Thursday, January 17, 2013

Look, Ma! No Stencils!

One of my missions with improving my free-motion skills is to tackle quilt tops, large and small, that I have piled here and there.  I made up this Carpenter’s Wheel mini a while ago but I knew I wanted to do more than just quilt in the ditch to finish it off.  I just didn’t know what to do.  So . . . back first . . .

We’ve got pebbles and swirls and straight(ish) lines and leaves.  The front border is primarily black so I decided to quilt the border from the back – which explains the blue marking line that gave me a general idea of where to place the center vine and the borders to keep within. 

I used this design:

From this book:

Here’s the finished quilt from the back:

Close up of quilting on the front:

And the whole deal, finishing at 13 inches square.

I just love how it came out!  Here it is hanging in my kitchen:

I also made another Carpenter’s Wheel, a little smaller (a six inch finished block instead of the 8 inch finished), with a slight design change in the outer ring, done up in reproductions.  I love it, too.  It’s just so sweet – though it’s so traditional I’ll be using stencils when I finish up this one.

Here they both are for comparison: 

I love them both!

I may do this up as a pattern.  Just for a look-see, here it is in process -- with all the patches added to the foundation but the rows not yet sewn together:

If you are interested in seeing what other’s are up to with their free motion quilting projects, hop over here at Leah Day’s.  My Express Your Love panel arrived from Spoonflower and I hope to get it basted this coming week.  I love Leah’s open to anything attitude towards quilting this year.  School begins next week and I’m just crossing my fingers hoping I still get to keep up my free motion practice.  Wish me luck.


  1. Good Job Terrie! Quilting is my least favorite part of making a quilt. It starts with coming up with a good design idea, and ends with actually doing it. I do better with my small quilts, but I have recently decided to tackle my larger projects. I make them and then the tops sit. I'm terrible. Practice makes perfect from what I hear....

  2. Oh I love freehand work! But then I think of my sewing machine as a sketching tool. Your little quilts are completely adorable, and congrats on practicing quilting freehand. I've heard 10,000 hours, but have to say I got a lot better after simple daily work, and that had to be closer to 200 hours than 10,000.

    I followed your comment from Refab, to feed you and your wolf!

  3. Love your Stars. It's perfect on your wall. How are attaching it the wall? Thank you.

    1. I put folded triangles on the back of the quilt and tuck a thin wooden dowel into them. Then I just hand the quilt on a couple of pins put in the wall. So easy! I'll try to remember to show pictures with the the little mini I'm hoping to finish up this weekend.

  4. Wow! The border quilting was breathtaking! I would love that in my kitchen too :)

  5. I love the vine and leaves! Beautiful stitching!

    I would love to see the block as a pattern, and the fabrics really suit it well.

  6. I love the look of those vines and leaves, too! I keep reminding myself that right now, it's all about getting better. I have to admit the execution needs work, but I'm still really happy with the progress I've been making. It's really energizing me to keep going!

  7. Beautiful quilt and your quilting looks perfect for it!

  8. Wonderful freehand leaves and vines. It looks so much more organic and natural than when using a perfect stencil. A much better representation of nature yet a little whimsical too!

  9. I love the Carpenter's Wheel block! Please do make the pattern! Perhaps as a downloadable PDF? I can hardly wait!