Now that the holidays are over, I have time to play and improve my skills. Since I liked the the Cutting Corners pattern, I decided to do it again – this time in teal and violet. It went together very quickly, so I could spend more time on my longarm.
One of the things I really wanted to master was the use of the Jade Wreath ruler. It gave me a bit of trouble when I used it for my sister’s quilt. The rubber stopper used to hold the center pin tears easily and didn’t hold the ruler in place well. In fact, I resorted to tape to keep it in place. Also, the center pin interfered with the free-motion – in other words – my arm kept getting stuck. I mean Tin Man stuck… Not productive. An expert at my local quilt shop – Quilters Studio – suggested using an earring backing as a replacement of the stopper. Recently, I had bought a pack of earing backing with the plastic disc on them to replace some I had lost. So, I decided to try it. For those of you fighting with these pins – the earring backing worked!
To solve the issue of the pin causing my arm to stick, I had to use reverse psychology. Normally, you put gentle pressure on a ruler near where you are stitching. However, this was causing the pin to catch on the quilt table. With this in mind, I wondered what would happen if I put pressure away from my needle. Believe it or not – it worked! So if you are getting stuck – quite literally – take the pressure off. By placing pressure away from the pin, it raised the pin, preventing the catch.
Once that was solved, I could use it for Cutting Corners. Next, I had to decide on my quilt design. I used my preferred method – a white board. I try out patterns on it and then practice the stitches prior to putting needle to fabric. Using this technique, I decided to repeat the ruler pattern to make a dahlia in the corner of the block. If I quilted more heavily in the rest of the block, the dahlia would really stand out. So I pulled out Lean Day’s 365 Quilting Designs Perpetual Calendar. The calendar had lots of great design ideas. If I used a different pattern in each block, I could practice 24 new fills and make a very unique quilt.
Here is an example of what I have completed so far. I will spend the next few days, slowly filling in the blocks. It is such a joy to work at an easy pace rather than the hectic holiday pace I was on!
How are you practicing your stitches?