Sunday, 8 July 2018

Process

I made a start on my 1000 Pyramid quilt...

Once I basted this thing, I went over it with the basting stitch of the HQ Sweet 16 in a broad meander pattern.
You can see how I stuffed the whole quilt to the left of the machine...not rolled up, just bunched together in a big bundle. Once that was done, I went around the edges with the Versa Tool, still using the basting stitch
That is one thing I have used from the beginning with this machine, saving me heaps of time in terms of going around the edges of a quilt and I am used to doing this with the Versa Tool (has these little notches which I line up so that it stitches about 1/8in from the edge).

Then came the Baptist Fans...could not resist trying this, although I was still not convinced that this would work
Starting off...
...and having 2 rows done
Hard to see, even though I am using a 40/2 wt Aurifil thread. The scrappiness of the quilt just soaks it up. This is a good thing as consistency is a bit lacking, however overall it looks really good. I am making the fans slightly bigger, i.e. 5.75in instead of 5.5in (my largest ring gives me an 11in circle) so that the fans do not land on the seams. This is where the HQ Echo foot became really handy
This is the 1/2in Echo Foot. Looks a bit intimidating, but I must say I almost find it easier to stitch with this. Have not once trailed off and find it easy to work with. Took me a while to work out a workable process for quilting the fans, i.e.
- placed the quilt in a bundle to the left and then moved the bundle under the machine to the right onto the next table as I went along
- had a chair next to me with all the rulers and bitses, as the quilt kept pushing things off the table
- did temporary marks on the quilt of 5.75in width and height so that I would roughly stay on track

Overall, a half ring set would probably be better in terms of holding and aligning the rulers, however I am obviously not going to buy yet another ruler set just for this. I bought the circle set specifically to do circles of various diameters and this set is particularly handy as you can ride on the inside for some of the sizes. 

We will see how this progresses. For now, all is well...will be very interesting to see how I am going to manage this as I am getting more to the middle.

Karin

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Taming The Beast

I finally knuckled down and attacked the basting of my 1000 Pyramids quilt. Was unsure exactly how I would do this, i.e. whether to spray baste or to pin paste. This quilt turned out a bit big, approx. 66in x 87in! I have done spray basting before and like it but have little room to do it and also was not a friend of the mess that it created around the basted piece (i.e. had to wash the floor twice as all that sticky stuff was spread out all over the place as I got it on my socks).

Anyway, decided against the spray basting as I am also not sure how I will quilt this and thought that it would be good to get a sense of how heavy and unruly this quilt was going to be.

So I followed my trusted 'crawling around the floor' method (yep, paid for that the next day with a very sore back).
Lucky, I was by myself as there was no space left to walk around anywhere. I pin basted it very tightly as I did not want to risk any shifting or distortion as I am not going to stitch-in-the-ditch (that much I know).
I then took it to the HQ Sweet 16 and had some fun using the inbuild basting stitch (at 1/2 sec) and noodled around the pins, taking about half of them out as I went along. This went surprisingly fast and secured the quilt even more. The handling was not as bad as I thought it would be as I do have a fair amount of space around me, i.e. one extension to the left and on the right I have my cutting table, so it was just a matter of laying it out properly.

Still don't know exactly what to do...am tempted to try to do the Baptist fan with the rulers...would look lovely on that but just not sure whether this would become too difficult given it's size.

Karin

Saturday, 30 June 2018

My HQ Sweet 16 Journey

Its time to write about my experience with the HQ Sweet 16. I bought the machine about a year ago. I had been looking at the machine for some years however was not sure whether I actually really needed it. I was by that stage proficient in my FMQ and was quite content with how things were travelling. However, doing mainly Wholecloth quilts I felt some kind of boredom as I was essentially doing the same thing over and over again. I then quilted this beast

