Admittedly, I will still need lots of practice with machine quilting before I actually become relatively good at it. I don't aspire to greatness, at least not in the field of machine quilting, but I'd like my stitching to be at least passably good.
The lessons for this class were using freezer paper, stencils and tracing paper.
The large hearts and the rabbits were done by cutting the pattern out of freezer paper, ironing it onto the fabric and then quilting around it. Unfortunately, the white freezer paper did not show up very well on the muslin background, so I ended up tracing around the patterns. The poppies in the upper right and the pumpkin were both made with stencils. You can still see the residue of my fabric marker that I have yet to remove. The "feather" and the heart circle on the left were made using tracing paper. I filled in the inside of the feather with some rather jerky-looking stippling after removing the tracing paper. But I'm learning. Each of the methods has it's advantages and disadvantages. Our instructor cautioned us about the use of fabric markers. On certain dyes, especially those in the red family, they can interact with the dye and become permanent. Tracing paper can be a bit of a pain to remove, especially if you have to double back over your stitching and don't place the second layer of stitches exactly on top of the first layer and you end up with a tiny "bubble" in between. Getting that tiny piece of tracing paper out of the bubble can be challenging. The instructor is quilting dragons on a quilt for her daughter. She says that she can quilt a dragon in 45 minutes, but it takes her nearly 3 hours (I think that's what she said) to remove all of the tracing paper. Freezer paper is great for shapes that you just want to outline, and then maybe fill with free motion or echoing. As you can see above, I was just beginning to echo the one heart. With stencils as well as with tracing, you have to be able to figure out how the stitching will go for it to be continuous. I got a little mixed up when I was doing the poppies and ended up going where I shouldn't have. But it's all a learning process. Even the instructor showed us a stencil that she'd purchased that she has never been able to figure out how to do continuous line stitching on. I believe free-motion would probably be the best method if I were any good at it. I've never been a doodler, which is what it's compared to, so I don't know if I'll ever get proficient at free-motion. I'd be happier with a pattern marked out for me somehow. That's why, so far, I've stuck with pantographs when I'm longarming a quilt.