Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November FMQ Challenge

Yes, I have skipped ahead to actually complete one of these challenges on time! (Barely!)

This month's instructor, Sarah Vedeler, provided instructions on stitching swirls in a line.  Now I really enjoy stitching swirls because they're easy, fast, and pretty forgiving. I've used them in a few past sewing projects:
Swirly waves with echoes around them

Swirls in between stars.

But stitching in a straight line was much more tricky.  To be honest, I found stitching all those spirals to get very tedious very quickly, and as a result I got more and more sloppy as I went along.  You can see the same thing on my practice sketching:

See how that second-to-last spiral is a total mess?
So here is my finished practice swatch:
I marked out a 1" line for the border and 2" strips along the conter before I stitched. However, you can't really tell that these are going in a line which I guess says something.

One problem with stitching in a line was that I was left with gaps like the one below:

 I went back and tried to fill those in once the whole thing had been stitched once.

I followed Sarah's method of switching back and forth between clockwise and counter-clockwise for each spiral. I used to think I was better at one way than another, but I think I just have trouble getting started in one direction, once the circle is going I am fine either way.

I also tried back-tracing my original stitch instead of going back in-between the first spiral.  I found that these spirals always came out looking much better. I think it's hard when you're going back between the lines to be perfectly centered between them.
back-traced (I know that's not the correct term, but you get it)

just a close-up of part of the design

 All in all this was a valuable lesson for me: I don't like designs that have too many restrictions. I'm not a precision person and I get really bored really easily.  When you're going in a straight line you don't have to think about directions, and when you are only stitching one thing you don't have to think about what to stitch next.  So while I love spirals, I hate spirals in a line!

Thanks as always to SewCalGal for arranging this great year-long sequence and thanks to Sarah for the detailed tutorial and practice sheets.


  1. Great job Heather. I sure wish my swirls looked as good as yours. And, I love you you used them wish a fish/nautical quilt. Beautiful.


  2. Your swirls look great, Heather! I think it's hard to keep the spacing perfect when changing directions to come out of a spiral. I got sloppy sometimes too. I'm glad I tried it since it's nice to have another design I'm familiar with.

  3. You have come a long way with your quilting skills and you were already a beautiful quilter! I am happy this is giving you so much pleasure and that you continue to learn so much.

  4. Yes, I agree with you about stitching them in a straight line getting boring. I had to plan out some odd roads with intersecting roads at varying angles to hold my interest, but then it was a lot of fun! You produce great swirls, by the way!