 All was well until I realised that my marking of my framework was out by sometimes as much as 1/4in and more and I realised that I needed to use a ruler to set the framework down in order to straighten this up. The first problem was that I did not actually have a large ruler that would allow me to do this and I ended up using a normal quilting ruler to stitch my frame around the motif. This was hellish, to say the least...not because of the quilting ruler, but because I could not see behind the foot of the machine. I spent a good 10 min to align the ruler each time I wanted to stitch, making sure it would not slip and then stitched in absolute snail pace against the ruler. I think it took about four attempts to get that first frame around the motif and that definitely got me thinking that I had reached the limit of my Pfaff machine. I did use a smaller ruler to quilt the Orange Peel design in one of the borders and thoroughly enjoyed this...in looking at the stitches I thought then that it looked so much more refined then if I had drawn the design in and then stitched it freehand. Well, this got me thinking about the Sweet 16 (again!)...then doing some more research on the machine I also was somewhat horrified how much they had gone up in price over here and I decided...its now or never! I had to decide whether this is something I wanted or not. If I waited any longer I would just have to pay more and more and with the Quilt Show coming up there would be a Special on offer on the machine.
So the journey began...I decided to buy the machine.
I had watched all of the instructional videos, had read other quilters' introduction to the machine and started stitching...my initial reaction was one of utter confusion. The machine was very different to what I was used to and I also realised how much I had sat in my comfort zone. The machine had a different noise, rhythm and speed and the different set up, i.e. the larger room around the machine was utterly confusing. I would take a quilt and scrunch it up to quilt and the quilt would just unroll itself in front of my eyes and lie flat. While this was a good thing, this completely threw me!
Initially I had only minor issues in setting the tension on the machine. I successfully quilted 2 baby quilts with Aurifil 40/2 at some speed. All went well and I managed to quilt a nice meander all over, noting that this was incredibly fast, possibly because I hardly needed to shift and re-arrange the quilt.
At the same time I started the Handiquilter Ruler of the Month club with our local HQ group
Stitching more deliberate and slowly and now using my familiar Aurifil 50/2 in both bobbin and top, tension issues started to appear. In addition, I found that starting off gave me issues as I could not reach the hand wheel to position the needle where I wanted it to go. The more I tried with the tension the more difficult it became...also realised that I had only ever FMQ with Aurifil 50/2. As I had received a gift pack of thread with my purchase I started to experiment with all sorts of thread combinations, fiddled with tension and got incredibly frustrated in the process (see post where I was just about to loose the plot). It felt as if I was starting all over again.
I watched untold videos re tension issues, went on forums, web sites etc to find the answers...
It was my worst nightmare which continued for several months. In addition, I could not manage the speed, i.e. how slowly did I quilt before ? The fastest I could do on the Sweet 16 was 10% and as time went by I seriously started to doubt my purchase and started to hate my FMQ. I became increasingly annoyed with hearing 'you will get the feel for it' or you 'feel' when the tension is right. I was definitely not getting the feeling and definitely not loving it. At that stage it would have been 3 - 4 months into my purchase and I was starting to wonder whether I needed to sell the machine!

So, what helped me in this?
- Jamie Wallen's comment in one of his videos re sticking with one thread initially (at least for 6 months) and how to clean your machine properly (very important!)
- decided to follow my intuition and sense what I thought right tension feels like; the only advice I can give re this is that my tension works when I test the bobbin in my palm and set it so that the bobbin lifts up in your palm but will not leave your palm, however just about wants to leave your palm...just at that point; also got a Towa guide to note down the number which I now use as a bit of a starting point to set my bobbin; I am still stitching with Aurifil 50/2 in top and bobbin, however also have successfully stitched with 60 wt Bottomline in the bobbin and tried the Decobobs 80wt prewounds (really like them); each of those needs a different bobbin setting and I am managing this without any major dramas.
- I continue to stitch rather slowly and decided not to focus on that, i.e. one issue at a time
- I don't blame the machine every time something does not work; as I found out the hard way there are a number of factors at play like batting, thread, bobbin winder...

Since then there has been a definite change in my attitude to the machine and towards the end of last year I started to really enjoying quilting on it. The tension adjustments seemed so much easier; the speed, sound and rhythm started to feel more familiar and I could really appreciate the potential that this machine has:
- ruler work - love ruler work and all that it brings to my quilting; not great at it yet, but getting better all the time
- pantographs - have stitched out a pantograph design on a small baby quilt; while time consuming this got me very excited as I was getting really bored with my overall designs; also managed to stitch out a Baptist fan design on a smaller quilt recently - something I have wanted to do for a very long time
- larger scale designs - all I have to do is to crank up the speed and I will naturally make wider movements
- definitely faster process as I use the machine to baste the quilt (and stitch down the edges) and also have continued to use rulers to stitch-in-the-ditch (I use Invisafil for this which strangely enough has worked for me since I got the machine).

