Flying Fish, new sewing machine

Here’s a very small mini-quilt I made to inaugurate my new, larger, smooth-like-buttah sewing machine.

It’s only 9 x 12″. Unlike the digital vector art I’m used to doing, the smaller the quilt, the less time it takes. It only took one day from start to finish.

Here’s the same thing about 9 hours earlier:

Granted, it was a long day. But still, one day.

Here’s the back

I still dislike binding, and the binding on this one is rather irregular. But it’s practice, which supposedly will make me better at it.

“Flying Fish” was sort of a test run before my next big piece, which is going to depict “Water” to hang next to “Earth.” (It’s also inspired by Leah Day’s upcoming “Transformations” free motion quilt contest, but I don’t think it qualifies – it’s slightly over the size limit, and I can’t identify all the patterns I used – and I’m not sure I could part with it forever for $50, minus a $10 registration fee. Ach, quilting is so expensive to do and its products are so undervalued! But I love it. Who am I to argue with my Muse?)

Anyway I spent last week doing other work – no sewing – and it’s hard for me to switch gears between projects. I’d lost my momentum, and I’m still very new to quilting, and I didn’t want to ruin a bunch of fabric while I felt out of practice. Also my new bigger sewing machine arrived last week, but I hadn’t tested it yet. I was in fact afraid to test it because it arrived without a protective plastic bag, just crammed in its foam packing shell, and because it had  a rough trip it was covered with little broken foam bits which clung to every part with static electricity.

It’s not a sealed machine, so little foam bits got on the inside too – how deep in, I could not know. I thought I might have to return it, actually (why was it not wrapped in a plastic bag before shipping? Every accessory, including the instruction manual and the warranty, was sealed in its own stupid plastic bag, but the machine itself was naked. Sheesh.)  I vacuumed it as best I could, then procrastinated firing it up until I’d finished 10 new Mimi & Eunice comics and a more-work-than-I-expected illustration/design gig for the Brooklyn Museum (more on that later.)

In the end, my fears were unfounded. The thing runs like a dream.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

12 thoughts on “Flying Fish, new sewing machine”

  1. Hi Nina, hello from Carcabuey (Spain), you and your art work are very inspiring for me. I like to copy your quilts !! Thanks a lot for share your work with us. Gracias!!

  2. How beautifully all the shapes and swirls work together! I look forward to seeing where you go with this new passion, and also reading more about your new project with the Bklyn Museum.

  3. Awesome Nina! Your quilting ability is just out of this world! I love the level of texture that it adds to the fabric.

    Binding will definitely come in time, and binding something small like this is always a challenge. Try using a walking or even feed foot when you first sew on the binding, then hand stitch the opposite side down. It’s more time consuming, but usually results in a nicer finish.



  4. Hi, Nina!

    What a wonderful work, I have never seen so beautiful quilts!

    I would like to wish you a lot of happiness, friendship and genial ideas in 2011.

    I also hope that you will have an opportunity to come to see again our Lake : if you come, we can welcome you in the port’s apartement, near the lakeshore, which will be free this summer. And may be, organize an event here for your Sita.

    Avec l’amical souvenir des Duffour

  5. I bought that EXACT machine last Thursday! I’ve only used it for small projects (quilting the border and sewing on the binding of a over-sized queen quilt, a matching pillow, a pair of baby pants and some hemming). So far I quite enjoy the machine, and can’t wait to try it out on some larger projects!

  6. Hi, Nina,
    I sincerely hope you won the contest! This is a beautiful piece of art. You are very talented, and I hope to see more of your quilting.

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