Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A little muscle memory goes a long way

   I have worked on the Therapy Quilt of circles the last two afternoons.  Around the circles of many sizes...lol...I did a simple meander and some squiggly lines when there wasn't enough room to meander.
I know it is hard to see as I used white thread, but I just wanted texture not design.
    I was about half way thru when I finally felt that I had my rhythm back for this stitch.   I don't use a stitch regulator, so control is very important to me.  Consider that I have little feeling in the palms of my hands (guiding the quilt), and only sense pressure in parts of my feet (foot pedal), and you can see why I said I needed to practice to gain my control/speed/rhythm back.   It is all about the muscle memory developed during lots of practice.   I found myself wanting to race thru the motions and get it done.  A break and honest discussion with self helped put things into perspective.

    "Listen Self, you need to take a deep breathe, and relax.  This is not a race.  Remember the point is to practice,  and gain confidence to FMQ again.   You have nothing to prove to anyone, you are doing this because you love it, because you can.  You have a second chance, take it and enjoy it."

  

  
   It helped.   Then I decided on the border motif.....the leafy vine.  The plain border is 41/2''  wide  I had plenty of room to make some nice size leaves and a few curls along the stem.   I have used this before on several quilts, so I was hoping the muscle memory would kick in.   
  This is one continuous design without a central stem stitched.  The outer edge of the leaf is stitched to a point (I missed a few of those, oh well) first.  Then back down to the center without closing the leaf.  That allows a vein to be stitched half way up the leaf and then back to the opening.  Then you can stitch another leaf on the opposite side or insert a nice fat curl.    I like to have large and smaller leaves on this vine.  Perfect shapes and sizes are not in my game plan......and you might notice the different angles, with some leaves pointing up and other pointing out.  Much more natural.  


   And then the mail came.....goodies from Wanda at Exuberant Color.   
  She had offered me some quilting stencils that she no longer used  that would be perfect for my beginner Free Motion class in the new year.   Of course I said yes!  I had been thinking of revamping my class and adding working with stencils too.   For two reasons......1) not everyone can develop/create/design a motif  by free hand, 2) often they need a "map" or pattern to stitch over.    So thanks to Wanda, my students will have a new adventure to try.  


   And to fill the extra space in the box, she included some extra goodies.  A bag of floral strip scraps (yea!!), and fabrics (big yeas!!!)  that feature cardinals.    And she made me a mug rug with a cardinal in the center.  She definitely filled me up with some hope!  Thanks so much.  


   Tomorrow we have plans for lunch out after an appointment, and a few errands to take care of.   My energy level is not back yet, so that will be enough for me.   Happy stitching.  

15 comments:

  1. Wanda is one in a million. You are going to have some lucky students. Love the leaf motif. I may use it in my next quilt. Glad to see you are in the saddle, making great things!

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  2. I love your self talk and your quilting looks fantastic - love the leafy vine. Wish I could come take your class... ~Jeanne

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  3. The stitching looks great. Wanda used to be part of my Quilts of Valor group, before her father got sick (I doubt she would remember me).

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  4. Self talks are good for us. You've done a super job on this piece and I have that motif saved in my files - maybe it will make an appearance on the next bear quilt. How generous of Wanda - stencils are a great starting point for students.

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  5. I think your quilting muscle memory is doing just fine. I love your leafy vine, and will give this a try soon after Christmas. There's a 4 inch border on a table topper where this design would be perfect, and better yet it looks like one I could actually do. Thanks for sharing the how-to.

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  6. That's my favorite Charley Harper cardinal in your circles quilt! Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year ahead.

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  7. "You have a second chance, take it and enjoy it", I love that! The vine looks so good and it is the perfect practice pattern, different sizes and curves. I still use stencils for some things and it looks like Wanda sent you really good ones, do you have a pounce?

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  8. You are showing amazing recovery of those skills even with the limitations you are dealing with. Hang in there!

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  9. I like that motif, and good for you for calling out that unruly Self. I have one of those around here who gets a good talking-to once in a while. I've realized that in FMQ things can be perfect in their imperfection. If we were quilting with a computer-operated machine where all the lines were perfectly spaced and shaped, any variation would be obvious. With lots of variation, it just looks natural...a good word for it.

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  10. The stitching on that border is very nice!

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  11. Debbie - you are amazing! How I admire your determination and fortitude. Your projects are an inspiration to all of us and I ALWAYS pick up a tip or idea or better way to do something from your postings.. thank you.

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  12. Your progress is impressive. I've gotten so much better at not fretting over every imperfection in my FMQ. After all, I'm not making show quilts and this is supposed to be fun.
    Have a Merry Christmas.
    Pat

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  13. So pleased your getting so much better and are able to stitch again so beautifully.
    You really are an inspiration all round girl
    : )

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  14. Your quilting is lovely and even more amazing under the circumstances Debbie. And your friend Wanda is a Sweetie!

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  15. I imagine the mental battle alone is exhausting but you seem to be fighting it well! I think most quilters are their harshest critics but the vine really does look very nice! Keep reminding those muscles who's boss!

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