Starting to Quilt Orizuru Paper Cranes

Quilting the Orizuru wall hanging turned into more of a task than my normal quilting.  For this one, I wanted to do a really good custom quilting job on it instead of the usual pantograph.  I need more practice with freehand quilting anyway, and a small project is a good place to start.  Since I had the single block, doing some practice made sense.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

Stitching in the ditch around the crane was the first step.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

I like the look of stippling, but I haven’t done much of it.  I tend to get into an area and then cross over a stitching line, losing track of where I am.  Sometimes I miss an area, so practice is needed.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

I am doing this on my workhorse vintage Kenmore machine because the cabinet gives me a large flat surface to move the piece.  I know I can get a table extension for the other machines, but just didn’t want to buy something else.  Besides, the Kenmore needs to be run from time to time to keep it in working order.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

I put a darning / hopping foot on it, dropped the feed dogs and started in.  The stitching is supposed to be relatively close, with meandering lines and curvy paths, with the stitching not crossing over itself.  This is harder than it sounds.  Although I started off well, it is easy to get backed into a corner and have to figure a way out, or tie off and start again.  Plus, some of my stitching seemed a bit repetitious instead of random meandering.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

Thankfully, it didn’t take long to finish one little block.  I could take a look and see where I did OK, and where I got off.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

On the back side, the crane needed more quilting.  Leaving it totally free was too much.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

I didn’t want the quilting to distract from the pretty Asian fabric, so I did a simple stitch in the ditch.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

There, all done.  I like this look so this is the plan for the wall hanging.  So, that will be next.

Practice Stippling at From My Carolina Home

I thought I would dive right into the wall hanging, but no, I just couldn’t.  I stared at it for a bit, then baked some banana bread for DH.  Next day I went to the basement and admired it while I organized my stamping worktable.  I sat down to begin, then decided to do some laundry.  I just couldn’t get started!  Finally, I figured out that my fear of messing it up was preventing me from even beginning.  I’ll show you what I did to overcome that next time.  Well, that is after I go for a hike, have lunch with friends, and spend a couple of hours at a charity sewing event at my local quilt shop.

Does fear ever keep you from starting a project?

25 thoughts on “Starting to Quilt Orizuru Paper Cranes

  1. I always asked students in my hand quilting classes…..”How bad do you want to do this?” Then launched into what everyone knows but avoids….PRACTICE is the key. And it’s why I too have a fear of free motion quilting. Despite knowing better…..I really do realize it doesn’t just happen…one needs to spend hours and hours practicing to achieve the high quality results that I desire. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. Oh yes! It is why I have hanging quilt tops all over my sewing room. I have determined my frame scares me. I do ok quilt in on the domestic with the walking foot in place. That hopper foot and I are not friends!

  3. “Does fear ever keep you from starting a project?”

    More often than I’d like to admit. But, I have a pile of not loved fabric bits and pieces that I put next to my machine along with a bowl of old thread… some of that was my mother’s from 40 years back. Now I can practice without ruining the good stuff. I have lots of potholders in my kitchen. 😉

  4. Mildred Plaskett

    Oh yes. I’ve done stitch in the ditch on small projects, nothing larger than placemats. I have a couple Craftsy courses on quilting to watch but have not done that yet. I don’t know what is stopping me, need to practice. Thank you for sharing, glad I am not alone.

  5. Linda B

    Fear and indecision are both problems for me. I think it is fear when I am out of my depth and working on something “good”. I took a class to make a little girls dress, with good fabric and intended for a special niece. Was terrified the whole way through and could do very little on my own. But my quilting projects are more for me, and I am treating them like exercises, so no fear. But indecision, especially when I get to the quilting part is frustrating. So I have two blocks waiting for quilting and I look at them several times a day, but still no inspiration. I love learning, and the classes on Creativebug and Craftsy (now Blueprint) have been a real godsend for me…you can rewind and watch again and again. And doodling is such good practice for the FMQ. But which ones to use on the exact piece in front of me…that is the dilemma!

  6. The basic stipple was one of the last motifs that I felt comfortable quilting. I, too, feel like it is really easy to become repetitive and I avoided using it for a long time. I eventually started practicing drawing on paper to get more comfortable and that helped me a lot. I’m glad you found something to help get over your fear and get started. I hope it’s going well!

  7. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel I can comfortably free motion a small quilt or piece, but when it comes to a larger project, I do the same as you. I pull it out, look at it, fold it up, put it away, do something else, repeat. I’m trying to overcome that, and I’ve found that if I tell myself the quilt is just for me so if I make a mistake it’s okay, that helps. I’m also learning I’ll need to take breaks while I work, since I get really tense in my shoulders from free motion. It’s all a learning curve. I think you’re going to do just fine with your larger piece. Just take it slow and it will work out well!

