Monday, May 9, 2011

A Freeing Finish

My Mod Times quilt is finished!

(No, the ladies of Twin Fibers haven't yet posted all of the Mod Times Quilt-Along instructions. I decided to forge ahead anyway. And no, I haven't yet finished the quilt for my own quilt-along. The logic escapes me, too.)

But, you guys! I free-motion quilted this one! For real!

I've always had this irrational fear of FMQ. I can't really explain it. I tried free-motion one time when I first started quilting, and the results were freakishly bad. But here's the thing: I spent maybe five minutes on the attempt. Based on that five minutes—at a time when I could barely sew a straight seam, much less do something more complicated—I convinced myself that I just couldn't do FMQ, and I never tried it again.

I know. Whatever happened to try, try, try again? Whatever happened to practice makes perfect? My mother will be horrified when she reads this post.

At any rate, here I was, piecing this Mod Times top. I wanted to give it as a baby gift that is way overdue, so in the interest of a quick finish, I pushed ahead of the quilt-along (hopefully that's okay with the Twin Fibers girls). I really love how the top turned out, considering this was my first experience with set-in seams. But it is a bit wonky in places—those set-in seams aren't always quite straight, and I thought straight-line quilting would draw attention to that. Diagonal lines might have been okay, but I guess I was too lazy to mark the top.

So, I don't know what finally made me do it, but I pulled out some scrap fabric and gave FMQ another try. First attempt in three years. And you know what? I have no idea what I was so afraid of all this time. After a little more practice, I was stippling this quilt! It might sound ridiculous, but this was one of the most exciting, triumphant moments of my sewing career so far. I have finally overcome my FMQ phobia! Yes, my stitch length is wildly inconsistent, and I know my stippling could be smoother and curvier. So, it could be better. But it could also be a whole lot worse!

I feel like such a doofus for not trying FMQ again until now. The last time I tried it, I'd never done a block more complex than a four-patch. I didn't even know how to miter corners on binding. So something tells me that three years of general quilting experience was a huge factor in my relative success this time around.

Lesson learned: Try things again. Who'da thought? Okay, my mom. And probably my 4-year-old too. : )

Quilt stats: Size - 41" x 37". Fabric: Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry and Kona White. Back: Henna Garden with some Aviary 2 pieced in. Quilting: FMQ stippling by me (whoop whoop). Design by Twin Fibers—thank you, ladies, for a fabulous design and wonderful quilt-along! (Wonderful enough that I just had to jump ahead!)

I'm linking up to Sew Modern Monday.

P.S. Sorry for the awful pictures. Another dreary, gray day around here.

45 comments:

traceyjay said...

it looks great! I love the way you did the colors in this.

and Woo Hoo on FMQ!! (FYI -- FMQ is what got me a new machine... my husband sat next to me while I quilted my Dance in Circles quilt... and saw me dealing with all those crazy tension issues... and decided maybe I really did need a new machine!)

It really looks great. :) ♥

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

congratulations!! Isn't it fun!! I am a beginner FMQ, but am surprised how OK it always looks when I am finished! Especially after it has been washed. Yours turned out beautifully!

Georgia said...

Ooooh, the quilt looks gorgeous. GREAT colours. Yay for FMQ too! I certainly wouldn't say I'm an expert when it comes to FMQ, but it really does get easier (and better) each time you do it.

Kayla said...

Yay! It looks so awesome--I've never done FMQ before but I really really love how it looks..you've inspired me to try it!

two hippos said...

The FMQ looks great (and is the perfect quilting for hiding things!). I think general sewing/quilting experience helps a lot in figuring out FMQ, and the quilt turned out great. Love that Aviary 2.

Susan said...

Great job Lee. I'm officially inspired to try FMQ'ing my next quilt thanks to this post. :)

diane said...

I have tried to quilt my own quilts and I just can't do it. How do you keep the back from getting all tweaked? I pin baste and even tried the adhesive spray basting stuff. I need help! Yours looks stunning!

Patchwork and Play said...

The quilt looks fabulous! I have a similar phobia of FMQ but mine relates back to be a very baster! But now I think I have that under control, so I guess its time to try again too!!!

felicity said...

Gorgeous finish and a big huge HOORAY! about the FMQ. Good for you for trying it again.

Debbie said...

Your quilt is sooo beautiful! And congrats on the FMQ! I'm a beginner too - ok with the straight-line, but still a scaredy cat with the stippling. You've inspired me to keep trying!!

Kerstin said...

Such a pretty quilt! I guess I should overcome my fear of FMQ as well and just give it another go...
Hooray for you!

Jessica said...

Lee this is fabulous!!! I just love everything about it, the fabric, the quilt design and last but not least your amazing FMQing!!!! Great finish, that is one lucky baby!

Toni said...

I love the layout and the use of this fabric -I sooo love this fabric line and want to redecorate my living room to it! Great job!

Elizabeth D. said...

I think this looks so fantastic, Lee, I love the fabrics you picked, and I really love that you bit the bullet and FMQ'd it. I think your FMQ looks great, I bet it feels so awesome to know you can FMQ after all. Hooray for you!!! :)

AnneMarie said...

