Happy New Year everyone! Most of the Quilters Newsletter staff, myself included, took some well-deserved time off over the Christmas holiday and it was really nice to get a little bit of rest and relaxation at the end of the year so we’re all set to start 2015 with bright eyes and bushy tails. Taking time off from Quilters Newsletter duties does not mean time off from quilting, however. Not at all.
I made a number of quilt tops throughout the year, and they’d been piling up. All I needed was a big chunk of time to get some of them basted and quilted and, Merry Christmas to me, I got just that! You might remember the one quilt top I made with the Gregory’s Garden collection by Jane Sassaman for FreeSpirit Fabrics. I was able to get it basted, quilted and bound and it’s either my last quilt of 2014 or my first of 2015.
With the wild prints and bright colors, I figured that the quilting wouldn’t be very visible, no matter what quilting design I chose. So I took it as an opportunity to practice my free motion quilting. I’ve been working on practicing and improving, and though I wouldn’t consider myself good at it, I’m getting a lot more confident and I can say that I’m not terrible at it anymore. The only way to get good is to keep at it, and so I do and I will. I used a variegated green thread, which is even less visible because of the changes in color and value.
Each series of borders got a different motif. My main goals were continuous lines, stitch consistency and motifs that didn’t require marking. Want to take a look?
For the center panel, since I took all that trouble to match the prints, I went with outlining the printed designs. I couldn’t worry about getting my lines exactly on the print lines, or I’d spend all my time taking out stitches rather than adding them. It was a little difficult and it’s far from perfect but I think it does make my print-matching efforts visible.
The next borders have a modified figure 8 pattern. Loops are great and I was able to settle into a rhythm and get all my loops pretty much the same size without thinking about it.
There’s not a lot of quilting in the fussy-cut flower border, but those flowers needed to be outlined so that’s just what I did.
The next two borders got a bunch of S-curves. These borders took a long time and the weight of the quilt would tend to pull and shift when I stopped to readjust, so some of gently curved lines have some jagged sections.
I always avoid stippling because it seems really stressful! You have to think about where the line needs to go very quickly, and all the while you are filling up space and limiting options for where to bring the line next. I think I should get over that, so I did a skinny stippling border. It was a little harrowing as I was sewing, and there are a few points and one or two loops where I sewed myself into a corner, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.
Next came the large clamshell motif. I didn’t mark anything, but I did use a piece of masking tape to indicate the height of the bumps so they would be consistent.
For the last border, I did more loops. At this point I was pretty ready to be done already!
I cut a few strips from the coordinating stripes for the binding, did all the binding business (I do not hand stitch my bindings down, my machine does it much faster) and I was done. Yay!
One quilt finish down, and there’s more in the works. I hope to keep up the momentum throughout 2015! I won’t be able to count on 2-week staycations to get a bunch of quilting done but I’ll manage to work it into the schedule somehow! Have a 2015-y weekend!