Work-in-Progress Girl

Random Thursday


Is this supposed to be a link-up or is it just really… Random Thursday? Well, here’s a few random bits and bobs:

1. Next project


I spent an embarrassingly long time sitting and staring at that one hexie yesterday trying to decide which way to go with it. The Paper Pieces package recommends sewing through the paper, but I want to use them multiple times and so I can’t help thinking it MUST be better for the paper not to sew through. The package does say you can keep reusing them anyway, but don’t they get all damaged in the corners where the stitches go? I don’t know. I’ve been planning today to watch a few videos on YouTube to see if I can decide which looks a more likely route for me.

2. Birdie Sling

Birdie Sling fabrics

Not sold on the denim yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I like it, a lot, but it feels too pale compared to the darker blue, maybe? (Special thanks to Michelle for her contribution to these fabrics being in my stash! :D) I thought from photos online that maybe it would be a darker blue than it is. I think a bag looks top-heavy if you put the darker fabric on top, and I could switch it so that the print fabric is on the bottom, but honestly I don’t want that much of the print on display. The bag on the pattern cover has a darker top band, but I think that large print on the bottom (with the smaller print up top) counter-acts the top-heaviness. I’ll have to think about it. I might have some Kona Nightfall fabric that would probably work (maybe?) and would definitely be darker. I don’t want to have to buy more fabric, in any case.

3. Leftover bits from something I’ve been working on.

Liberty Scraps

Liberty scraps. I’m not a big fan of Liberty (by and large I find their prints to be overly fussy, but there are a few I do like, even though they are fussy little florals), but wanted to see what the Tana Lawn was like to work with. I’m not 100% on board with the thing I made that generated these scraps (photos later – I want to be more happy with it before I share) and I wound up putting interfacing on the fabric because it was too light-weight (compared to the linen I paired it with). It also smelled a bit of bug spray – I have to assume that’s the fault of the seller, not the fabric maker, but I’ve been airing it out and can’t smell it any longer. (Also, I could smell bugspray at work the other day where no bug spray existed, so maybe I had some crossed wires in my brain…)

4. The solids Churn Dash.

Churn Dash

Just need a few more… Well, I need one more row’s worth, plus I’m waiting for 2 that will be sent to me. Love how this is coming together.

5. Some of my problem spots with the FMQ on the Star Surround project. If you have suggestions or advice for avoiding, please let me know!


There’s lot of little things to nit pick with this one, which I will nit-pick in other photos instead, what I took this photo for was the kind of jerkiness of it. I didn’t get a smooth loop at all on that top one, which was just me needing to stop and get my hands in a better position (but just pushing through anyway). What really bothers me is the stitches just before it goes from a straight(ish) downward line into the loop – you can see a spot where I went from vertical almost immediately to horizontal, and although I mentioned this was a spot where I’d needed to reposition my hands, I ALSO had that same issue in places (sometimes) where I did come to a complete stop, and then started again. Sometimes I could get a smooth restart and then other times I’d go off in a completely different direction than I really “should” have. I KNOW that it’s not going to show much in the grand scheme of things (which is why I didn’t pick out any of my stitches, except where there were thread breaks and the one time I had a toe catcher), but I’d still rather learn to prevent it.


Okay. Quarter-inch stitches vs sixteenth of an inch stitches. I know this is about the speed of my hands relative to the speed of the machine, but… how should I sew into a curve to keep my stitches smaller and more uniform? I know, practise. Yay, practise. But should I be giving it a little more gas at the beginning of the curve or easing off…? Move my hands faster as I go into that motion? I don’t know. As with all my other little issues, they seemed to hit intermittently – every time I congratulated myself for a particularly well done bit, I’d wind up doing something dumb 😀 (If I hadn’t used such garish fabrics, I’d show you my practise stitches! My best rows were the first two, before I started paying attention to what I was doing, before I remembered to turn my stitch length to zero even!, then they got progressively worse for a bit while I figured out what to do to improve things, and then they started to get better again. My one practise row of stippling is… appalling. There’s a reason I haven’t done it for realsies yet. Definitely need a whole practise sandwich just for that! But I want to go through Leah Day’s method of practising in stages – u shapes, lobster claw shapes, etc. – before joining it all up in a properly random stipple.)


Okay, this doesn’t show super clearly because I could not convince my camera to focus on the problem spot rather than a spot an inch above it. But that particularly long looking stitch kind of in the bottom middle of the lower loop… My machine skipped a stitch. It only happened a couple times in the whole quilt, but I seem to remember reading something somewhere about what that means, but I can’t seem to find any information on the topic now! (I tried googling FMQ skipped stitch, but that didn’t help. It’s possible I just got bored of looking for answers, though, so I should probably search it again now that I’m not so focussed on getting that quilt done done done!) A couple of my skipped stitches, I went in with a needle and thread and couched the skipped bit (didn’t want to unpick, also didn’t want to leave a loop big enough for a kid’s finger to go into), but I didn’t do it every time. (It was awkward! And I don’t know how stable that couching will be, it’s not like with embroidery where you can secure it really easily on the back.)


