Quilting practice and a quick project

2014-066In as much as possible, weekends I try to dedicate a day to either sew, sew, sew, or to take an online class or follow some tutorial and learn something new. And, of course, sew. 🙂

This weekend I was watching a video on The Quilt Show that included a segment with award-winning longarm quilter Karen Marchetti. She demonstrates what she calls a “build a stitch” process. Basically, you start out quilting a meander, then start adding a circle or loop every now and then, and you have a new stitch. Then add another circle within that circle, and you have a new quilting pattern. Keep adding other elements: a leaf, a flame, a flower, etc. Use each “stitch” individually or mix them all together, and you end up with a whole set of fill-in patterns.


When it comes to improving machine quilting skills, you have probably heard the advice to practice, practice, practice. Doodle on paper, or machine quilt on a practice piece to develop muscle memory. I agree. However, instead of having a small practice sandwich on hand, I rather work with a concrete project. That way, when I’m finished, I actually have something usable, and not just a sample that lies around collecting dust.

So I dug around my stash of plaid scraps and quickly put together six 15½” nine-patch blocks.


I then practiced one “stitch” on each block. On the last block I mixed them all together. How fun, and how easy!


I cut each block into a 15-inch circle and bound them all. And at the end of an afternoon of practicing some machine quilting, I ended up with six lovely place mats.


And now… time for tea! Or, in my case, for coffee. 🙂


Hmmm… should I add these to my gift closet, or keep them for myself? 🙂

This entry was posted in Machine Quilting, Small quilted projects. |Comments closed

One Comment

  1. Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic idea. Your placemats look great. Thanks for sharing your practice method which turns into something useful!!