Living This Creative Life

I have two favorite quotes. The first one is by Emile Zola, "If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud". I don't know who the second one is by, but it goes like this, "If you're not living on the edge then you might as well jump". Both of these sentiments sum up my personal philosophy of this experience we call life on earth. Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Block #24 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Afternoon,

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I certainly did. I got some much needed Spring cleaning done, got some flowers and plants together for the garden and paid a visit to the Denver Contemporary Art Museum. All in all, a very productive three days.

Here is today's new stitch-out, Gentle Curves. The gentle curve is one of the most usefull stitch designs you will ever learn in machine quilting. It can be easy and effective used inside just about any straight sided shape such as a square, triangle or rectangle. When several are used together it yields interesting designs such as this one with it's alternating circles and four petaled flowers.

It looks easy, but making consistently smooth curved lines can be quite difficult. So, you guessed it, doodle it a whole bunch before you begin quilting it. Here, the design is done on a large section of fabric rather than in individual, pieced squares, so the first thing you will need to do is to mark a grid on your block. For my grid, I used 1 1/2" squares and marked them with my ruler and Hera marker (sharpened plastic that marks a crease only).

Once you have marked your grid, you are going to stitch either in a horizontal direction or a vertical one. This stitch-out can be completed with very few starts and stops, it is continuous and that is part of it's utilitarian beauty. Each square has four sides to it and you are going to make two passes in each row of squares. In the first pass you will make a gentle curve on two adjoining inner sides of the squares, one after the other. On the second pass you will make gentle curves on the remaining two sides of each square then you will double back over the last curve you made to the next row and do it again.

Begin by placing your needle down in the top right hand corner of the top left hand block. Stich a gentle curve from that corner to the upper left corner, making the arc anywhere from 1/4" to 1/2" deep (shallow for smaller squares, deeper for larger squares, here, mine are about 1/4" deep). Next stitch from that corner to the lower left hand corner and stop. You are finished with this block for the time being.

Now, your needle is in the lower left hand corner of the top block as well as in the upper left hand corner of the second block. Stitch from this corner to the upper right hand corner of the second block. Try to make the depth of this arc the same as the previous ones. Next stitch from this corner to the lower right hand corner of the second block. Now move on to the third block down and stitch two sides. Continue stitching two sides only in each successive block until you stitch the last block in the first row.

Once you have stitched the two sides on the last block, go ahead and stich the remaining two sides in that block them move up to the next block and stitch it's remaining two sides and so on until you have completed all four sides in all of the blocks in that first row. Because you began in the top right hand corner, you can move to the next row of blocks without having to stitch over any lines, but you will have to when you move to the third row and every other row after that.

This stitch-out can be used in so many ways, whether it's a pieced block or a wide border. It may just become your 'go to' stitch-out!

Enjoy,
Heather

1 comment:

Christa Irell said...

Oooh, nice! But I will definitely need paper practice for this one... that's alright, my machine isn't ready yet anyway! Thanks Heather, for sharing your skills- and a bit of your journey, I love reading about it!