  8. Patricia Evans

    Yes, fear that you will mess up the piece you spent hours making, can be a real hangup. But as others have said, practice is the key. Ay a certain point, stippling and meandering just became natural. I don’t even think about it. And watching videos like Angela Walters with her sense of humor and easy going style are helpful. In the end most people won’t notice a bobble here or a jerky line there and you get a real sense of accomplishment when you finish your own quilts. My biggest problem now is deciding what to quilt where.

  9. I always struggle to start the quilting portion,N but once I get going I’m OK. My secret to meandering is to think puzzle pieces with a few E’s thrown in to change the direction. That usually keeps me out of too much trouble. 😉

  10. BJ

    The added stitch in the ditch on the crane really makes a difference! It will be easier to do the 4-block once you get started. I have a pile of fear that I move every few months. 90% of what I make is given as gifts, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of using recipients as guinea pigs. Next year, however, I’m designating the great-nieces as exactly that. I guessed that they would have the fewest issues with imperfection, and they agreed. They’re just always tickled to get something from their Auntie. Time to tackle that pile! Looking forward to seeing your bigger piece quilted.

  11. Sherry in NC

    I have that same fear. I really love the piecing part but don’t want to mess up a pretty top with bad quilting. Need to get it through my brain that done is better than perfect.

  12. Barbara Esposito, The Quilted B

    The cranes are lovely. I think the stitch in the ditch looks great and will make the focus of the wall hanging be the cranes. Truth be told, I often let fear keep me from starting a project or trying a new technique! Aren’t we silly? I mean, I do have a seam ripper! Can’t wait to see how you overcame the fear!

  13. Yes! It can be so hard to start. My last few FMQ I’ve had to rip out my beginning stitches, which hasn’t been that bad. So I take the plunge with that in mind: if it doesn’t feel right, I can stop, rip, and start over. No biggie. Sometimes I’ll force myself to sit and start only when I have a few minutes – just enough to get over the hump, with no commitment. Then the next time is so much easier, because I started it!

    I really like your cranes.

  14. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; I am afraid of free motion quilting each and every time I try it. Plus, I never seem to get any better at it no matter how much I practice. After discussing this with a few quilters I know, we all agree it has to do with my memory issues. I have a terrible time at trying any new patterns. So, I do a lot of stippling, pebbling and am trying to learn just wavy lines. It looks like you are doing a nice job, yet, you are the one who has to feel confident and happy with your stitches. So, I am cheering you on in every way that I can. Thank you for sharing this part of your quilting adventure with us! I hope that you have a magnificent day!

  15. Melanie

    Looks lovely, and the crane is highlighted so nicely! I must conquer fear and do more FMQ myself and lots of practice. Please challenge us who are fearful! Would love to see more.

  16. kathyinozarks

    when I was first quilting I did try quilting myself on my sewing machine-same thing this needs tons of practice to get the stippling to look more even and not get backed into a spot or cross over-I did a few quilts and really did not enjoy it-probably why I didn’t quilt as much as I wanted to-the price is pretty steep to pay for it. Yours turned out nice!

  17. debdevo

    Are you kidding me? Fear stops me ALL THE TIME!!! I did one of my quilts recently with King Tut. Then loaded up a customer quilt with my regular Connecting Threads Egyptian Cotton, which is much thicker than the KT thread. That quilt sat on my frame for FIVE DAYS…..I really couldn’t face having to rip out tension issues….so just did nothing. Finally I said to myself ‘you have 4 MORE customer quilts lined up…are you gonna do it or not’!! Whenever I think something is not going to turn out well, I DEFINITELY procrastinate….one of my less good qualities to be sure! The same thing happens with me with baking sometimes and it makes me crazy!!!

  18. I look forward to seeing how you overcame it, but l will share how I did. I ditched the rules. Those rules that say you aren’t allowed to cross the lines, and all the other rules. You are using a neutral thread on a neutral background. It isn’t going to show very much, so the only thing that matters is texture. I basically looked at my doodles and doodled on the quilt, using what was natural to me. It was incredibly fun and freeing.

  19. shoshana

    yes, almost every quilt i make, i put off quilting from fear of ruining it, however, the last one took me about one and a half years to start, and now that it’s finished, i love it more than many others i’ve done!!! have fun!

  20. Sue H

    I would imagine that we have all at one time or another had that fear of the first step. My advice: Just jump right in! The water is only cold at the first impact and then you warm up and swim along! Grab your water wings and let’s go! 😊😎

  21. dezertsuz

    Your block looks good, but I’m curious why you didn’t do the meandering on the longarm. I look forward to seeing how you got down to business. There are sometimes things I put off because I don’t feel as competent as I’d like.

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