I bought this panel near the beginning of this year with the express purpose of using it to practice my free motion quilting on my new machine. But… it was daunting. And so it sat. And sat. Right before we moved, I got it out and basted it. And then it sat some more.
Finally, I pulled it out, because I wanted to complete my daughter’s baby quilt (which I did, post forthcoming) and figured if I was going to screw it up I’d rather screw it up on a $20 panel and not the quilt top I had spent 20+ hours making. So, after a couple of deep breaths, some frantic Pinterest searching for ideas, and I got started.
At first, each petal took me about 30-45 minutes to do. And the middle, with all that minuscule pebbling, took over an hour. But slowly, I improved. I decided to do a different design on each petal, which adds to the dynamic but also didn’t give me much practice time to perfect each design. As such, some designs are better than others, especially once you start reaching the outer petals. I tried so many new patterns; I even got comfortable using a ruler to make straight lines! (Two petals and all outer corners/background are ruler work.)
This project took months of on/off quilting work. Lori Kennedy has a bunch of ideas on Pinterest, and I used some quilting patterns I saw on Angela Walter’s Midnight Quilt Show, as well as some I saw used on projects throughout the time. And, although some of the quilting isn’t perfect, I learned a ton. And I’d like to think it isn’t half bad for a beginning “quilter”. (Do you like my dragonfly? I did practice that one.)
As I was doing this, I discovered a real joy in seeing how the quilting transforms a top. Since starting this, I’ve finished one big top (the Falling Leaves kit I posted earlier), one baby blanket, and a table topper for my husband for his table at work that he’s been asking for. And I’ve quilted each thing to death. I love it!
Hopefully this is the start of the next chapter in my quilting journey. I can’t wait to see what else I can pull off, just in time for the start of a whole new year! Happy New Years, everyone!