Thursday, December 12, 2013

Penny Patch: Dogwood Quilting

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along. You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner! Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Penny Patch button Learning to Dogwood Quilt earlier this year was my breakthrough free motion quilting (FMQ) moment.  I had done some FMQ before - simple loops only, I think - but conquering this particular pattern gave me the courage to start experimenting with my own ideas.  My hope is that others new to FMQ will also find their way!

I learned this quilting style on Elizabeth Hartmans blog.  Visit Oh Fransson! for her tutorial.  Here I'll be sharing some additional tips that should help!

Prep the Quilt

Before you start quilting, you need to create a 3" square grid on your quilt.  If you're quilting a Penny Patch, your 6" finished blocks will need 2 segmenting lines.  I used a hera marker and my longest ruler to divide the blocks into 3" squares.

Dogwood quilting tips

Of course, the 4-penny patch blocks are already divided, making it easy to know where to mark!

Penny Patch quilt-along

Next use a water soluble pencil or marker to place a dot at the center of each 3" square.  

Penny Patch quilt-along

This dot is where all 4 petals of the dogwood flower will start and end.  It's a great reference point as you shape each petal!

Penny Patch quilt-along

You can do all this segmenting and dot-making in advance, or just row by row as you quilt to keep it from feeling too tedious.  I like to listen to an audio book during this part.

Practice!



Unless you are a fairly confident free motion quilter, I absolutely suggest you practice this pattern on a test quilt sandwich (a small piece with a top, batting and backing) just to work out those kinks!  It's also a nice way to check tension on your machine before the real deal.

the Quilting

Your quilt path will be just like your practice drawing.  This pattern works across the quilt in rows, so roll up your quilt leaving just one or two rows of 6" blocks exposed.

Penny Patch quilt-along

I often find I need to tighten my tension a bit (move it to a higher number) when free motion quilting.  A telltale sign that you need to do so is when the stitch path looks more like a solid line than segmented stitches from the wrong side.   It really helps to consult your sewing machine manual if your tension needs adjusting to make sure you're approaching the fix correctly!

To minimize frustration later on, start by winding LOTS of bobbins.  I think I'll need 4-5 bobbins just to quilt the baby Penny Patch quilt.

Dogwood quilting tips

And, most importantly, live with as many "mistake" flowers as you can.  REALLY!  I think I so enjoy this FMQing pattern because each new flower is a chance to start fresh, an opportunity to do better.  Try to put yourself in that frame of mind.

Be optimistic, keep going and you will certainly improve!

18 comments:

  1. My throw size quilt is for me so I'm going to try my best to learn some FMQ... Maybe by the end of the quilt I'll have the dogwood blossom down to a T!

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  2. Thank you so much for the video. I am such a visual learner and it really helps!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Rachel. I love the colors you're using in your quilt -- great mix!

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  4. It looks great! How do you like the Hera marker? I've been meaning to try one of those for straight line work but wasn't sure how long the creases would stay in.

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    1. Thanks! I think the hera marker creases stay in for a very long time, even until the quilt is washed. It's my favorite way to mark lines by far since it's so accurate (thin line) and doesn't use up. Also, seems to apply faster than pencil or marker.

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  5. Thank you for the video, it really helps! I will definitely try this for my Penny Sampler quilt!

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  6. So great quilting work, looks awesome.
    I hate winding bobbins, can you buy them prefilled?

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    1. I think you can, but I never have bought them that way.

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  7. Thank you. I loved the video! It really helped to see you do them. And now I have a voice to put with your posts, love that :)

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    1. Welcome, welcome! The video is admittedly dark, but we had days and days of cloudiness, so we just had to go with artificial lighting. Glad it still comes across well enough.

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  8. Great tutorial and video, Rachel! Definitely hoping to broaden and sharpen my FMQ. Also, random question, but do those chalk pencils work well for you? Every time I go to use mine, the chalk breaks off...drives me bonkers!!

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    1. The pencil I'm working with here is a water soluble one by Clover. I do like how they work. They're soft, so they go on fabric smoothly. But, they do use up fast-ish since they're soft. For an actual chalk maker, I like those chaco pens that have the interior chalk reserve that comes out on a tiny wheel. Again by Clover. Those are great, but the chalk will wipe away easy, so I don't think that's good for quilting.

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  9. It's the design I want to try on my Penny Patch, so fingers crossed !

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  10. Thanks for the hint about checking tension, it's so important! I was free motion quilting a baby quilt a few days ago, and everything looked dandy on the front (simple loops), but when I flipped it over to admire my work, it was all loosey-goosey! Rip, rip, rip!

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  11. Thank you for the tutorial. It is very clear and as you went along all the questions I had were answered. You make it look so easy, and I will definitely quilt dogwood flowers.

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