This is my most recent finished piece, “Variations on a Squiggle.” It began life as a simple quilt sandwich to practice with on a rented longarm machine at Olde City Quilts; I took their class a few months ago, and I was itching to get back and use one of those machines again! I cut two pieces of muslin and a corresponding rectangle of cotton batting, packed my Quilter’s Planner and an Angela Walters book, and spent a lovely two hours doodling away on the longarm.
I had no plan when I started, just the two books and my memory of some motifs that I learned from The Inbox Jaunt (which I can’t recommend enough, by the way; beautifully clear instructions and a million cute motifs for free motion). I scribbled and meandered, wandered and looped, and whenever I didn’t know what to do next I’d find a good stopping point (usually one of the edges), flip through one of the books, find my next design, and take off!
It was a liberating, centering creative experience, almost a form of meditation, to make this; I was so focused on trying things out, drawing the lines. Everything else fell away.
When I was done, I took a look at the whole thing and was surprised at how cohesive it looked. One of my favorite things about free-motion quilting is that it’s very forgiving; you might think you’re doing a terrible job in the moment, but as soon as you pull back and see the whole, all the imperfections sort of blend into the background, and you find yourself marveling at the idea that you could make something like this.
Since it came out so well, I decided to finish it! I found a lovely mulberry cotton in my stash for the binding, sewed a hanging sleeve to the back, and added a label. (I bought some sheets of printer-friendly fabric last year. It goes through the printer quite as easily as shipping labels; you just have to remember to press the label with the iron for a few seconds to set the ink.)
“Variations on a Squiggle” is now listed for sale in my Etsy store. It’s been hanging in my living room for a few days now, and continues to be an object of visual interest, so I’m hopeful that somebody out there will want to hang it up in their home too.
Next time, my first web tutorial (really this time): How to Hang a Quilt with Picture-Hanging Strips!