So after much hemming and hawing, I've decided we're going to take a break from the Quilt Along for the month of May.
I'm needing to spend some time with my family, to see my little guy graduated from preschool (yikes, where did the last 5 years go?!), and finish up several UFOs, including that unfinished book of 365 designs that seriously needs to get DONE!
So even though a break is disappointing, you'll have something great to look forward to: the 365 book is coming by June!
Now with that announcement out of the way, let's learn how to quilt Zippling:
In this video I quilted over this purple and black cheater cloth panel printed by Spoonflower and basted with Pinmoor pin anchors.
Last week we worked on Sharp Stippling, a design with only a subtle rule change from regular Stippling: the addition of sharp points.
Now let's add one more rule change: sharp points and straight lines. No Curves Allowed!
So to practice the most basic version of this design, you would stitch a row of V shapes like this:
What I'm referring to is the FLOW of a design. If you've gotten truly comfortable with a design, you'll no longer have to focus and actively think about creating it. The design will literally flow from your hands onto the quilt.
A flow state is a psychological term for that state your body can get into, almost like meditation, when your mind is so intensely focused on a task that all emotions, judgement, and criticism is wiped from your mind. Even though you are so intensely focused, you're not actively THINKING, which means your mind is actually empty of thoughts, engaged only in the movement of your hands over the machine.
This is yet another reason why mastering a hobby is so good for your health - working on a project with single minded intensity, with no bothersome emotions to distract you, with no weighty depression to drag you down, your mind will reach a peaceful, resting state.
But designs like Zippling may be hard to find this state, at least at first. It really depends on how your mind works. If every morning you tend to doodle zigzaggy shapes as you drink your cup of coffee, chances are Zippling is going to feel very natural and easy for you to form on the quilt.
No matter how it feels initially, whether natural and easy or jarring and difficult, stick with this design, and spend some time stitching rows of Stippling, Sharp Stippling, then Zippling to get a feel for how your body and mind react to each design.
It's extremely interesting to compare stitching a curving line to stitching a zigzaggy line. It might not seem like a big difference, but you may find on an actual quilt you can definitely tell which your body prefers to form. A design you don't like will literally feel distracting as you quilt it. Your mind will not be able to flow because it will be worrying so much about forming the design correctly.
While it may seem silly to focus on this so much, I believe there's a very good reason why Stippling is so extremely popular - the simple curves and wiggly shapes feel more natural to more quilters.
Personally I know when I've stumbled on a design I don't like because I literally avoid, and sometimes even dread, working on that area of the quilt. This might not be very evident on a large scale, but working on a tiny scale, day after day, you'll know very quickly if you intrinsically like the design you're working on or not.
The wonderful thing about exploring and studying these free motion quilting designs for so long is I know how rapidly your skills can change. And with increased skill, your opinion and feel for a design will change too.
You might hate a design terribly this month, but next month you give it a try again and find that it's much easier, and in fact you can quilt it quite well all of a sudden.
Always remember that your work and practice with free motion quilting is cumulative. No matter which design you're stitching, you are stitching, and that is the point!
Instructions for Linking Up Your Blog:
1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog.
2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2012/01/quilt-along-2-quilting-in-rows.html
3. Click the blue link up button above and paste your link into the box.
Keep in mind that you're posting your progress from LAST week on THIS week's post. This way you have time to watch the lesson, play with the ideas, then post your progress to the next quilt along. I hope that makes sense!
As always, any questions you have, please post them in the comments below or on your blog and I'll answer 5 tomorrow on Question Thursday.
Time for me to shut up and quilt,