Thursday, March 8, 2012

FMQAYGQAL - Blocks 9 and 10 & Marston/Moran Comments

Directions for Blocks 9 and 10  (AKA Row 3 Blocks 1 & 2)

I'm sewing these blocks in 'catch-up' mode as I spent so much time getting ready for my week long workshop with Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran - then had four days with them - and then had so much to get caught up at home that I'm just now sewing.  (I've solved things by filing for an extension for taxes to give myself some breathing room!).

The theme for this row is Landscapes and Seascapes....

Block 9: Leah's Landscape Stitch

When I was watching the video I thought this would be an easy design for me to do.  (I had a chuckle at the end when Leah advises us to draw our hills like the hills are that we see when we look out our window!  The only hill I see is covered densely with houses - if I were to just draw that hill I'd have one lump and would be done!) I did have to draw it out to figure out why she was sort of back stitching before beginning another hill.  Laura from QuokkaQuilts (running the QAL) mentioned in her notes that getting the hills even was the part that was tricky for her so I was aware of that.  But to be honest the non-example hill that she pointed to on her blog didn't bother me at all.  So after drawing it out I threaded the green thread in and checked that the needle was okay by doing a little stitching on my sandwich that I am practicing feathers and other things on.  Everything seemed okay.

Front - Block 9
But while doing the actual stitching I was very frustrated.  I broke a needle.  I thought perhaps I was pulling the fabric to quickly (as I had done before).  I thought about how cold my fingers were and thought I didn't have good control.  I broke another needle - the first time I 'lost' the point - usually the points stay threaded so they are easy for me to tape up and keep until I can discard in a sharps container at the place where my mom lives.  I broke another needle and decided to stop trying.

Back - Block 9
I thought about not filling the hills in - to leave them open and plain as Laura decided to do....  But with a new day and not feeling as cold I tried again.  This time I broke a needle again.  I could not figure out why this was happening.  I rolled the new needle to be sure it was straight and took really slow stitches....  I thought the thread was being fed unevenly so I found a firm straw and put that on the top of the machine so the cone could be on the machine.  Started again and then I heard the twang sound and remembered to look at the machine to see if the thread had wrapped itself around one of the metal pieces, and sure enough it did!  So I figured out that I could disengage the extra loops and continue.  I did the rest of the design with no breaks - I did cheat and move the block in different directions to make it easier to see where I was going to sew.  I went back and added some extra threads on the top of most of the hills....

I'm pleased with how this looks, but it was very time intensive for me and since my emphasis is on finishing real quilts now (believe it or not!) I'm not sure when I will use it.

Block 10: Leah's Ocean Current

Block 10 - Front
This design is very pretty in the examples - there is an initial line stitched with several hooks to begin the water swirls - that's called a foundation line - then you go back and echo around that line to make the swirls stand out.

Block 10 - Back
I drew the design several times with different spots for the hooks and saw what I needed to do if I got caught inside a part of the design.  I was ready to go.  I guess I should have taken a photo of my foundation line - that really does drive the design....

My water is sort of stagnant maybe there is a lot of trash up stream that is stopping the swirls.....


So those are my blocks that were being sewn by others in the FMQAYGQAL while I was at the Marston/Moran workshop.  I have not uploaded my photos from that great adventure (yet) - and my experiences yesterday and today with doing these designs sort of cloud the great compliments I got from Gwen and Freddy for my FMQing.... but here is one photo that is special to me....

Marston/Moran admiring my FMQing!
The third day of the workshop, I had put my finished pieces of the Wonky Shoo Fly on the floor so I could get suggestions for how to put the pieces together.....  But the teachers were busy so I then went around and took photos of all the design walls....  Across the room I could see ten or twelve students looking down at my quilt pieces - I ran over and heard great compliments and fielded lots of questions.  They were amazed that I did the work on my regular old sewing machine.  I made sure again that they knew I had learned from Leah Day. (I had shared my in-progress-LibRR with the group the second day and told them then too so everyone heard that.)  It seems the people at the class didn't do any FMQ.  It was wonderful to hear them oh and ah my work!

The teachers were still busy so I went back to work on my parts for the project I was working on for the class - then someone excitedly tapped me on the should and said Gwen and Freddy are looking at your quilt! They like it!  So I grabbed my phone and took these photos.  By that time someone else in the class had come up to ask for advice so the photos are a little diluted with that - but really they were looking at my FMQing!  Gwen especially liked the big leaf pattern - Freddy came to me and said it was exquisitely stitched and she had never seen a student in all her years of giving workshops with such wonderful work.  I made sure they knew I was learning from Leah Day's site and that I had won some of the blocks I brought from the BlockLotto.

Gwen thought perhaps they were going to be kept separate - like her little quilts she had shared - didn't really have ideas to help me get the pieces back into a bed sized quilt.  Oh well.

Freddy came up to me two additional times and chatted with me - she said that I had found my niche in quilting and should develop that and disregard the color and piecing part unless I wanted to do that....

Pretty fabulous....  

I have to keep thinking about how great I felt when they were giving me compliments while do the actual FMQing now!

(I'll post the photos from the workshop soon!)

I hope you will join us for the second Liberated Round Robin - starting this month!


  1. These are great! Your landscape stitch is really nice- I like the thread buildup on the hills. Too bad it is so time consuming. ~Jeanne

    1. Thank you for visiting my site. I'm rethinking the time consuming note - I need to fix the way my thread is being fed to the machine. It does look really nice in person....

  2. I love the photo of Gwen and Freddynand your wonky churn dashes. I can't wait to read more about the workshop.

    1. Thanks for visiting Sophie! I told them I had won the blocks in the BlockLotto and Gwen was interested in that - asked me where you were, etc.

  3. More more more! I love how expressive Gwen looks.

    Oh I wish I could meet them both.

    And how fantastic what Freddy said.

    As DD would say "Oh Cool!".

    1. I'm working on getting the photos up from the workshop and have invited the attendees to the LibRR2 project!

  4. Me again. Can I put the photo on the group's home page? Crediting you, of course.

    1. That would be fun! I should have had a photo with me and them but didn't think of that....


Feedback is welcome!