I have been quilting the last couple of days and thought some of you might like an insight into my thought processes.............first of all, after 14yrs at this game, I still prefer the patchwork to the quilting - shocker.
I don't think this is unusual, just look at the rise in long arm quilting services and think of the UFOs in your cupboards.
I love to finish a quilt top, it feels good. Usually I'll throw it over a sofa for a week or so before forcing myself into the quilting. My current project is a class sample and my classes start next week, so I have a deadline, that's good.
Last week I did my most unfavourite bit - layering up and pinning, hate all that crawling about the floor. I use masking tape to secure the backing to the floor, all nice & taut. Then the same for the wadding and then smooth down the top. I pin from the centre out, can't over pin, I have a lot of pins. I don't baste any more, I did for many years and I use Hobbs 80/20, it's my absolute favourite wadding
I need to get myself in the right frame of mind to quilt, I earmarked yesterday to start. I have to clear my workspace, nothing worse than knocking a box of pins onto the floor when you are heaving your quilt about.
I clean out the hook race on my machine, yesterday I removed a very satisfying ball of fluff. I changed my needle - I always use Schmetz denim, size 12 for piecing and quilting. They have a long shaft that pierces fabric and wadding well. I make sure I have a cushion on my chair to keep me a little higher than the machine - this helps relieve strain on your shoulders.
I chose my thread, a nice deep, creamy Aurifil and filled a couple of bobbins. Radio on, no more prevarication, I'd better start quilting.Oh, and I put these on - my Machingers. Word of warning - should the doorbell ring whilst you are wearing these gloves, remove them before answering, just saying...............
If my quilt is made up of blocks I will tell myself I only need to do 3 or 4 blocks in a session, and will work out how long it should take to complete the quilting. Then I often get carried away and exceed my own expectations, more feel good stuff.
This quilt however, is a medallion style and then there is my deadline, so asap was my goal.
I never mark out quilt patterns in advance, I often (tongue in cheek), tell my students to let their quilts speak to them. For me, this translates into, making it up as I go along, but yes, I am often influenced by a block design or the fabric pattern.
The centre of this quilt is a 20" NY Beauty and I didn't want to spoil it's shape. Oh, and a word about my actual stitch. I normally choose 3.5 or even 4 stitch length and I have a favourite stitch that I select on my Husquvarna Lily , not always, but very often I opt for an S shaped stitch, it is meant to be a quilting stitch. The brilliant thing about my machine is that for this and other decorative options, I am able to opt for a longer stitch length. In many other makes of machine such stitches have pre-set default lengths. So for this quilt I set my S to 4 length and just 2 for width, which will produce a shallow curve. I love using this because it is very forgiving and looks good too.
See the gentle curves...........
Even if this hadn't been a medallion style quilt, I always, always start quilting in the centre of a quilt, helps to avoid puckering.
Once I completed the centre, I took a look at the narrow green border.The print on it was very regularly spaced so I did this - a bit like not stepping on the cracks on the pavements.
I was now down to my last two outer borders, one 6" and the other, 9", both all over florals. Hmm, what to do?
A wee spot of lunch helped me to focus and I thought I might quilt both borders, as one, in a similar pattern to that in the central section. I would need to measure and mark. This is my favourite marking tool - soap ends. Use soap till it gets thin, dry and store.
It's very effective on darker fabrics, doesn't harm your quilt, and as a bonus, it smells good. Remove the marks later by holding a steam iron above and giving it a shot of steam.
I divided the quilting area into 3" sections and marked the jaggy lines I wanted to follow - again, using the gently curving stitch, the marked lines are a guide and not the end of the world if you wobble a bit. I completed one side before calling it a day.........but so far, so good.
I managed to avoid I had a few things to do before I could return to my quilt. Because I only use pins to baste, I can re-adjust as I move to the outer edges, smoothing as I go.The measuring and marking was a bit of a chore but I soldiered on - I had four 6" corner blocks to deal with and I popped in a"Sheila's Star" in each of them, I tend to slip this into every quilt.
And then it was just the outer corners to do - I just copied what I had done to the NY Beauty in the middle....I was on a roll and nothing was going to stop me. My OH obviously could tell that dinner was not on my mind so came up trumps and went to the chippie - result!!
and the back view,
What a good feeling to have this done.I am really pleased with how it looks, I think the quilting suits the quilt design and I love when a quilt top becomes a quilt, it's like a whole different thing altogether. I should add that this is the first quilt I have made without pre-washing the fabric, reckless devil that I am. Just the binding to prep and sew on and I'll come back and show you the finish. I apologise for such a lengthy post but thought it might be helpful to some of you out there.