Okay. You can see a bit of this in most of my photos, but the bobbin thread is even more visible in this photo because the darker part of the variegated thread is on the bobbin thread here, with a very pale part on top. I always thought this was a tension issue, but my machine is set at almost the highest tension available. I didn’t adjust it to the higher setting because it didn’t do this all the time I was FMQing, so I wondered if something else was at work?

I don’t know. If any of you do much FMQing and have thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I know it’s not easy to diagnose when you can’t see what I do when I quilt, but I figured someone might have thoughts.

[Also, I’m linking up to Free Motion Quilting Friday at Leah Day’s The Free Motion Quilting Project. If you want to see the finished quilt which has all these flawed bits of stitching on them, you can find it here.]


Author: clumsykristel

I'm a 30-ish quilter, and occasional sewist and embroiderer. I mostly talk about crafty things I'm working on, or wish I were working on.

8 thoughts on “Random Thursday

  1. I’ve never done Hexies; but I follow Bonnie Hunter’s blog, and she has a GREAT tutorial….and the best I could come up with is she only put a stitch thru the center of the hexie.
    Good luck with the FMQ…I think you are right…practice practice practice.

    • Heh… she also mentions that on larger sizes you should stitch through the paper, so I guess I might need to just go that route 😀 Thanks for the link! It’s always good to have things confirmed in more than one direction.

      The FMQ it’s just like when I was a kid taking piano lessons: I just want to be good without putting in the hours of practise ;D Guess we can’t all be prodigies!

  2. I love the colors you used in your churn dash! Well, regarding your loops. I wonder if you are remembering to warm up on a scrap before you jump into your main project? The speed on you sew at is a personal thing. Maybe be more consistent with your speed either way? I noticed that your bobbin thread is coming up through to your top, so either loosen the top tension or tighten your bobbin. Nice round loops take quite bit of practise so don’t despair. Sometimes I’ll take a piece of 12×12 fabric backed with batting an play around first. I save these and use them for the pockets for totes and stuff. Remember to have fun and quilt like nobody’s watching. Everything you make is beautiful in the eyes of the recipient.

    • Thank you! I’m loving the churn dash too 😀 It’s bright and cheery and fun!

      I did practise on some a FQ sandwich (using some ugly fabrics I was given and didn’t like!) and did figure out quite a few things, but I definitely need more practise! My actual quilt had more good areas than bad, but it’a always easy to find the bad areas when you know they exist!

      I’m definitely having problems with consistency of speed – I kept having to remind myself to speed up on the foot pedal because I’d slow down too much, but wasn’t changing my hand movements to match. I guess it’s probably just practise that’ll get me more in tune with keeping them in sync, but like everyone I want a magic bullet answer to fix things 😀

      I had the tension thing all backwards – it’s funny that you mention it because I was reading a book about quilting and it explained which tension to tighten depending on the issue right around when this message came through – and yeah, I had been tightening the wrong side of the equation (in the past – I didn’t change anything that day when I was stitching), so that does explain the thread issue! It didn’t seem to do it through the whole quilt, but it did happen in quite a few places (all those photos were taken in the same strip of stitching, so its no wonder they all have the same tension issue throughout).

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. I have had a hexie with diamonds project in progress for about 5 years now, and this is how I do so I don’t have to damage the papers. hand fold the fabric over the paper on one side, take a stitch just in the fabric at the corner, fold over the next side and stitch thro the fabric only at the corner so now you have the overlap at the corner tacked, then go to the next corner, fold down the third side and take a stitch only through the overlapped corner fabric, do this so you actually only have a stitch in the fabric all around. The paper stays in place and when you sew the hexies together leave the paper in until you have stitched the hexies together. when a hexie is completely surrounded with already sewn on patches, just slide the paper out and use it again in the next hex shapes. no stitches in the paper and very easy to remove without having to cut out basting stitches that show on the front side, you can leave in your basted stitches or remove them as you desire. If my explaination is not so clear, drop me a line and I will send you a photo.

    • Thanks for the suggestion/instructions! The more I think about it, the less I think I need to use paper at all. The hexies will all be joined at two sides only, so… like a flower of hexagons, but without the centre (and some of them much larger than that), there won’t actually be any y-seams. So really all I have to do is machine piece the joined sides and press under the edges for the rest and then appliqué it to the background material But I think it’ll look crisper and better done if I do at least press them over the paper so that the edges will be nice. Hmm. I guess I should dig up the pattern and see what the author’s suggestions are!

  4. I use sewline fabric glue to attach the fabric to my hexagons. This way I get to reuse the papers without having sewn through them.

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