Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Jester Hats, Roots, and Vines for Animal Rescue

While on vacation two weeks ago, I made a great find at Mitchell Fabrics in Winnipeg Manitoba. What could make better backing for a sixties Groove Quilt than fabric that is actually from the sixties? I snatched up all the yardage they had left and immediately got to work creating a design.

I was accidentally overcharged for this fabric, but it was still totally worth it!

Having been away for a few weeks, I was looking forward to catching up on my sewing homework this weekend. I decided to put together a new kitty rescue blanket to practice all the free motion quilting designs that I'd missed. My blankets are inspired by the Snuggles Project and will be donated to a local animal rescue organization at the end of the year.

I divided the blanket into quadrants and used a different quilting design in each. The first one I tried is Wendy Sheppard's jester hat design, the Free Motion Quilting Challenge for August. This design is deceptively simple. Looking at Wendy's instructions and diagrams, I was pretty confident in my ability to replicate this design. By the end of the first row I realized there was actually a lot more complexity to drawing jester's hats than I had anticipated. I took a break and practised drawing the design on paper to get a better feel for it before I returned to my sewing machine. I'm not sure it helped all that much.

My jester hats have very little in common with the graceful curves of Wendy's work! I found it difficult to transition from one hat shape to the next, and to keep the spacing even. Adding an element in between each individual 'hat' shape seemed like the best way to even it out, so I moved on to the second exercise, which was to add a tail to each hat.

While I can't say that was a huge success either, I do like the way this design flows when done correctly. With more practice I hope to be able to control it and make it look graceful. I think this will replace feathers as my doodle of choice until I get there.

Next, I tackled Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project designs from the last few weeks. Cucumber vine also turned out to be rather difficult. I stayed with the basic curly shape for my first attempt.

I think that by the end (navy blue section) it was starting to come together and look a little bit more like an organic shape, and a little bit less like an arrangement of fishing hooks. Next time, I will make it more curly. I think cucumber vines will be a great border filler once I've perfected the transition from one curl to the next.

My favourite filler from this group was this tree roots design:

This one came out looking smooth and organic. I'm already looking forward to trying it again.

Here is a look at the finished blanket:


  1. Your quilting looks great. I just worked on the jester's hat today. I had to draw it out on 5 or 6 pages of paper before I could even begin to stitch it. But I love it now that it's done.

  2. fun find at Mitchell's. did you try shopping at Northwest fabrics as well?

  3. Great project - your tips will help me when I do the FMQing too!

  4. Your kitty rescue blankets are adorable. Your jester hats look great! All the paper doodling does pay off. Bravo very well done.