I’m excited to be one of the stops on Sunday, Day 7, the final day, of the Celebrate Hand Quilting Blog Hop!! If you click the button below, you can go to the home page and find the links to the previous 6 days in addition to day 7. Lots of hand quilting goodness to drool over!
And while my preferred method of quilting is by hand, most of the blogs I follow are machine quilting blogs, so I was really happy to hook up with this group. Many of them are especially active on Facebook, making a quick question turn into a festive afternoon of learning! There are now 614 members of this group and while it is growing every day, we are still trying to spread the word. It feels like hand quilting is possibly making a comeback. I think people are starting to feel that more, and faster, isn’t necessarily better. Then with social media we are getting bombarded with ads, fabric options, everyone competing… It stresses me out! Maybe I am feeling like hand quilting is coming back because I am now hanging out with more hand-quilters who prefer the, slow and steady, heirloom pace? I don’t know but I’d like to think the tide is shifting.
I really struggled with what to share today because I generally share as I go. If you click the quilts link at the top, you can see my progression. If I’ve blogged about the quilt then clicking on it should take you to a link, or to Flickr, then to a link, or if nothing happens, I still have technological catching up to do…
I made my first quilt around 1978/79, but I didn’t begin the push to more challenging quilts until about 1993. Those earlier quilting years are such a blur with raising 3 kids and doing sewing and alterations for the public, working outside the home a few different jobs, volunteering, but mostly just doing the mom thing. I didn’t photograph my quilts back then, either. Apparently I need pictures to burn memories into this brain of mine….
My first really challenging quilt project was a queen sized Double Wedding Ring quilt (1993). We continue to sleep under it every night. Adding and subtracting a thin fleece blanket, as needed.
And I still kick myself for the colors I chose, I am so not a pinky mauve person, never was, but I think it was just what was available, at the time, in our local, small quilt shop. And after years and years, I finally flipped it over to where it looks more like a whole cloth quilt and I am loving it even more!!
I marvel at just how much quilting I put into it. Each of the strips of color are only about 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and I outline quilted, all the way around, inside each one of them. Obviously I learned a few lessons here. It was enough to get all my crescent shapes to lie flat…. But constantly stitching through the seam allowances had to have been a bear, but I guess I didn’t know any better, I don’t remember complaining. I used a heavy cotton batting and they were not nearly as smooth then as they are now. But it makes a wonderful heavy quilt to sleep under, I love the heft. I am a lap quilter, no frame or hoop and I do remember wrangling this heavy thing for probably a year, it was definitely a fixture on the arm of the sofa through many seasons.
Fast forward to the evolution of my style. My Oakshott batik, trees quilt, that some of you advised me on, through the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group, is about as far from the Double Wedding Ring as could be in style, color, texture and even size.
I previously talked about this one here and here. I was advised to try wool batting, so I did. I like it! It is puffy, but thin, reminds me of a poly batting. But then again, I’m not putting heavy quilting on it to “calm” it down and that could be why it feels like it could float away. The wool is extremely easy to quilt, but then I’ve recently been using heavy fabrics like Kona, as opposed to this, which feels like a lawn, a little fragile feeling, but lovely.
You all recommended I try big stitch quilting and I did. My stitches are about 3/8″ with a 1/8″ space between them while using #16, dark gray Prevencia Finca Perle cotton. I really do love the look, but it just isn’t enough quilting for my taste. You can barely make out the quilting above, but maybe you can see where I tried doing some fill in stitching? I tried several different things, removing most of them. It’s interesting how you figure out what you do like by seeing what you don’t.
Now I’m thinking about adding some “wind” to the background using a traditional quilting thread, orange is what I used, because I have it and the backing is orange. The color doesn’t really show when doing small stitches.
I continue to brainstorm… I Googled images for wind and came up several different pictures that look like the weatherman’s map. In the above picture you can hardly make out the big stitch quilting, partly because it is only finished on about half of it, LOL! It doesn’t stand out as much as create a shadow. I tried some stitch in the ditch quilting on it, but it actually made the trees look smaller. This way allows the fabric to roll over the edges of the branches and just look defined more than anything. I think I will go ahead and finish big stitching it, I’m getting close to finished with that, then freehand quilt some more wind on it, then I need to make a final decision!
This big stitch quilting is hard. Harder than I thought. Consistent stitching is not easy, it shows inconsistancy as if under a magnifying glass. And it just doesn’t seem right to intentionally make such big stitches. On top of that, using contrasting thread!
Ay Yi Yi… My brain is tired of thinking about it.
If you enjoy looking at hand quilted quilts the current Bloggers’ Quilt Festival has a hand quilted category and you still have time to enter. Check it out!
In other news…
Enjoying a celebratory weekend here, heading out to dinner tonight and super excited to spend the day with both my girls tomorrow!!
Make it a great day!