23 April 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

Reporting for Duty

Well, let me rephrase that. I am far from perfect, but I am getting a little better at free motion quilting, a.k.a. FMQ.

Lizard Doodles

This project was born when I caught The Lizard doodling in a notebook while he waited for me at the train stop. Turns out he does this on a regular basis, but rarely am I able to sneak up on him.

Doodle Happy

I think he was a bit embarrassed at having been caught at first. I think he thought I would laugh at his doodles. Instead, I marveled.

"Babe!" I oozed. "You should be doing this on a quilt. This would make the most incredible quilt ever. Please let me teach you!"

quilt inspiration

He agreed. I set up a simple little quilt square for him. But with the big bike rides we've got coming up, and out-of-town guests arriving this weekend who want to take a trip up one of our favorite trails, he's got bikes on the racks and grease on his fingers for a few more days.

Which may be a good thing. If I'm going to teach The Lizard to FMQ, I need to get at least a little better at it. After I finished his little practice square, I decided to make one for me, too.

After machine basting in a color I didn't intend to use in the practice piece, I traced a lizard outline with chartreuse thread onto the turquoise blue fabric. Using a different color for the basting makes pulling the basting out a little easier at the end of a project.

A Lizard is Born

Not so smooth yet, but improving.

My initial intent was to draw little pebbles all over the background. After six pebbles, I decided I should focus on "smooth" and "not jerky" for a while because, well, my FMQ is really awful. It looks nervous and uptight!

So I scribbled. I didn't pay any attention at all to the design. I just tried to make smooth, fluid motions. For a couple of hours!

This used up a ton more thread than I'd intended, but I think the exercise was productive. Toward the latter half of my project, I began moving more controlled, more evenly, without having to concentrate on it as much.

Ta Da!

After I finished the square, I tried to think of a way to use it. After all, it turned out pretty darned awesome, in my opinion, even if it isn't perfect and even if it is just scribbling. Plus, I can't allow all that thread to go to waste, can I?

I've been toting along a purple snowflake bag every workday for my commuting crafting since about October. With all the snow we've been receiving the last couple of weeks, I decided it's time for the snowflakes to go. I need something bright and springy.

Instead of pulling out the old and time-worn summer bag, I turned the scribbled lizard into a new one. And I've been carrying it along with me on the train every day since!

A new commute bag

The Midas Touch

28 comments :

  1. The color of this bag is an eye catcher so pretty, and I think you did a wonderful job Lizzard draws pretty cool...good tag teaming that idea would work.

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    1. Thanks, Faith! I think The Lizard is a real artist, too!

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  2. Came out really well, like the color too. Practice always does help.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! Hopefully whatever my next project is won't suffer the quirky zags... (How many points would that have won me in Scrabble???)

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  3. don´t be too modest, you seem to be very good on your sewing machine. :)

    My last piece of art??? lol, the startimage is a shot of pollen on a water surface. And then I played a bit with it. It is fun. You never know what it will become until you are done. :)

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    1. Thanks, Monica! That is very kind. But my stitching still isn't quite as smooth as I'd like it. I'll keep practicing!

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  4. It's perfect, and I love his beady eyes!

    Wow, the Lizard is one dark horse, isn't he? (Terribly mixed metaphor, I know.) And yes, his doodles do scream "quilting" to those of us who indulge in that art form.

    I love FMQ - stippling and meandering are some of my favourite techniques. Nice work on that practice panel! :)

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    1. Thanks, Sue! You can't tell in the photos, but those eyes are rich, deep amethyst, and I love how the sun catches them in the morning when I'm walking after I get off the train! (I'd better keep my eye on traffic instead of admiring the bead reflections, huh?!?)

      The Lizard was concerned when he read you think he's a dark horse. He thought politician, and he doesn't like many of them!!!

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  5. Wow, Wow I love the bag and I love the color wow.

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    1. Thanks, Neferi! I LOVE the bag, too!!!

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  6. It turned out great! What a neat idea to teach your son(?) to FMQ his doodles!

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    1. Thanks, Renee! Lizard is better half. Taz is grown son, and taught him and grown daughter Raz both to quilt (but not FMQ because I didn't even know about that way back then) when both were young. Raz learned to crochet, too. It is marvelous to be able to teach someone you love something you love.

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  7. Your quilting is great - love the bag. And it's my favorite color, too! :)

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    1. Thank you, Karen! I hope the FMQ gets better as I go. I'd like to be able to use it in bigger projects if I can develop a smoother hand...

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  8. This is a really cute bag. FMQ is on my list to learn this summer.

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    1. Thanks, Kym! Good luck with learning it. I do think it's fun. It's only frustrating for me when I can't get the lines as smooth as I'd like!

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  9. Great idea to practise like this. It sure looks like fun AS does the bag!

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    1. Thanks, Ester! I can't say it was fun at first, but once I started relaxing a little more, it was fun, and I'm anxious to do it again.

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  10. Love the multicolored squiggles! It's hard to make yourself practice but it looks like it was worth it. Cute bag!

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    1. Thanks, MellieWo! I don't mind practicing at all if what I practice on is worth keeping. :)

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  11. This doodler digs it indeed!

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    1. Somehow, Stratoz, I think I expected you in particular might like this one! Now I have to go for a mosaic look, right?

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  12. Very creative thinking! Your bag is wonderful, and great way to show your skills. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Celia! I don't know if anyone notices I made that bag as I'm commuting, but it sure is fun to carry around!

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