Free Motion Ladders

Posted by on 2 May 2021 | 0 Comments

Before heading away last week, I managed to get some more work done on my applique - the project I haven't mentioned what I'm making yet. Don't worry, all will be revealed in a week or two, it's quite different than what I usually make.

In the meantime, I've been doing more free-motion which is one of my all-time favorite techniques and I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips and ideas as I progress.

You know how fabric or quilts talk to you, right? Well here is a good example!

This fabric had a slight imperfection on it but I didn't have enough fabric to avoid that imperfection so I figured I needed something to help make it less obvious - this is exactly what I mean about a fabric talking to me. The fabric is giving me ideas of what I can or should do to solve a problem. My answer is that applique can cover the worst of it and stitching distracts from the rest. With this in mind, I figured using my free-motion ladder stitch would work wonderful. 

applique fabric imperfection

Imperfection on a fold - less obvious when the fold is pressed out but still there

Are you familiar with free-motion ladder stitch? I'm not sure if this is the correct name for it - it's just what I call it and it's a design I've been doing for many years now. In fact, I found a free-motion ladder stitch video that I'd made for a workshop years ago so thought I'd show you how it is done. The video shows me stitching a larger sample than I will use in my current work, but at least that makes it easier to see.

Free Motion Ladder Stitch sample

A very important process before working on my piece is to do some tests. I like to test various options such as thread and stitch choice - testing saves disasters! I use scraps of fabric from the piece I'm making for practicing so I know exactly how it looks as well as knowing the stitching is correct. For this project, I knew I wanted to use the ladder stitch, but I didn't know which thread to use. I have 2 variegated threads to try. The one on the right had blue tones in it, however the pinks and white didn't look as nice as the thread on the right. The thread on the right was a little dark as it graded into black instead of blue like the other one. Stitching it out first, definitely showed me which was the better of the two. Which one do you prefer?

applique testing

Testing the Threads

Here's how the imperfection looks now - much better.

applique stitch over

Still the but not as obvious 

Here is what I've done so far.

applique continued

I'll continue working on this piece as I have time and there will be another update in a few weeks!

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