I hope everyone had a safe, relaxing Thanksgiving break filled all the things that make you grateful. I spent a little time in Indiana with daughter number one. We chilled, did a puzzle, cooked, watched some football and just enjoyed the little time we had together, very grateful. I normally like to share finishes for the week but well, Becky's quilt is gonna take a bit of time! It's a big one and takes up the entire frame. So I thought I'd share what I have completed and show how I mark my quilt and things that work for me. Will you just look at this beauty?
Becky and I had a few discussions, tweaked things along the way and she ended up with this design. Lots and lots of work. Really underestimated the amount of time, but it's going to look gorgeous when its' done! This monster of a quilt has two layers of batting, Hobbs heirloom on the bottom and Hobbs wool on top. Gives great definition don't you think?
|two layers of batting, Hobbs heirloom on the bottom and Hobbs wool on top.|
Once we got the design down, then the thread choices were needed. I picked a few that I liked, a pale blue for the white triangle and light colored blocks, then a medium and dark grey for the other blocks. Becky likes blue, so I found a couple of blues in my thread stash went with those. No worries if you don't like a thread color. I have an amazing thread stash and I'm not afraid to use it!! When choosing a thread color, I always take just one strand of thread and lay it on the quilt, this will give a much better idea of how it will look with all the different shades. You can see that pale blue looks almost white, that dark blue doesn't look as dark as I thought it would on the darker blocks, but it's dark enough and works great. All thread top and bottom, 50 Wt So Fine.
|first pass at threads|
|final mid color, just love it|
|final dark color|
|pale blue for the light blocks and white triangle. All thread, top and bottom So Fine 50 wt.|
Then it's on to the quilting. I rarely start with the border first. The quilt usually has to warm up to me a bit before it lets me know what would be best on the border. This quilt was no exception. I think by the time I finished the first row before I had any ideas. So lets start with the blocks and how I mark them. The Hexies first. I have circle rulers but they are full inches, 3 in or 4 in, neither of course was good enough for me. I exercised some restraint and didn't go out and purchase a new set of circle templates that were half inch rather than full inch. I searched and searched for the right size and lo and behold I found this sweet little bowl that looked just about right, and yes indeed, it's 3.5 inches, just what the quilting gods ordered! Got out my template plastic and make my own circle for marking. Just put a dot in the center and it's good to go.
|Using template plastic, I traced the bowl, cut it out and marked the center|
I find the center of the block, then trace the circle, then mark the grid. I don't mark the feathers, I know I want them to go all the way from the center to the edge so no need to mark. I free hand the circle (if that didn't go well you can bet I would have ordered a new set of 1/2 circle rulers :) But since its the spine of the feather, if it's not completely round, it's ok. If I would have an echo of the circle, you bet I would need a ruler. But not echo, no ruler required for me. I also mark the squares in the grid that will be filled. I would lose my mind if I didn't. I also don't have stitch regulation on for the fill, so those stitches can be really tiny and hard to take out. I just put a little blue dot in or a slash in the squares to be filled.
|you can barely see the dots for the squares that get filled. The lights on the longarm are plenty bright to see the dots|
Starting the feathers, that first plume can be hard. I generally start where there is the shortest distance from feather start to tip of feather. In this case any where that isn't going into a hexie point. I will stitch half a plume (actually a tad bit less that half) and aim 1.5- 2 hours past where I start. So if my needle is on 3:00, I will aim the tip of the feather to be at 4.30- 5:00. This gives a nice arc and a nice incline for the feather. Once I have the one block complete, that's what I use as reference for the next. I just look at where I am and where the plume ends up, making any tweaks I need. Generally that works really well. As you get close to the starting position, you just need to keep an eye out to judge the last 2-3 plumes. Keeping the plumes a little thinner helps in the estimation and slant a bit.
On the lighter blocks I like the fine tip blue marker. I mark a few blocks, stitch and then remove the markings with Spritz of 1 cup water + 1 tsp baking soda. This helps to neutralize the marker. I like getting it right away, it seems to come off a bit easier if it hasn't set there all night. If there is any concern about fabric running I don't spritz near that area. Instead I will take a scrap piece of batting wrap it over my finger, I put a drop of water on it and rub lightly on the marker. This works well but doesn't soak any fabric that may run. On this quilt I was concerned about the dark blue. She used a layer cake and thus wasn't pre-washed (hmmm well I don't pre-wash even if it's a big piece....I know I know, I 'm tempting fate) so I wanted to be extra careful around that dark blue. And that just about wraps it up for the hexie blocks
|If you look close you can see where I marked the center and a / in the blocks that need fill, if I used a dot, it would just blend in!|
Next up those triangles. I mark the whole thing. I stitch the first arc, with the ruler, quilted pineapple 12, then I stitch the pearls. I find figure 8 stitching for the pearls doesn't work as well for me. So I just make circles, and always go back long the side that is stitched already. I also found that the pearls were better if I didn't stitch the line above until after the pearls were stitched. I stitch the pearls, then the line above them, then go to the interior triangles. But I always mark all of the lines to be stitched on this one with the thin blue marker. Even though I mark the lines, I still use the ruler to stitch all the lines with the exception of the grid on the inner triangle. Those are small enough I can follow the line without a problem
Now that only leaves the border. I wanted a garden feel, and I think it looks like flower buds and the bead board, hoping it looks more like a picket fence around the garden :) I always take a picture of how I mark and stitch the top border. I know when I get down to the bottom I'm not going to remember, so the top and how those corners are done is very important for pictures.. On this quilt I use the same ruler on top as in the triangles. However on the side I need a smaller ruler and the quilted pineapple number 8 works perfectly. I marked the curve on top, but on the sides, I'm not marking it. I will mark the corners but that's it. I also mark the edge of the quilt every inch. For this I use Judi Madisens' ruler. One of the few that actually have numbered inches on them. Comes in pretty handy and was surprised how few of the others actually have numbers.
The back of this quilt is a solid blue (just like the last border). Usually I have the bobbin thread color different from the top and blending with the backing. But this time, I thought it would be interesting to have the different color flowers showing on the back. I think I really like it .
And there you have it. Every gory detail on what I do for all this quilting. Hope you enjoyed it and mostly I hope something in this post has helped you in some way. Have a great week and don't forget to join the linky parties on the side bar. Oh forgot to mention I also used chalk on the darker colors. I have a chalk pencil and the pounce pad. I used Deloa Jones 1/2 grid, made marking really fast with pounce pad! At the end of day I'm always surprised by how many things are laying on top of the quilt! Rulers and markers are always moving around on that quilt top!
Oh hold on, one other thing. I pulled my fabrics for Bonnie's Good Fortune Quilt (see the side bar button) . Pretty excited to get this one started, love all those tiny pieces!! Part 1 link up for Bonnie's Good Fortune Mystery is here