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Oh! Free motion quilting! Oh! PFAFF performance icon!

by Sarah Vanderburgh

A perfect patriotic practice panel project! It’s time to get out one or two of those panels you can’t resist buying and put them to use. In yesterday’s post, I started practicing free-motion quilting using two different presser feet and the PFAFF performance icon. Feeling confident, I decided to try some of my new found skills on a panel and actually enjoyed the process!

Free-motion quilted panel cushion cover

If you’ve been following along this week, you know I’ve already cleaned the machine and been practicing my free-motion quilting. The PFAFF performance icon is set up to free-motion quilt any time you want with the Free-motion icon right on the Multi-Touch Screen. The large space to the right of the needle gives you lots of room to work on bigger projects and to move them around while you quilt them. I like the LED lights which really help me see what I’m doing on right at the needle and then over more of the surface as I free-motion quilt. I have found the more I use the performance icon the more confidence I have in my creative abilities. Pretty neat, eh!

PFAFF performance icon

To start on the panel I had to layer it with batting and a backing. Then I pinned the layers together. I looked at the panel and decided I should outline the map first; I had practiced quilting lines with the Embroidery/Sensormatic Free-Motion foot so I decided to use it. This foot comes with the machine and simply clicks into place on the presser foot ankle.

When I press the Free-Motion options menu I select the Sensormatic Free-Motion Foot option (it even tells me in brackets to use it with foot 6A).

Free-motion options

I used the gray thread I had practiced with and am not entirely sure I like that you can see it on the panel. I know when I do the background I will switch to black thread.

The line was not always straight but I kept going, knowing I could stop with my needle in the fabric and turn the panel to switch directions. After I went all the way around, I decided I could keep going with quilting on the line between the provinces and territories.

Free-motion quilting around the map

That probably could have been enough quilting because it was pretty evenly balanced across the panel. I was starting to have fun though and inside the map the gray thread wasn’t quite as conspicuous – maybe I could play a little!

I decided to treat each section on its own and made decisions as I went. I’m not a person who doodles and I was really concerned this would limit my ideas when it came to free-motion quilting. Instead I found I was inspired by what was on the panel in front of me – I started to quilt swirls and geometric zigzags. Each time I filled in one section I got a little more excited to try the next one.

Free-motion quilting inside the map

The reverse side of the quilted panel shows how I loosely quilted some of the province’s names. Here you can also see better how I used different types of designs to fill in each space including some swirls and geometrics.

Reverse side of map panel showing free-motion quilting

I tried using UNIQUE quilting grip gloves to see if they made a difference and they did! I found the fabric glided over the bed of the machine and was easier to manipulate. I was trying to figure out how I would make shapes, such as a heart on my project, and have the lines look smooth.

Practice stitches using UNIQUE quilting grip gloves

I did get stumped – what would I quilt in all that background?

I didn’t want to do swirls or bubbles everywhere because I didn’t think that would really add to the design. Plus I figured too much quilting would not really balance with how much I did inside the map and uneven quilting across a surface can make it not lie flat or even pucker and bump up.

I started thinking about how children work at filling in a picture they are drawing and I looked at the map some more.

I figured on the right side of the panel I could make a rainbow and then use different fills inside each section. My rainbow only has a few sections, but I like how it fills in the side of the pillow. Then across the bottom, I did some waves – why not! There’s water around the country on the map. And then I had to do the sun in the top corner with rays which I filled in every other one with the same zigzag.

Free-motion quilted panel cushion cover

I was so happy with my free-motion quilting on the map panel I turned it into a cushion cover. If you look close you can see I even added a heart! I don’t expect all of my free-motion attempts to end this well, but I’m glad I started exploring this technique. The PFAFF performance icon definitely helped me grow my confidence and supported me in completing this project.

Closer view of completed free-motion quilted panel cushion cover

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: Practicing free-motion quilting with the PFAFF performance icon

Go to part 4: Appliqueing a heart on a cushion cover using a decorative stitch


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