Mystical Wind Drifter Quilt


I finished a new quilt! I had bought the fabric and pattern to make for my cousin’s wedding, but sadly the wedding has been called off. Since I already had the fabric, and it was so lovely, I decided to go ahead with making it anyway.

The pattern is the Wind Drifter by Robin Pickens, which calls for a 17 fat eighths. The fabric is a fat eighth bundle from the Mystical Land line by Maureen Cracknell. It came with 20 fabrics, and so I left out a few that were too close to the background color to give much contrast.


The background is Thatched from Moda. I cannot remember the maker of the binding of backing fabric.
They were just what I could find that matched well at my local quilt shop.

The whole piece is 65" square, so a nice size for snuggling. Since my cousin’s wedding is now off, I’m going to send it to my parents for their anniversary next week.

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This quilt is beautiful. I love the colours.

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You have a definite eye for color! I love the pink and gold next to each other.

I’m so impressed by how quickly you made this quilt and by your stunning work all around (just look at those points)! This will make a lovely anniversary gift.

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That is gorgeous! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: I wish I was skilled/patient enough as a quilter to make something like that!

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It’s soooo pretty! I’m so glad you went ahead with making it so now this beauty is in the world.

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This is just GORGEOUS my friend. An absolute stunner. :star_struck:

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It’s really fabulous! That’s a great collection of fabrics, too.

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Everything from color selection to making all those flying geese is impressive!

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Ooohh this is fabulous!!! Everything, the colour choices, pattern and and the FM quilting. Did you do that on a regular sewing machine?

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Yep, the free motion is done on my regular machine. Drop the feed dog teeth, shorten the stitch length to .5 (shortest length that’s not zero), tighten up the tension, set the needle default position to Down, and swap to an open presser foot. I looked for the free motion foot for my machine, but it was $50, which is crazy. So after watching a few tutorials online, I realized that the embroidery foot would work just fine. (My machine is one of the earliest generation home embroidery machines, circa 1999/2000, which became obsolete soon after I got it, so the embroidery unit didn’t get a ton of use, but I’ve quilted so many things with it, I feel like it came out even.)

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I’ve tried it, but I think I’m too impatient and go too fast. So do you section off the quilt and do it in bits?

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Not really. I generally roll the left side up like a swiss roll, so I have less bulk to the left of my machine while I work. Then I start at the lower right section of the quilt, and just sort of doodle my way around. If there are blocks or sections to use as guides (let’s imagine a quilt pattern 4 blocks wide by 6 blocks tall), I might aim to keep myself working the width of the two blocks, until I’ve about filled them, then wander up to do the 2 blocks above that, and keep going bit by bit. But I like to wander into the adjoining blocks, and sometimes leave spaces near the sides of the same block, so that when I come back down along the other side I can wander in and out of those gaps, giving an overall squiggle pattern, rather than a block-by-block fill. If that makes sense.

I might draw you a diagram of what I mean…

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I’ve seen some folks work block by block, but I don’t think it works well for me, or what feels natural to me while I ‘squiggle quilt’. In each of the examples in the first pic below, I started in the lower right, and wandered up, then over and back down, block by block. I think this leaves gaps in the stitching. Gaps bother me. LOL.

This pic is what I tend to actually do. I start in the lower right, working 2 blocks wide, wandering all around both blocks, dipping into the ones beside the two I’m focusing on, then wander up to the next block, making sure to keep dipping into adjoining areas, and leaving some gaps that I’ll fill in on my way back down. So I go up from the bottom, towards the top, then move over about 2 blocks, and start meandering my way back down, filling in any empty spaces I left on my way up. When I get to the bottom again, I move over and start heading back up.

I really only will do this free motion quilting if it’s a lap size quilt. I won’t bother with something like a queen or king. It’s just too much fabric. If possible, I like if I can imagine the quilt as quadrants if it’s square, or sixths if it’s rectangular, and work up one half, then down the other half.

Also, my life was changed forever when I bought my first pair of grippy quilting gloves. I had to hunt for extra small ones for my tiny hands, because I didn’t want them to be loose. But the grippy fingertips are amazing, and they take SO MUCH strain off my hands. I used to have to really grasp the quilt sandwich and fist my fingers to drag the quilt around. After a few hours, my hands would be aching. But with the quilting gloves, that strain is basically gone. I can go for hours, and I might be tired of sitting at the machine, but my hands don’t hurt at all.

