I’ve been working at heavy thread-work…. I love the look when I use organic, wavy lines and make the thread conform. I’ve also been doing some whole-cloth quilting getting LOTS of practice in on free motion stitching.
I was at the fair yesterday and saw many lovely quilts entered. I’m somewhat surprised that there are not more “art” type quilts. 99% of what I saw were bed quilts pieced in traditional looking designs. Many with really nice color work.
So in looking it appears to me that MANY of the machine quilted quilts are clearly done with a machine that has a stitch regulator. It’s more and more common – I think Bernina has engineered a regulator that is built in to their machines. Long arm quilters have them and of course the big quilting machines have them. I think that many quilters who put so much time and effort into making these beautiful tops actually send them out to a professional using a long arm quilter or quilting machine to have them quilted. The results are stunning. Perfection. Every stitch in the quilting patterns and designs are the same length.
I free-motion my quilting. I drop the feed dogs and use the quilting or darning foot, quide my quilt work under the needle hoping to coordinate my foot (speed) and my hands to work consistently at the same pace for the duration of the project – and also hoping to move the quilt along the lines and patterns that I intend. Sometimes the inconsistency of the stitch is intentional and adds to the design and texture I am trying to create. Sometimes the inconsistency of the stitch length is just user error and I have to try to incorporate major flubs into the intended design!
But overall – I have to admit that it’s not the color/fabric piecing that keeps me interested in the next quilt – but rather the threadwork. The background quilting.