Learning all over again

Hello Dear Reader,

Today, it feels as if I’ve had to relearn something really basic. It feels as if I’ve learnt to sew all over again. I’ve always used a sewing machine. My mum used to make my school uniform and summer skirts, and as a teenager, I loved waistcoats and mum used to sew and knit those for me too. (I look back and see how much love my mum put into making things for us.) I watched her sew and I would make things too as well as being taught at school. I’ve always made my own curtains, chair covers and cushions. I’ve always been able to manage the basics quite happily.

With a little help from the internet and the generosity of people who have sent me fabric and the 50p bargain rail clothes that I have cut up from charity shops, I’ve happily pieced basic quilts together in strips and squares. This year I’ve attempted patterns, or blocks as they’re called in quilting. I’ve got on quite well. The only hurdle I haven’t attempted is free motion quilting. I was on the hunt for a flashy machine and in the end settled for the one I’ve got with some new feet and a quilting extension table.

 So here is my very first attempt at making a star block along with my very first attempt at free motion quilting. I learnt how to do this from the Missouri Star Quilt Company online tutorial which I’ve embedded for anyone to have a look at, or maybe even try yourself. It’s like having to learn to sew all over again. As a fellow blogger said, I’ve just got to keep practising. I had some spare batting from previous endeavours and as I’m learning to make stars and made two mistakes before I got it right.  I’ve got plenty to practise on.

 Here are my quilting gloves that I bought at the quilting festival, they seemed very reasonable at £6 and I’ll look after them and make them last. They make my hands stick to the quilt and the quilt stick to my hands. I’m still finding it difficult to move the fabric where I want and make the stitches and even length. I’ll keep at it and I will get there.

Previously, I made quilts out of need to add an extra layer to our beds. I’m now thinking of family gifts, wedding presents and making gifts such as quilted bags or cushions. I bought some new fabric yesterday but I mainly sew and quilt with recycled fabrics. I’m on holiday for two weeks, so this will be the week I baste and quilt my red, white and blue quilt and hopefully do some machine quilting on it too! Only this time last year, I would never have dreamed that I would make a quilt with a lovely design or even try machine quilting. I was happy with blocks and stitching in the ditch. Now, I allow myself to learn, to make mistakes and to have a go at something new.

Lots of you have said you’d like to try this, well don’t let anything stop you. Start, just as I did with the basics, read books from the library, watch online tutorials and have a go. it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you already own a sewing machine, an iron and you have some old fabric to use up creatively. Go on, have a go at something new and allow yourself to make mistakes as we’re all learners in one way or another.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs


16 thoughts on “Learning all over again

  1. Hi Froogs,
    Thanks for all the great quilt photos in the previous post.
    My tips for freemotion-practice, practice. Don't hold your breath. Start with small designs, they are easier to control.
    Happy quilting!


  2. I love MSQC too, try to keep your shoulders relaxed when you are free motion quilting.

    There is another site on the internet Leah Day does free motion quilting and shows you how to do different patterns to add definition to your quilts.

    A slug of wine can help to relax you too. Try to break the quilt into sections and start from the centre and work down and out, smoothing the fabric as you go. Work on a small area at a time and try to keep the stitching even. Make a frame with your hands and work within that and always try and keep room to get out, so you do not have to cross over previously sewn lines to move on to another part of the quilt. The slower you sew the larger your stitches will be.

    It does take time, but making up quilt sandwiches out of 12″ bits of fabric and warming up on those will help too.

    There is a very good book by Maurine Noble which will help you a lot if you can get hold of a copy, she goes into detail about thread, needles etc. I found it very useful when I was starting to free motion quilt.

    Good luck…….


  3. So glad you have caught the 'quilting bug'!! Your work is amazing, well done you!! Maybe you can find a local quilting group to join, they are fun, new friends, and usually tea and cakes!!!!! Oh! and sometimes abit of quilting!!!
    Enjoy your quilting! Heather


  4. Looks as if you are going to have a lot of fun learning a new skill. It takes time and practice but the end results are worth it! A frugal alternative to your beautiful quilting gloves are cheap gardening gloves with grips on the palms and fingers. One year I got 2 pairs for £2! They work just as well and can be washed a few times before moving on to garden duty.


  5. It looks as if you are going to have some fun learning a new and useful skill. Practice is definitely they way to go. A frugal alternative to your beautiful quilting gloves is cheap gardening with the rubber grips on the palms and fingers. One year I picked up 2 pairs for £1.50 at the end of the summer. They did sterling service at the sewing machine (and were washed a few times) before moving on to do further work in the garden.

    Good luck with your quilting!


  6. It looks lovely! I agree with the previous poster, practice, practice, practice! Sending things out to have someone else quilt for you is quite pricey, even small items like table runners. While I do send my bed quilts off to someone with a long-arm machine, I am now able to do all of the smaller things myself. I look forward to seeing your next progress.


  7. You look to be doing magnificently – I have fmq'd for years and the best tip I can give you is practice, practice, practice and more practice. Treat your machine needle as a pencil and write with it – the only difference is you move the paper not the pen. Make a sandwich of fabrics and wadding that's a manageable size (say 16″ square but it's not important on exact size) use a contrasting colour thread and just keep 'writing' all over it, signing your name is a good one because it's something you do automatically. Once you've covered the piece change thread cover and start all over again and keep doing that til you can stitch no more – you will notice a marked improvement from the start to the finish


  8. I've been quilting for many years and, for the most part, enjoy the process…EXCEPT the actual quilting part!! I just dreaded it. I tried to free-motion quilt several times but just can't get the hang of it. Then I came across a blog with a step by step tutorial for quilt as you go. What a life saver that was!!! Now, that the only technique I use 🙂

    BTW…love MSQC!!!


  9. Like everyone says, it's all down to practice! And suddenly – it's like riding a bike! – you are fully in control, instead of the machine trying to take off through the window, and you're just swirling around doing beautiful controlled patterns, and it's wondeful!


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