Monday, July 2, 2012

How do you do . . . ?

For another perspective on Sandy Ciolino's machine quilting workshop, see this post by Annette Guerrero. Annette was already an accomplished quilter when she took Sandy's workshop. What could be better than endorsement from another quilter?!

My apologies if you've seen the rest of this post before. Due to technical difficulties and user error, the rest of this post was temporarily un-published.

How do you do IT? Machine quilting I mean.
quilting Orange Rhyme
So many decisions. What designs/patterns/motifs to quilt? where to apply it?
Quilting to stand out or blend in? contrast or complement the quilt top?
And thread: color, solid or variegated, weight, fiber type.
Let's not even get into batting.
Use the walking foot? or are you comfortable with free-motion?
Quilt on a home machine? or on a mid or long arm? 
Do your own quilting? or have someone else do it? 

I've pinned my hopes on getting answers from Sandra Palmer Ciolino. She's teaching a one-week machine quilting workshop at the Crow Barn in October

I've already taken a basic introductory class, and a two-day workshop with Sue Nickels. I've followed Leah Day, Heather Thomas and Angela Walters online. I've stitched up many samples from The Free Motion Quilting Project
beginner designs
But I still don't get it - I have not mastered free motion quilting. Okay, admittedly I haven't practiced consistently. Yes, I know, practice, practice, practice! Two to three hours a day for beginners; more if not particularly gifted. Yep, that's me. 
the only finished project with fmq
My last quilt was intensely stitched with a walking foot.
lines up to 3/16" apart
Sure wasn't much fun getting the bulky thing to turn around under the machine arm. Free-motion would be the ticket to avoid that. Someone said, "don't let your skills limit what you can create". So my goal is to master fmq. 

A whole cloth quilt is not for me. Instead a perspective that'll work with abstract improvisational compositions. In time I may figure this out but I'm impatient. If fmq will never be my thing, then I want to find out soon. 

Sandy is a fabulous machine quilter using her domestic sewing machine. Check out her gallery of recent work on her website. I've heard much praise for her last workshop. She has quilted for Nancy Crow - that's alone is quite an endorsement. Plus she's a sweetheart to boot. 

There's room in the workshop. I'm hoping it'd be a go. Worst case scenario, it won't and might not be offered again. So won't you join me in Ohio for the workshop? Would be good for you. But really - full disclosure here - I'm asking in my own self interest.


  1. So many questions! FMQ is not easy and it, too, falls under the 10,000 rule to gain proficiency. I quilt a lot of charity quilts when I'm auditioning a new design. I like kimono silk thread but I just used so fine! (120wt) and it looks good, too. The most difficult decision for me is the quilt motif on top. It needs to enhance without overwhelming. Good luck

    1. Hmm, 10,000 hours. 3 years at 10 hours a day or 10 years at 3 hours a day! Whew! I hope to get decent quilting in half that time. Not proficient. Decent meaning good enough to not cringe when I show it.

      Until then, practice! More samples and baby or charity quilts.

    2. Sandy Ciolino7/8/12, 9:40 PM

      Using thinner threads that match or blend with your quilt top will emphasize texture without overwhelming your composition. Thicker, more contrasting quilting threads will always make a stronger statement. Take time to quilt!