I moved to the best neighborhood for me! On my block and within a couple of other blocks there are at least half a dozen quilters. My neighbor across the street is a master quilter and she's pushing me out of my meander
comfort zone rut. She loaned me a little booklet about taking meandering to the next level by adding elements to it.
I always thought I couldn't free motion quilt except for meandering because I can't do FMQ spirals or feathers. It never occurred to me to build on a meander to expand my FMQ repertoire. My neighbor is very kind, but as a former teacher she also has expectations that I'll practice and improve. She suggested drawing the motifs to get the muscle memory. I found that not helpful so I made a muslin and batting sandwich and just started stitching.
First exercise: add a loop to the meander.
Second exercise: add double loops or figure 8s to the meander.
Third exercise: add hearts to the meander.
Whoo-hoo! I can do this!!! Now granted, it's a table-runner sized practice piece, not the bulk and weight of a quilt to maneuver, and I have the benefit of a stitch regulator on my Bernina. But I'm amazed that I could jump right in and do this, and I know I'll definitely build on this new skill by practicing on donation quilts.
Speaking of, did I mention my great neighbors? I was making a donation quilt for Hands2Help when I learned of a need in my neighborhood for a comfort quilt for someone dealing with cancer. Instead of mailing my Coral Strippy HST quilt to Happy Chemo, I'll give it locally. And I've already been practicing my new quilting skill on it. Look: hearts!
So many more possibilities... I'll continue to work through the exercises and practice the motifs, and enjoy both the process and the results.
Link up: Quilt Fabrication