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Thread: Where should your eyes be looking when quilting?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019

    Where should your eyes be looking when quilting?

    Ok so this might be a really silly question. I have a sit down simply 16. I have not done much quilting but some.

    When I sat down to do a simple curvy wave pattern I realized , that as much, that many things need to be synchronized (speed, fabric movement etc.)I really did not know where to look. I drew 1/2" lines and and then did a curvy line up and down the straight line. (I am now thinking the curvy line should have been done between the 1/2 " lines!!!) I then realized my eyes were everywhere.

    I have not got an open toe foot , only a closed toe.

    Should you try to keep the pattern in view by looking at it within the closed toe foot or beyond it?

    Because I am doing the curves using the straight line when I go up, and then down, I am basically going backwards and it becomes difficult to see the line behind the needle.

    Could I please get some suggestions to help with were one should look?
    Thanks so much,
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-09-2019 at 09:36 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  2. #2
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    You should be looking ahead to where you want to go. Think of it like driving a car. You aren't fixated on the road directly in front of your car, you are looking ahead. Our brains are wired to go where we are looking. IOW, you aren't concentrating on going striaght ahead, you just do it automatically because that is where you are looking. Same when turning a corner, now you are no longer going straight ahead you are going into a turn and looking in the direction that you intend to go.
    I try to pick a point of reference of where I want the quilting line to hit and focus there. Even if I am 3 or 4" away from that point. As I move towards that point of reference just before I get there my eyes have moved on to the next point of reference. It is something I have to consciously remind myself to do as my gaze often wants to shift to where the hopping foot is, not where I want it to be next.
    Edited to add, I quilt on a stand up LA and 99% of the time I have the closed toe foot on mine because I use my rulers so much.

  3. #3
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    ​Yes, you want to be looking where you want to go. Following lines exactly is very hard. I like to mark with white chalk board chalk which I can easily erase. If the lines can be erased you don’t have to stay right on the lines and no one will know if you go off a bit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Thank you! This is very helpful! I appreciate your responses!

  5. #5
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Ridgefield WA
    Blog Entries
    Not at the needle! I watch my fabric just feeding under the foot.

    Oh, sorry, misread. I meant for piecing.
    Never regret growing older, its a privilege denied to many.
    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Stitching backwards is no fun! Try spinning your quilt so the path you need is going side to side (or diagonal) instead of front to back so you can see. You have that beautiful freedom with the sixteen, and a large surface, to spin your quilt and put it where it works best for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Springfield, IL
    Thank you so much for the question. It is one that as a beginner I did not even know to ask, but wondered how some people get such straight lines and even curves.

  8. #8
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Hernando FL
    Agree with what is being said about looking ahead and the analogy of driving a car. It was hard for me to get into this habit but once I did it made a big difference in the quality of my quilting. Keep at it and you'll eventually get comfortable with it.

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