YIPPEE!!! Don't you feel liberated?!?!? I am in the same boat as you and can't wait to FMQ my heart out now. What were we afraid of?

Love the green in the quilt - looks gorgeous!

Becky said...

It looks fantastic! Aviary is quickly becoming one of my favorite lines right now. Your choices on this were great! And thank you for posting about FMQ, I have kind of done the same thing as you, but need to get over my fear!

Jane said...

I just love your quilt! It has me all fired up to try it myself. And free motion? Love it.

Jen of ReannaLily Designs said...

This looks so lovely! Great fabrics and the quilting is very nice. I'm always to lazy to mark the top too. =)

Tammara, Jess and Cory said...

I love the colors in this quilt you did an awesome job. The FMQ is amazing Iam also a little afraid of it but you have encouraged me to try it again so I will soon.

Bree said...

It looks great! And good job trying out FMQ again. It's funny how we talk ourselves out of being able to do things based on one little bad try.

Katie B. said...

Woo hoo! Doofus no more :) This is a lovely quilt. I love the purple/green combo, and it shows off the Aviary fabrics very well. Love it!

kendascrafts said...

Nice job! The colors are so fresh, it will make a great baby's quilt. I've been a little afraid to try FMQ. Your success makes me want to try it on my next quilt. :-)

kwiltmakr said...

It looks great. I try to FMQ from time to time, only on practice pieces and I am lousy at it. But I do have a frame and I am not that good at that either. Like you say practice, practice etc.

Melanie said...

Good for you! FMQ is so intimidating, I'm so glad you tried it again! Your quilt looks amazing!

CityHouseStudio said...

It's beautiful!
Hooray for FMQing - awesome that you tried it again!
And it's so forgiving - looks wonderful when washed and crinkled!

twin fibers said...

Oh, my! It so beautiful!

(and I have no problem with you jumping ahead! I think if you want to, go for it... I'm glad you thought about it yourself and did it. that's refreshing!) :)

I love the fabrics you chose and your FMQ is great. I'm glad you gave it another try and it worked out well on this quilt. I think smaller quilts are so much easier to FMQQ than the larger ones.

Congrats on a beautiful quilt!
:) Jessica

Becky said...

YEA!! Love FMQ-ing! The more you do, the better it gets, and just think of how much money you save vs taking it to a long arm quilter :-). Plus I think it's super-satisfying to complete a quilt knowing you stitched every stitch!

Live a Colorful Life said...

You give me courage to try FMQ! What a great quilt. I hope I'll eventually be able to write a similar post, talking in positive terms about FMQ. I'll let you now!

Kimberly White said...

Hooray for trying again! A stunning quilt!

Susanne said...

CONGRATS on your FMQ triumph!!!! : ) It's hard when you totally botch something the first time to want to go back and try again. Especially when there are SO many fun projects screaming for attention : D !!!!

I love that quilt!!!!

Alisa said...

It look fantastic! And way to go on trying FMQ again. Once you get the hang of it you'll notice it goes WAY faster to quilt a quilt that way versus straight line quilting. For me anyway.

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs said...

This turned out beautifully and your FMQ is lovely! I just finished my first FMQ quilt this weekend too and identified with so much of what you said in your post :-)

Rylee Kettner said...

Oooh I love how yours turned out! I am waiting till all the directions are posted till I start mine because I know I don't have the patience to wait that long inbetween!

Linz said...

That looks amazing!! Great job!

Sonia B said...

Stunning color choices. And I love the back!! Great job.

Amy said...

I really like it.. the partal seams are not super easy.. but I am chugging along with mine..I love YOUR FMQ!! the baby recipient will never know the differ.

Melissa said...

Yay, you are so inspiring... I have been putting off FMQ for so long... and I have NEVER even attempted it lol :)
The quilt is beautiful... love the fabrics!

Manda said...

Gorgeous! And yay on the FMQ'ing!

Angela N. said...

Oh wow! your quilt is awesome,, and i love the back! Im holding off on starting this but have been watching that blog as it progresses. I need to finish things! lol.

Rachel Hauser said...

Hip, hip, hurray!!! I am so happy for you Lee! I think it's so helpful for everyone to hear these stories and see some of your first FMQ work. I'm encouraged!

Kristie said...

Looks great- and FMQ is supposed to have wonky stitch lengths....right? That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Emalee said...

Your four-year-old and I agree that you have made a beautiful quilt using your new FMQ skill. Thanks for remembering to keep trying.
Love, Mom

Megan said...

Great finish Lee! Congrats on the FMQ success! :) Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday!

Kate S. said...

Yay for trying again! I have been doing fmq on small projects to practice and I think I'm going to try it on my next quilt!

I love how this turned out - great design, beautiful fabrics and colors!!

Heather said...

I saw the pictures of this quilt on your Q&A at Ellison Lane Quilts today and got SO excited. You see I picked up the Aviary 2 a couple months ago knowing it would make a beautiful project for a close friend. Since then I have been trying to find a quilt that would do the large scale prints justice, and this is perfect! Also, the pattern reminds me a bit of the red lacquer door and window designs I saw when I was in China visiting this same friend. I think she will love it - thanks!

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