutely invaluable and will find myself doing it every day is doodling. I doodle everywhere!! You can doodle on paper, (even Sudoku books), and the kids old magna-doodles, on electronic devices – anywhere. The action of repeatedly drawing a shape gets your mind used to the patterns that you want to create, where to go next, which way to start stitching in order to end up at your desired end-point etc. It creates a visual memory for your brain and it also creates muscle memory in your hands and fingers. If you can’t doodle the pattern, then you won’t be able to stitch it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and most of the time I stitch 100x better than I doodle, but it is a really helpful part of the process. And after I’ve doodled a lot, I still will do a practise stitch-out, especially if it is a new pattern, or something that you really don’t want to stuff up!
One last way of getting some good practise in, is to use the patterns on fabrics themselves. They are often floral or abstract and have great patterns to follow and to learn from. There are some fabric designers out there who specifically design fabric to practise on such as this piece from Amanda Murphy. Following along the patterns and lines allows you to again, build up ideas of how to quilt and create on your own fabrics.
While this is an older fabric we have others in store for you to use. Give us a call and we can talk you through them. (02 95222340)
Remember, all practise is good practise!!