Machine quilting that enhances the design of the quilt is a thing of beauty. But very few people can just put their quilt under the needle and produce perfect stitching.
|'Moon Garden' by Judy Coates Perez
Even award-winning pros like Judy Coates Perez, whose machine quilting designs complement her quilts' composition and theme, have tricks of the trade they've developed with years of practice, experiment, and sharing with other artists.
But Judy says art fiber artists shouldn't shy away from machine quilting their own works or be overwhelmed by the process. She describes her process for machine quilting success in the October/November 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, from tips on preparation with batting, basting, and thread, to planning the machine quilting designs and marking and stitching.
Today, I'm sharing some of Judy's advice on marking and stitching, using a leaf motif as an example.
Marking and Stitching
By Judy Coates Perez
If you would like to add representational images to your quilting, draw a few key elements of the quilting design on the fabric first with a chalk-based marking tool.
|Judy marks her stitch lines with a chalk mechanical pencil.
1. Begin drawing the main veins and a basic outline of the leaf shape with chalk.
2. Use these lines as a starting place for the machine stitching and then improvise the free-motion quilting details as you stitch, adding extra branches to the veins and echoing the shape with another row of stitching to fill the inside of the leaf.
3. Next, stitch the outside of the leaf following the drawn outline. Add more elaborate scalloped edges to build up the design.
|Red lines are marked with chalk, then stitched. Purple lines are free-motion quilted improvisationally.
4. After completing the leaf design, continue free-motion quilting to the next motif, filling the open space with smaller leaf designs or ornamental stippling quilting.
5. Continue in this manner until the whole area is filled with machine quilting designs that create a surface filled with texture and imagery to keep the eye moving around the quilt.
Judy goes into more detail about how to achieve machine quilting success in the latest issue of Quilting Arts. You can also get advice from more experts—including tips, video, and resources—on our Machine Quilting Topics Page.
P.S. Do you mark before you stitch? What are some of your tricks for machine quilting success? I'm sure everyone would like to know, so share below.