I really like this months challenge by Don Linn, Mr. Quilt. One thing I absolutely, positively hate is marking quilts. I tend to do my free motion without any marking - but there are times that you want the quilting to exactly fit a space and the only way to have that work out is to mark it.
I started out using a design from 1000 Great Quilting Designs by Luise Roberts. The only difficulty I had with this was finding a piece of tulle that my cat had not chewed a hole in - the only thing she likes better than chewing tulle is licking plastic bags! I finally found a piece big enough and drew the design using a sharpie maker. It would have worked better if I had centered the design in the hoop - notice the upper right corner runs into the frame - but no time (or tulle) for a redo.
I then traced the design using a blue washable marker onto a piece of my hand dyed fabric - it was an attempt at a shibori technique that didn't quite work. I didn't follow the lines exactly in a couple of places but the general line was there. I used the whole design twice and the center section to link the two together - a perfect fit for the size fabric I had.
Finally, I started quilting - I had a little problem with skipping stitches until I realized I had a cross-wound thread on the horizontal spool and it really wanted to be on the vertical spool. A few minor curse words, a little bit of un-sewing and I was able to get a pretty good piece. I need to work on both the consistency of the stitch lengths and following the line - but was fairly satisfied.
After the initial design was done - I went back and echo quilted the pattern. I had a little trouble keeping a consistence distance for the previous line stitch - I was using my free motion foot as a guide - more practice is required.
After that I went back in the centers and filled in using a variation of pebbles.
I will definitely use this technique again. I think it would be a good way to audition quilt motifs as you could lay the tulle drawing on various blocks to see how it would work. I have a quilt where the blocks were made by a group that has been waiting to be quilted. I haven't been able to figure out how to quilt the blocks to highlight the wide variety of blocks but keep it cohesive overall. It has moved up the get to list now that I have a way to test out the designs and mark the quilt with out pulling my hair out.