And yes, it does take hours and hours to squiggle quilt. I always feel like I’m nearly done once I have the sandwich pinned together, and like I’ll be able to quilt the whole thing in 2 hours. But it always, always takes longer than I thought it would. Usually all of one afternoon, and part of the next. But I really, really love the results, and every time I’ve tried something ‘faster’, I’m annoyed with how it looks.

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Thank you for sharing! You provided so many helpful details and your diagram makes it so much easier to visualize!

Would it be okay with you if I add a link to your post to our helpful hints section of the quilting group?

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Sure! Go for it my friend.

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This is absolutely stunning! The pattern and the material and the quilting are all marvelous. I’m in awe of your abilities. :slight_smile:

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I just keep coming back to pics of this quilt to admire it. Fabulous on all levels.

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This makes perfect sense and it’s a really good idea to over lap because then you don’t get divisions with your stippling. One last question, you mentioned that you pin your quilts? I always worry with FMQ that is going to pucker on the back. You use safety pins? What’s the density of pins. ie roughly how many pins per 12" sq block?

I have some of those gloves, I’ll have to start practicing.

And I’m thinking that practicing the stippling with pen and paper would be a good thing to get it into muscle memory

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When I was in graduate school, and I had to render costumes every week, all of my classmates and I would get jealous over some specific technique that one of the other students could do without thought, that was so effortless for them, but gave such a specific impression. The technique I had that everyone was jealous of, was how I doodled lace. I wouldn’t bother to try to draw a specific lace pattern, even if I had a swatch of real lace. I would just do this sort of doodle bit, usually with a metallic pen, and it would easily communicate ‘gold lace’, without taking tons of time to painstakingly draw it. I feel like my specific scribble quilting is the same as my gold lace rendering. It’s what I can do without thought, but I have a really hard time doing OTHER shapes. Like I couldn’t do angular triangles all over. I would just end up with a hot mess. So when you practice, try different scribble shapes, till you find the one that you can just DO without thinking about it. Whatever feels natural.

As for your question, yes I do pin my quilts. I’m just unwilling to use spray basting. I don’t trust spraying adhesive into the air in my house. Especially since the only place in the house I can lay out my quilt sandwich is on my bedroom floor, which has wall to wall carpet. I just KNOW I’d end up with glue all over the floor forever. The floor my dog sleeps on throughout the day.

I iron my backing, and lay it out as smooth and flat as possible. (When I’ve done this on a hardwood floor, I’ve actually taped it to the floor with painter’s tape, so I knew it wouldn’t get dragged out of place.) Then I check my batting and if it’s wrinkled, I iron that too. I lay that out on top, working from corner, sort of diagonally across, slowly smoothing the batting over the backing, tugging any wrinkles that happen, till I have those two layers as flat and smooth as possible. Then I iron the quilt front, and do the same thing. Start at one corner, and smooth that onto the other two layers. I don’t lay the whole front down on the other layers. I just put down the corner, and do a bit at time, continuing to smooth and tug out any wrinkles from under layers.

When I’m happy with everything laying flat, I start pinning with large #3 safety pins (2 inches long). I start at one corner again, and kinda pin out a quadrant, or as far as I can reach to pin without having to lean my weight on the quilt.

I don’t have an exact space apart, but I’d say no less than 6", and not more than 8". Depending on the design, I’ll often place them based on the blocks. Small blocks might get 1 pin in the center of each. Or a quilt with sashing might get one at the center of each sash intersection. Large blocks might get 2-4. If I were doing something as small as a 12" square, like you asked, I’d probably do one in each corner, one in center, and one along each side seam (9 pins). Which works out to every 6", but that would also be because I’d have so much raw edge in such a small space. I like to make sure my edges are well pinned, because that’s the spot that’s most likely to get ‘fluttered’ or ruffled as you work, resulting in a pucker on top. If I were doing a slightly larger 18" or 24" space, I’d probably do the pins more like 8" apart, again maybe pinning more on my edges and worrying less about pinning that densely in the center.

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Absolutely stunning work my friend!

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