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Constructive Criticism 1


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I took my first free motion quilting class at the end of January 2014.  It was primarily a stencil class.  That is to say, using a stencil we drew a design on our quilt, then stitched the lines.  I bought my first real DSM in February.  In October, I took a class with Claudia Pfeil.  She taught us how to draw the stems of the feather, and then quilt the feathers.  I completed the class on my DSM, while the other participants did it on the longarm.  Since then, I have been practicing drawing designs on paper, and getting to know my George.  

 

This is a NICU quilt that I have been working on my George.  I did not piece it, I just quilted it.  I made Jamie Wallen feathers around the hearts on the quilt, and did two different types of feathers in the borders.  I am looking for some constructive criticism, so I can improve my results.  

 

I will start out by saying, that on the double hump vine feathers, I should have drawn some register lines to ensure my vines were all equal in size. Instead, I just went for it, and did my best to keep them the same size.  The other feathers, I chalk lined the stem and stitched them out.  Overall, I am happy with results, but I want to know how to make it better.  Should I leave the stem feathers as they are, or fill them in more before I put on the binding?

 

Thank you in advance for the inputs.

 

Cagey

 

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I think if you're concerned about them being the same size registration marks are a great idea.  I do this - but usually just on quilts going to show or maybe in a awkward place where size matters.  Otherwise...so long as they are pretty much the same...I don't think anyone is going to bust out a ruler to see if they are EXACTLY the same.  LOL

 

I think these look great - I can't think of anywhere you need to improve!

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All:

 

I would like to thank all of you for saying my quilting looks nice.  I truly appreciate it.  

 

 

Joan:

 

Here is the link to Jamie Wallen's "Heart Takes Flight" on YouTube;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yF0x83WM0w  I have enjoyed watching all of his videos, and learning how to copy his designs.  You can learn so much from watching quilting videos or YouTube or just searching the internet for quilting instructors, and reading their websites/blogs.  On our own Valerie's website, I leaned how to properly fold a quilt; http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com/p/tutorials_27.html

 

Valerie:

 

Thank you for your kind complements.  They mean a great deal coming from a "Blue Ribbon" winner.  I strive to obtain your skill level.

 

Madelyn:

 

I did not want just make one feather design around the entire border, so I took Jamie Wallen's vine design and added molar feathers (whatever you call them).  I just took one design I had learned when I first began quilting, and modified it as I though would work.  I think it came out OK.  Different but interesting.

 

 

 

I know it is hard to tell from photos, but is the stitch length too short/long?  With no stitch regulator, it is a little difficult to keep it all consistent.  

 

I thank all of you again for you kind comments.  

 

Cagey

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I think your border stitch length is good and seems consistant.  The last picture shows some of the stitches bigger than you will eventually make, but not out of size for where they are.  They all look like they are in a good, smooth movement and create a nice rounding shape without jerks back to the design line.  As you keep working you will find the speed and motion that works for you.  It took me a while with my George to recognize that I could tell when I found my quilting level just by the feel and sound of George.  I was surprised when I found myself turning down the speed dial on George just a bit (he runs on 6 or 7 now) and how much more smooth my movement were with nice sized stitches.

 

Keep it up and show us more.  You are doing well and that encourages the rest of us.

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Aww thank you!  I'm still learning ALL the time!!!  This forum is wonderful as everyone here is really good hearted and good intentioned and will give great advice with the true goal of helping you.  I love this place!

 

Regarding stitch length - it's a wee bit on the long side but mine were too when I first started out.  Also, you're on a sit down George, is that right?  After a while you'll just start to feel it out a bit and you'll have more control to shorten or lengthen the stitches the way you like.  Right now I wouldn't sweat it - just try to be consistent, and it looks like you've got that down.  (For the record - there are some very famous highly awarded quilters that tend to have longer stitches when not using regulation...you'll learn to reign it in.)

 

Another thing that might make you feel better about the overall look is to use a blending thread - for now.  I take it you wanted to SEE the quilting on the red border in this quilt - but sometimes when I'm trying something new I play it safe and choose a close color to the fabric...that way you see more texture and less error.  We ALL have womples and wobbles but you learn tricks to disguise them....blending thread is one of those tricks...plus you boost your own confidence and feel AWESOME when it turns out looking beautiful.  

 

On the note of high contrast thread - when you have free time I'd play with some different high contrast combinations.  Some are better than others - and some designs work better in a high contrast thread/fabric combination than others.  I am always fooling around with designs...even when I'm not working on a quilt on the long arm I'll have scraps around and I'll sit and goof around on my Juki.  For example I was playing with a high contrast koi fish design on black fabric recently.  I found when I used an aqua (that of course in my MIND looked AMAZING) it looked kind of sloppy when I quilted it even though my work was as meticulous as I am capable of.  I switched to a rusty orange, still pretty high contrast but just not quite as much as the pale aqua...the same exact design looked worlds better.

 

Just a thought.  :)

 

 

 

Valerie:

 

Thank you for your kind complements.  They mean a great deal coming from a "Blue Ribbon" winner.  I strive to obtain your skill level.

 

 

 

I know it is hard to tell from photos, but is the stitch length too short/long?  With no stitch regulator, it is a little difficult to keep it all consistent.  

 

I thank all of you again for you kind comments.  

 

Cagey

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I think all of your feathers are beautiful!  You should be very pleased with your work.  I'd guess you spent some time drawing and doodling before you stitched this?  It's wonderful.  

 

Regarding stitch length, and chiming in with Valerie....I've found that shorter stitches make prettier curves.  When I'm struggling to make pebbles or small feathers, I'll shorten my stitch length.  I'll also draw the feathers if necessary to make them look pretty.  It's much more fun to free motion without drawing though.  Registration marks are an excellent idea and always worth the effort.

 

Try not to be overly critical of your work.  Set it aside overnight and go back the next day with fresh eyes.  You'll be impressed too!

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Madelyn:

 

I lengthened my stitch length just a bit after being told I was making my stitches too short.  I guess there is a fine line between too short and too long.  I will have to work on it a tad more, to get what is right for me.

 

Valerie:

 

Yes, I am on a George, with stitch regulator ME.  I will have to try to shorten my stitch length on my next NICU quilt I will start next week.  I tried to use a thread that blended on the primary quilt top, due to all the different color blocks.  I did not want to have a lot of thread breaks.  On the border, I tried a violet color thread that my friend at the guild told me tended to work on most colors.  It did stand out, but I was comfortable with that as I felt my feathers had come along to a point that they would not detract from the quilt.

 

Annie:

 

Yes, when I am sitting around at work I doodle feathers, and other quilt designs on paper.  I draw quilt blocks, and then fill them in with different designs.  It has helped me learn how to fill small areas or corners that I would otherwise get trapped in.  This way I learn muscle memory so my actual quilting is more flowing, and I do not have to think about the design so much.  I can think more about stitch length (a tad too long) and doing my best to keep my back tracking online.

 

Charlotte:

 

Thank you for the support.

 

Cagey

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