Note to moderators: I think this qualifies as a tutorial so I'm posting this here, but if not, please move this post appropriately.
I figured out a technique for stippling/meandering that is working better for me, and I thought others who are struggling with this may be interested.
I've been FMQing for awhile now and feel pretty good at feathers and other designs, but stippling has baffled me from the start! Apparently I am so "Left-Brained" that I just couldn't meander... I would start out OK and then be "stuck" in no time, then I'd panic a bit, and it was over! So... I decided I was going to learn stippling no matter how much practice it took. For the past few weeks I've been following Leah Day's Wednesday quilting blog posts where she breaks down stippling into smaller components to get started.
The second week a light bulb came on for me! Leah recommends stippling in "rows", but I thought that looked a little too row-like for my taste. So I was sitting with my doodle pad and an idea came to me. "What if I draw a VERY large, VERY simple stipple line first (like in Leah Day's very first stippling lesson), then follow that to stitch my stippling along instead of stitching in a row!"
Step 1. First I mark a very large snake-like, u-shaped line on the surface of the quilt with a water soluble marker. (Refer to the blue line in the following drawing.)
Step 2. Then I stitch my meandering back and forth across that line to fill the spaces as evenly as I can while doing an irregular meander. (The red line in the drawing.) This way I can ensure that I will be able to work my way around the whole quilt top without getting stuck in a dead end anywhere and I have a path to follow that doesn't look like I just followed a straight line.
I got this idea from Leah Day when she was showing how she does stippling following rows across her quilt. That looked a little too "row-like" to me, so I decided to try following a snake-like line instead and I'm much happier with the results! This was the first quilt I did stippling on and I'm thinking that after I've had some more practice, I may not have to actually draw the first line to follow if I learn to visualize it better. For now, following a curvy line takes away the stress of having to figure out which way to go next.
I'm pretty happy with how the stippling turned out on this one and will be continuing to work on it until it gets easier. Scrappy with a Stipple (Inspired by "ranger")!
Hope you find this info helpful.