The Free Motion Quilting Project: UFO Followup #1

Monday, August 27, 2012

UFO Followup #1

Yesterday was our very first UFO Sunday where we all link up and share a bit about a UFO we're working on one day of the week.

On Mondays or Tuesdays I'm going to followup on the linked up blogs and especially draw attention to those needing help.  We all need some extra advice and opinions sometimes, and this will be a great way to get help from one another!

Photo from Karen at Fireball Quilts
So this week we had a great variety of UFO quilts in all stages of construction.  Everything from plain fabric to fully pieced quilts were shared in the quilt along, but a few stood out in particular to me:

First off, Karen from Fireball Quilts shared some auditions for the border of her UFO quilt.  Make sure to stop by Karen's blog and share your opinion on which border option you think is best. 

Personally I loved the pick with the complaining kitty!

Laura Stermer is also needing some helpful advice on her eagle quilt over at L2DS Designs.  

Always remember that, while you may have started a project with a specific construction idea or color set in mind, sometimes things MUST change when it comes time to finish that UFO.

In the case of Laura's quilt, I shared the idea of cutting out the eagle and appliqueing it onto a new background fabric.  While this certainly wasn't the way her quilt was originally pieced, it might be an easier method to use than trying to piece the background in place.

Fabric color and availability also seemed to be a big issue this week for UFOs.  If you find yourself stuck for only the simple reason of not having the exact right fabric, maybe take another look at that project. Is there really only ONE fabric that can work to finish it?

Sometimes it's liberating to be reminded that YOU CAN ALWAYS BREAK THE RULES.

Now for the most impressive UFO of the week:
Photo from Kay Sorensen's blog Quilts + Color
OMG!  This is so gorgeous! I'm dying to see how Kay finishes this masterpiece.  It's making me want to pull fabrics right now for a lone star.

But no...I have many UFOs to get through myself...I'll just have to content myself with drooling all over my computer keyboard when I look at Kay's quilt!

Now on to a few questions we had about UFOs this week.  The first is about quilting from Danielle Hudson:

How big should I scale my quilting to get the maximum cuddle effect? I really want them to be soft and cozy!

Great question Danielle!  1 inch scale (1 inch between the lines of quilting) will definitely result in a very loose, cozy quilt, however it is challenging to quilt this open on a home sewing machine.  The reason is you'll have to seriously swing out and make BIG movements with your arms rather than small movements with your hands and wrists.

Personally I shoot for a wide 1/2 inch on bed quilts.  It just seems a bit easier to quilt, adds a nice texture to the quilt, but the quilt will still be soft and cuddly.  It might be a bit denser than you like though, so just stitch out a few tests, soak them in water, throw them in the dryer and see how they fluff up.  This will be different depending on the batting you use so it's good to know what things will look like and act like after being washed.

 Finally, we have a few more questions from Karin at the Quilt Yarn about the finishing of her english paper pieced quilt:

Photo from Karin at The Quilt Yarn
The main question Karin asked was "How do I best quilt this?"

Perfect timing Karin because last week on the free motion quilt along we learned about auditioning designs!

Take this photo you have of your pretty red quilt, print it out a few times in black and white, sit down and PLAY!

Draw designs in different places, experiment and see what you like and what you don't like.  Personally I think it's just fine to machine quilt this type of quilt.  I certainly enjoy hand piecing, but I never feel that hand piecing automatically requires hand quilting.

Remember who makes the rules? You Do!

Always remember that even though a quilt was planned with a border or with a certain color or with a specific construction method in mind, you don't have to remain true to those original plans if they're causing a problem.

Sometimes it's just not possible to buy the right fabric, to piece with that x,y,z method, or to even finish a certain project at all.  As Jessim from Skittles Sewing and Stuff put it best:

I decided I didn't like where I was headed.  I took a deep breathe and threw it into the trash.  Project status: Finished.

Damn straight! I can't wait to see what you guys are working on next week!

Time to shut up and go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. wow it´s amazing look what everyone is working on, i´m going to post myUFO, GREAT JOB to all, and also a question I´m using a simple brother machine a LS 2125i, to make some machine quilting but I still have problems with the free motion movement, now I found a foot that let some motion, please some advice, thanks

  2. Another way to audition quilting patterns is to use cover your entire quilt with GLAD Press N Seal leaving no gaps or holes. Then you can draw on the surface with a marker your design ideas. Use a crayola washable marker if you are afraid you might mark your quilt by accident.

  3. Thank you Leah! Wow, I am so thrilled that so many quilters read my blog post and took the time to comment and share their great advice. New and experienced quilters and bloggers--it's so great we can get together on the Internet!

    Oh, and did you see this?! Your blog post on was picked up by a UFO conspiracy site and reposted!!! HILARIOUS!!

  4. My open toe darning foot for my old singer machine came in today! After process of elimination and adding rubber band to the foot I got some decent looking stitches! Looking forward to many days of practicing smooth, loopy patterns.

  5. I was out of town and missed the UFO blog - just added the link to my dilemma and hope some folks will be so kind as to help me out!

  6. Leah, Thank you for your great advice! I have to tell you I sat down on Sunday and in 2 hours had my new blog up and running just so I could share my Eagle with ya'll and get some GREATLY needed advice.

    Sigh, now I am committed to getting her clear of the sky mess. I figure I have roughly 12 feet of seam undoing (can't call my slow careful speed as ripping lol). I am potty training JR, so 20 minutes of seam ripping with 10 minutes of potty time and repeat. Makes for a busy day on two UFO projects, lol



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