When I first starting quilting the idea of free motion quilting was very scary to me, and a little nerve racking. How was I going to manipulate the fabric through my little machine? How am I supposed to keep the stitches close together? What am I doing again huh? As I always do, I went to my good friend YouTube for some help. I would watch videos, and classes about what to do… everyone had their own way of doing it of course! Roll the quilt this way, bunch it that way, use this swirl method, and twist!
I started out just quilting my quilts with straight lines. That was it! Running the stitches a 1/4 inch away from the block seems. It was nice, it was easy, and gave my quilts a very very uniform look. Which I like in many respects but sometimes I found it lacked personality. Lets be honest I was just starting out and was amazed I was making a quilt in the 1st place. Plus when I started I never used a walking foot, never had seen a walking foot, never owned a walking foot! HA!
Anyways back to my free-motion quilting! I found it took a lot of practice. I would take little sandwiches of fabric scraps and just sit down and work it. Big loops, little loops, wavy lines, all in an effort to get good at it, my little Janome home machine and I late into the night sewing away. I would sit for hours watching some random TV show, or a documentary and just practice and practice until I finally got the hang of it.
Now I still don’t have a full long arm machine, or a nice sit down quilter, which I would love either… if anyone wants to donate me one, but I feel I am getting the look I want none the less. My free motion quilting ends up looking like a topography map. Swirls and curves of a mountainous area, and I love it. I have also found that I like my free motion stitches to be close together. I find its gives the quilt a nice density and weight, making it feel more substantial and cozy.
I personally try not to get too crazy with thread choices. I know some people pick new thread for every section they quilt depending on the fabric. I pick a thread that works with the quilt as a whole. Something that blends in, nothing to off putting. As you can see in the photo above I used a nice tame tan colour. Works with the front and back of the quilt, without taking away to much focus. No one likes a scene-stealer.