Sunday, February 14, 2010

Slip Slidin' Away

I’ve been having fun using a new gadget called SewSlip. It is a smooth white surface that covers the bed of my sewing machine. Fabric slides easily around on the slick surface while free-motion quilting. I can no longer blame any little glitches in my stitches on my machine bed’s irregularities. The 12 by 18 inch sheet has a permanent tacky back that holds it in place on the machine. It is easily removed when your work is finished. My dear cyber friend Del Thomas sent me the SewSlip as a present. Thank you, Del.

Now that I am not struggling with the quilt sample sandwich I can relax and have fun. However, I did learn something profound. I’m never going to be Diane Gaudynski or Sally Bramald or Harriet Hargrave. (Click on their names to learn more about them.) Those marvelous women can feather and stipple and trapunto with grace and beauty.

I’ve hand-quilted for years because I can go slowly and get the effects I want.
However, my free-motion quilting looks just like my pencil and pen sketches, which are kind of sloppy. The experts advise “draw your motif on paper and practice it, then go to your machine and follow the same motions with your stitches.” When I could not achieve smooth feathers and stipples with the sewing machine I looked at my sketches. Sure enough, my machine quilting looks exactly like my sketches.

Well, what did I expect? I expected to change my entire lifetime of drawing and suddenly become precise and meticulous on a sewing machine. That is not going to happen. Stippling and feathers are not in my future. But perhaps I can achieve the look of my finished drawings with ripples and sweeps across my quilts. We will see.

Here are two finished drawings from the 1970s. That’s how I draw. Just because it is 2010 I’m not going to try to become Vermeer, Rembrandt, or da Vinci. I think I can aspire to move like Frank Stella or Jackson Pollock or Judy Chicago.

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Blogger Gerrie said...

I can do a better drawing with my sewing machine than I can with a pencil.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Piecefulafternoon said...

Like they say - practice practice practice. But I want patience - RIGHT NOW. Enjoy your new gadget.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

I think your drawing looks great! My free-motion tip is to not watch the needle. Fix your eyes just ahead of the needle. In other words, it's a bit like driving a car. Watch where you are going, not where you are.

10:37 PM  
Blogger QuiltingFitzy said...

So dd#2 tried my new halo with the slippery piece against the machine yesterday. The slippery piece ended up moving along with her stitching and she sewed rigt on down thru the slippery piece! No......! She then subbed in an unused piece of laminating plastic sliced in 1/2 and tacked it down with painter's tape. PERFECT, and she was off to the races with her practice squares. She's eliminated the halo now too, said it was too confining, lol.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Del said...

I agree with WF's dd#2 - too confining is a good description. Sometimes the inventive solutions we come up with on our own work better than 90% of the commercial products. That is a lovely onion, Christine. Try looking at that image and stitching it with your needle on fabric. Might work. Del

10:47 AM  
Blogger Feather on a Wire said...

Any one can do what I can, you just have to play and stop worrying about it.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Meggie said...

I too love the onion! It is a steep curve for me, to try to machine quilt in free motion.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

I don't think I will bother trying to get good with free motion...have you seen my stick people?

Your drawing looks wonderful Christine, so why worry about the free motion? Just go for it!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Tanya said...

Sewslip huh? Do you think it would work on a sewing machine bed that slopes down? Mine is not completely horizontal and I've been thinking that a gadget might not stick...

10:55 PM  

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