In the quilting desert that Switzerland sometimes feels like, I finally found a class in free motion quilting, not so far away. This meant taking a bus, a train and a taxi off to Nyon, and coming back again afterwards lugging my huge sewing machine across Geneva, but it was definitely worth it. Three hours of brummmmming along, and learning new tips. I was a bit alarmed to hear that, of the three (!) participants in this class, one was a former sewing teacher, the other an experienced hand quilter, but we all muddled along and did fine. The back pain I have today is definitely from carrying the machine, and not from the actual sewing!
Ruth Müller, the excellent instructor, calm and competent, took us through the basics and launched us on a grid of different patterns to try out. She encouraged me to use the little tiny ‘pied à repriser’ (darning foot, perhaps, in English?) that I had been ignoring in favour of the larger official ‘free motion quilting’ one, and she was right: it was simply great. Perhaps it was a combination of finally working out what thread works best for my machine (Gütterman 100% polyester all-purpose thread), and — contrary to all advice in quilting sites that tell you to reduce tension — actually putting really high tension (7 out of 9) on the top thread, and using nice cotton thin batting. Whatever it was, it worked just fine, and I had a marvellous 3 hours. I particularly enjoyed the ‘pebbles’ that I did last. A fun pattern that creates great texture. The best bit is that there are another three hours next week! Hurray. Homework is making a small quilt to practise some patterns on.
I used my new-found skills today in putting patches onto the children’s jeans… but not in any particularly funky pattern, alas!
On another point, Scruffy-the-guinea-pig had a bath today, to his intense discomfort and somewhat frozen panic, following the vet’s advice. The result, once he had dried out again, is one much fluffier guinea pig. I thought he was pretty chubby, but when wet is really quite thin.
Two excellent little assistants, and one rather alarmed little piggy. Hopefully this will help in clearing up his skin problems.
Off to do my homework! JJ