Backwards and Bobbin Work

26 Jan

Fellow Quilters,

I’ve been thinking about you!  Around this time last year, I posted about learning new skills in snowboarding, particularly riding switch (backwards), and how that correlated to machine-quilting skills (see my Splats post).  I endeavored to practice switch every weekend, and if I did, I would surely be competent by the end of winter.  Despite my intentions, I found a million excuses not to practice – the snow conditions weren’t perfect enough, I might injure myself and not be able to attend a scheduled upcoming event, too many obstacles (a.k.a. other skiers) on the hill, etc.   Needless to say, I was not competent at switch by the end of the season.

Well, I am once again in snowboarding lessons, and this past weekend, instructor Tim tried oh-so-patiently to give us some tips on riding switch (again, or is that still?).  After the lessons, I went back out on my own and practiced some more.  It is slowly coming along.  At one point yesterday, I was way out of my comfort zone, going fast enough to really hurt myself if I fell.  Fortunately I didn’t, and this gave me a boost of confidence. It will take weeks, but I will try harder this year, and hopefully achieve my goal. As my fellow students would attest, you can teach old dogs new tricks, and our group is living proof.  Howard, my most-senior classmate, is 70 years old.  He is still nursing an injury from a fall in the terrain park last year, but he is gung-ho about mastering switch.  Go Howard!!

Hubby and I recently spent 9 days on a 32ft sailboat in St. Martin/St. Barts with my BFF Jennifer and her friend Terry.  Hubby and I sailed in the British Virgin Islands a few years ago with Jennifer, and the sailing was delightful.  Since I am not really a sailor, I was assigned the position of cook. When Jennifer asked if we would join her for the St. Martin trip, we jumped at the chance.  Jennifer and Terry are seasoned sailors, and Hubby is also quite comfortable in windy conditions.  Me, not so much.  Well, let me tell you!  We faced some significant waves (20ft tip to trough) and wind, and they had to harness me to the boat to quell my nerves.  I was once again the cook, and Jennifer was determined to keep me from getting seasick so that she could have gourmet meals every day.  I think I was too scared to be seasick!  The good news is that I survived, and even became somewhat accustomed to the rolling sea.  Hubby and I went snorkelling one day and saw sea turtles, lion fish, a moray eel, lots of colorful fish and a nurse shark.  It was great!  Here are some pics of our trip:

Captain Jennifer at the helm

Captain Jennifer at the helm

View of St. Martin from our boat

View of St. Martin from our boat

Terry, Jennifer and I at the dining table

Terry, Jennifer and I at the dining table

Jennifer works on navigation while I prepare dinner in the galley.

Jennifer works on navigation while I prepare dinner in the galley.

Now that my sailing vacation is behind me, it’s time to get back into quilting.  My guild ( is having a show March 28 & 29, and I have a lengthy list of projects that I want to have ready.  On January’s To Do list is my project started last June in Lenore Crawford’s class at Quilt Canada. It is a small fused wall-hanging, and requires some painting to bring it to life.  I have not painted anything other than walls and ceilings, so this will be a challenge.  Time is running out, so I had better just take a deep breath and get ‘er done!  I am the challenge coordinator for our show, and the members are busy completing their entries to be handed in next month for voting by the membership.  I haven’t started mine yet!  It is my early February project.  And I have 2 sets of 3” nine-patch blocks from a block exchange a few years ago.  The quilts for these are designed, but at this point, it is unlikely that I will get them assembled, let alone quilted – one is queen-size and the other is king-size!  Unless we have a week-long snow storm, these 2 projects will remain UFO’s. Did I mention that I am teaching at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN March 17 – 21? I attended last year and it was a total blast – tons of vendors, and the quilts in the exhibit were amazing.   But I digress.  My modern quilt group pushes me to think outside the box, so I shall try to make my challenge modern, and use some modern quilting.

I was working on my new pattern Florentine Floor for last Fall’s Quilt Market trade show, and wanted to use some really heavy thread for some of the quilting, as the fabric had a busy background that competed with the quilting.  I stopped by the Superior Threads booth to see what they had, and decided that Razzle Dazzle would work.  I wanted to use it in the top of my machine, but Mother Superior a.k.a. Heather Purcell said I would need to put it in the bobbin, necessitating me quilting the quilt from the back.  I had not done that before, so, unconvinced, I tried it in the top.  I now know why Heather is Mother Superior, because she was right, of course!  After 2 minutes of practice, I had the tension balanced, and went about quilting the quilt from the back on my sewing machine.  Voila!  It looked amazing, and I am so pleased with the results.  I will add this to my technique toolbox, and won’t hesitate to try it again.

Florentine Floor twin-size quilt

Florentine Floor twin-size quilt

Detail of the bobbin work done with Razzle Dazzle

Detail of the bobbin work done with Razzle Dazzle

Have you tried bobbin quilting?  Do you have any advice to pass along to those who have not ventured down this path yet?  The fabric collection that I used for my pattern is Stonehenge Medici.  Post a comment about bobbin quilting sometime this week (by Friday night) for a chance to win a bundle of Medici fabrics.



9 Responses to “Backwards and Bobbin Work”

  1. Daphne Greig January 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Welcome to the dark side….errr…. back side, Patti! I’ve been bobbin quilting for many years. Next time, why not try one of your decorative stitches too – It’s great fun to have a thick Blanket Stitch or Feather stitch on the front of your quilt. I teach these techniques in my Quilting with Fat & Fuzzy Threads workshop.

  2. Laura January 26, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Bobbin Work is great fun…it’s like a surprise ending in a good book! That’s if you don’t peek…. Your quilt reminds me of the floors in Italy,very beautiful. The fabric is amazing!

  3. Cathy D January 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    I haven’t tried bobbin quilting, but so enjoyed reading of your experience, and of your sailing trip. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Vicki H January 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    I don’t think I have heard of bobbin quilting before. I need to check further into this.

  5. Karyn Ashley-Smith January 26, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    I took a workshop here on bobbin quilting. Definitely a different animal but OH so amazing when you conquer it!! For beginners, I would recommend purchasing a bobbin case just for that and marking it (to avoid changing tension back and forth). Lovely quilt!!!

  6. bjday68 January 27, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Enjoyed hearing of your snowboarding and sailing adventures. No I have never bobbin quilted. How did you the placement of your quilting so perfect in the border when quilting from the back? You quilt is beautiful.

  7. Shirley (Petunia Pinner) January 27, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    I have heard of bobbin quilting, but have yet to try it.
    Thank you for sharing you travels … that is really how I travel… through someone else 🙂

  8. Sandy K January 27, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    I haven’t heard of bobbin quilting. It is mind boggling to me that quilting on the back side matches up so perfectly on the front.

  9. darlene krystal January 29, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    I haven’t tried bobbin quilting yet…I am hand quilting my quilts lately…and having a lot of fun with it…..

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