Thursday, 29 March 2012

Quilt Along #11

Well, of course I chose white fabric and then wondered afterwards what colour thread I was going to quilt this with. As I was running behind,  this was all a bit rushed and I only watched Leah's video and read all instructions once I had already started. Never mind...this is a practice piece, I had to remind myself.

I chose the solid off-white fabric as the marking was going to be easy. All I had to do was to put the design under the fabric and trace it with a blue water-soluble pen. That worked really well as the design was easy to see. I did use Polyester batting, as Leah suggested...this was a first for me. Being a self taught quilter who has mainly learnt from books and magazines, Polyester batting is rarely suggested so I have never used it. Initially I was going to use cotton but then  reminded myself that I am participating in the Quilt Along to learn new things and broaden my skills, hence gave it a go.

For the outline quilting I chose a light green Aurifil 50/2 thread with a 70/10 needle in the machine working at the slowest speed level. White thread would have looked better but I really wanted to see how I was going to go with the stitching. I did the centre hearts and lines, then watched the video and chuckled to myself as I had duly started in different spots, going the other way around, breaking thread a couple of times, but never mind, this did teach me to work out how to quilt the straight lines surrounding the hearts...took me ages to figure that out. I was surprised with the Polyester batting...quilted just like Wool batting but felt much softer. For some reason I was under the impression that Polyester would be much harder to quilt. Had no issues whatsoever with Polyester.

Middle section

Love the feathers

Outline quilting of the corner hearts

So far so good! Well,  the most weirdest thing husband had a nose bleed standing right next to my little wholecloth quilt (what are the chances!) and some blood splattered across the quilt. I then tried to dab the spots with some water and yes, ten guesses, wiped out a few of my lines, hence had to abandon trying to get the spots out. I then had to complete the rest of the quilting all in one go so that I could start working on the spots of blood which by then had dried up and were much harder to remove. Normally I would have left the markings in until I was finished and then spray the quilt to remove them. I cannot imagine what a disaster this would have been if it had been a major piece of work. Would you then maybe just wash part of it or wait until you are all finished (which could be weeks if not months) and then hope that you can remove any mishaps. Anyway, I used some vinegar and Preen stain remover and got most of it out.

End result looks great. Very pleased with it. This would make a lovely pillow.

The finished design

Closer look 

The quilting of the feathers was interesting. I have done some feathers before using the 'bounce back over the top method'  and that had worked for me. I think I chose that method before because it had the least amount of backtracking. So for this little quilt I used the other method Leah described,  travelling back over the side of the feather back to the spine having to do much more backtracking.

I worked really slow on the backtracking and found that the neatest result was obtained when I was able to stitch back into the holes of the stitch already there. Obviously that did not work all the time but on the whole gave a good result.

Here are some close-ups of the stitching (thanks to my husband's skill in photography)

Overall I am really happy with the stitching. Those little irregularities are hardly noticeable and I was actually amazed that this worked so well on my first attempt. In relation to how I actually stitched this, some more practice is needed. I think that I did not keep to one particular direction and did sew them going up, then down and sometimes even slightly sideways to get a better view (and this time I watched the video before I did it but obviously did not retain the information on which direction to go). In the end I tried to determine a way that was the most comfortable for me which I think was starting at the top and going down (so I could see where I was going). I did turn the piece around a number of times to get a better view - that's obviously not an option if you are going to work on a bigger piece.

Questions for Leah:

- do you always start with a spine ? I have wondered about this for a while because when you do the bounce back method the going over the spine line then could form the spine without having to backtrack.
- would you mix feather technique in a design or do you stay with one particular technique for the entire design?
- length of stitches...should one aim for a particular length or is it more important to be consistent? I am asking this as I think that my stitches are in general on the shorter side but consistent in appearance. When I try to make them a bit longer it all becomes a bit more inconsistent.

Until next time...wondering about the micro-stippling. There does not appear to be a lot of room in between the spaces. This will be interesting.



  1. Your stitching looks amazing! Fabulous job!

    1. Thank you...wait for the microstippling...not at all going smoothly. Just when I thought this was going really well.

  2. I'm so impressed that you can travel stitch back into the same holes as the line before! Beautiful work!

  3. Your whole cloth looks great, not to mention your stitching!!! LOVE IT!

    1. Thank you for your comment...always nice to get feedback

  4. What gorgeous photos and what an excellent job you've done on this quilt! Give yourself a super pat on the back for working out of your comfort zone and trying the polyester batting.

    I'll answer your questions tomorrow on Question Thursday in more detail, but just in case, here's short answers:

    #1 - Feathers are a one of those things that can be stitched a million ways. If it's a marked feather, however, I generally start by stitching the spine just so I have a line to HIT when I come around with the feathers.

    #2 - I pretty much use whatever techniques feel the best for the area. On the wholecloth I created to test the pattern, I used a mix of both methods, depending on the angle of the feather and what felt most natural.

    #3 - Because we're not using feed dogs, it's impossible to "set" a specific stitch length. The best thing to do is aim for consistency, and it looks to me like you're definitely doing a great job with that!

    The only thing to really be mindful of, stitch wise, are massive giant stitches in the middle of a sea of little stitches. They will stand out badly, but other than that, go with what length feels comfortable for you.



  5. I have heard that one's own spit will remove blood.

    1. Yes, thanks Jean...might try this next time. As it was all came out after the wash. Handy to know though for those times when I prick myself with those pesky basting pins!

  6. OMG......your work is amazing.


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