i bet if you asked a bunch of LAers what they hated the most about LAing, they probably, without hesitation, would say "frogging" (also known as un-sewing. called frogging because you rip-it, rip-it, rip-it) (friendly borders/too small backers would probably be a close second...that's another blog post one day.)
i totally hate froggin. the reason being- if it takes -say- 20 seconds to quilt something, and for whatever reason, you have to frog it, it can take an hour to pick out all the stitches...no fun at all!
so this is what i do to avoid froggin' my quilting:
i use a mylar template sheet to draw my planned quilting design with a dry erase marker. since it is opaque, i can see the quilt fabric/design through it. that way if i draw it and don't like it all i have to do is erase it with a scrap piece of batting, taking mere seconds (another way to use those scraps). now- i don't use wet erase markers because no matter how careful i am, i get that ink everywhere. also- i found colored masking tape and taped the edges of my sheets. that way i don't accidentally mark on the quilt...(ask me how i learned THAT lesson) this works well also because it allows my customers to see exactly what i visualize in my head. keeps everyone on the same page...no surprises down the road.
for newbie LAers, this a great way to practice also. you can draw it over and over in the actual size you'll be quilting it. it'll build that muscle memory so quickly- you'll be surprised!
for those that panto- you could do the same thing, but trace your pantos with a sharpie, that way your customers can see exactly what the design/proportions will look like on their quilt.
hope this helps you one day down the road....i really hate froggin...did i say that already...:)
NOTE: make sure you get the mylar type of plastic. normal/regular template plastic won't work. it has a textured surface and your marker won't wipe off... i know some LAers that use pieces of plexi-glass for the same thing, but i like the template sheets because they aren't heavy and i can store multiples of them on my frame's table and they don't get in the way. ....if you can't find colored tape- you can use the regular type...i just found colors at the schoolbox here in town (another great 'wander around' store)...also only draw on one side of the plastic. the dust can/could transfer to lighter colors. i drew stars in the corners of each sheet with a pen. any others questions, email me...my address is in the side bar...