Machine Quilted Sampling with Florabunda!

Hello Good folk.

I am working on my Bow Tie Quilt. It’s been basted and a sample sandwich was made, so that I can try out machine quilting techniques. I am excited about this quilt. The colors dance and sparkle. Sewing the quarter circle blocks was great fun. And now, this great quilt is encouraging me to machine quilt in ways that I have not recently explored. 

Usually, when I quilt my hand printed quilt tops, I machine quilt in straight lines, in order to ‘level the playing field’ and place the focus on the handprints rather than the quilting. Check out my Lace Swirl Quilt with straight line quilting, here

But, straight lines won’t do this time! I want to stretch and learn, which is in keeping with this Bow Tie Quilt top anyway.

So this morning, I rounded up every spool of thread in the house and evaluated my stash. I posted to Facebook, asking about the different threads I rounded up and also, examples of free motion go-to shapes. (I love asking the folks on my feed for their advice! I get great information, differing views, links and photos! Book suggestions too!) Cindi G turned me onto Baptist Fan free motion shape, and Kevin S suggested renaming it Lava Flow, which I must say, I really like!! I have been to Hawaii, seen the volcano that recently erupted and I feel connected to its flow and outcome

I chose this thread and ‘Lava Flow’ or Baptist Fan, though I did need to purchase a large spool, I happily await its arrival. In the meantime, I will use up the spool I have.

This is a bunch of fun!

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Bow Tie Quilt

Over the years, I have convinced myself that I am not a quilter so much as a quilt artist, with an emphasis on the art part. I suppose this storyline used to help -perhaps it helped to bolster my identity and projected, intended artistic path. But this idea no longer supports me. In walking this path, I placed barriers between myself and more traditional quilting. I told myself it was too difficult to follow a pattern. I told myself it took too long, I didn’t have the skills, I forgot the skills. I created barriers and closed myself in. And then, I felt constricted. Cut off.

To break down this wall, I turned to Victoria Findlay Wolfe‘s books, which I have been perusing and rereading obsessively. I have also taken some of her one day workshops (and I want to take more), here in NYC. I connect with her ingenious, playful approach to using fabric, the manner that she reinterprets traditional layouts and quilt blocks, and her fearlessness of artistic expression in the medium. And I connect with her teaching style.

I have taken the release of Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics as an opportunity to improve my quilting skill set, dust off my patience, and commit to learning to use the line effectively. Using Victoria’s Bow Tie template, I cut a Fat Quarter bundle of Florabunda! combined with an array of Jamie Fingal’s Hopscotch collection to play around.

Previously, I assumed sewing 1/4 circles would be far beyond my skill set. But, it isn’t. This is a methodical task, requiring three pins and Victoria’s motto of, “Floppy Toppy” as a reminder to sewing curved success. I look forward to seeing how this quilt top comes together. And I remind myself not to create impediments to enjoying all aspects of my own creative expression behind the sewing machine.

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