Have you signed up for the 2012 Free Motion Challenge? Each month there is a tutorial to learn new tips for machine quilting and the invitation to try some new designs. The teacher for the March lesson is Ann Fahl and her tutorial has a lot of good information for machine quilting in general.
Ann recommended titanium needles and I thought I would give them a try on this month's block since I have heard so much about them. Supposedly these needles last "5 to 8 times longer" than regular needles, but I usually end up breaking my needles from quilting too fast! So, I will let you know how I do with the titanium ones.
I tend to be mostly a cotton thread user, but I also decided to try some thread with a little bit of sparkle as Ann recommended, and tried this Sulky thread.
First you practice doodling the design on paper. This is a very light photo of my sketchbook, but maybe you can see that I focused on two of the designs...the loops and stars, and the spiral flowers.
Here is my finished March block. I am using my hand painted fabrics (made using Setacolor paints) for this year long challenge and picked out a yellow fabric for this month. There were some skipped stitches at the top left corner, but then I slowed down and the stitches improved. It was really fun! I did the loops and stars at the top and then tried some spiral flowers on the bottom. When I saw how much I liked the designs, I wished I would have used more of a contrasting thread colour. I hope I remember this for next month!
I had to take a photo in the garden to put on my blog header since it's spring now, and the daffodils are already in full bloom here (way ahead of schedule this year!)
This month's practice reminded me how much I LOVE the spiral flowers! They are really fun to quilt and they look so cute. I have quilted them on a few quilts in the past - here in 2009 and here in 2008. To see my other 2 FMQC blocks - click here. To see other examples of this month's tutorial, hop over to SewCalGal's blog.