So, I am feeling that I am back to 'normal' with my quilting however if you look at it, this has taken me a good 9 months to get there. This is in contrast to some quilters who get these machines and are just loving it and do not seem to have any issues from the word 'go'. I tend to think that I was too stuck in my comfort zone with my DSM which made it difficult to accept any changes...who knows! Still have a lot of work to do...I got a whole box full of thread from Superior Threads that I have never used before, but at least now I do not feel so intimidated by that.

Karin

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Absolutely love Ruler Work

I have been working away on the challenge of our local HQ group run by Heather Hopkins.
Absolutely love the ruler work! Getting better at it, bit by bit. For this piece we have so far used the HQ Skinny Ruler, some curved rulers and are currently using the Line Grid Ruler for the corner treatment (not shown).
For the arcs I used the circle ruler set combined with the Echo feet set for the Sweet 16 to get the right size. Bit of an adventure but I managed this in the end. The echo feet set for the machine is amazing, basically 3 feet with different echoes attached...3/8in, 1/2in and 3/4in. This makes is possible to customise your rulers to the size that you need. In my case, I used the 9in circle and attached the 1/2in echo foot to quilt out a 10in half circle. Very useful indeed.

Then I used another arc to create a bit of a swag. For this I used the Pro Echo 12in arc
As you can see I am starting to amass a bit of a collection of rulers to choose from. I did participate in the first Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club that was run by Handiquilter through our local group. This just coincided with my purchase of the machine and I thought this was an easy way to get introduced to quilting with rulers on the machine...6 rulers in 6 months. They then ran a second ruler club and I did exercise some major restraint and did not sign up as I did not want to 'start collecting' rulers. Haha...have just signed up for the third Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club though! There are some very interesting shapes in there that could be useful (it has a 1/4in Line Grid ruler in there!). Reality is I am just addicted to the ruler work...also saw the other day that Angela Walters has brought out another set of her own rulers. Very enticing indeed, hers are particularly useful for quilting on the DSM, I think. In fact, if you look around on the net there is a ruler for just about any shape and given that they are not cheap you really have to have a bit of a think about how often and for what you are going to use these...at least that is what I am trying to do.
I might stitch together another Charm Square quilt for the next ruler club, so that I can practice the new shapes that are coming.

Apart from this I am trying to piece together the backing for my 1000Pyramid quilt. I am so spatially challenged...this always takes me an extraordinary time to figure out how to put this together. There is a free class on Craftsy run by Elizabeth Hartman called Creative Quilt Backs that was quite handy to watch for this exercise...she makes it sound so easy.
 Karin

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Rookie Mistake!

I was working away on my little Baptist Fan quilt, when I decided to give it a bit of a spray with water to get rid of the blue water erasable lines that I had in there.

Disaster! Forgot that I did not wash this panel beforehand. Cannot believe it, as I am a quilter who definitely always pre-washes her fabric. Well, not this time obviously...when I went to pick it up from the washing line, the colours had run to the back


These are photos of some of the minor runs...had all sorts of colours come through to the back, particularly red and blue blotches. And this was just from spraying it with some water!

Had to quickly finish this quilt. I do know from experience (!) that you have to deal with colour runs pretty swiftly to have any chance of getting rid of them. Finished this little quilt with a simple black binding.
The front also showed some signs of colour run, particularly around the reds.

So the other day I went to the shop and bought some colour run remover. Was not looking forward to this as the fabric obviously bled a lot just spraying it and I thought that I might spoil the quilt altogether. However, had to be done...happy to say that this worked very well. Even the remover had improved...smelled actually quite nice and did not seem as harsh as when I had to resort to using it some years ago.

Now for the drying...it is winter here, so drying is a bit of an issue, particularly this week as it was supposed to be raining for most of the week. This is were our little washing stand comes handy...chasing the sun!
Disaster averted!

Karin

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Baptist Fan Design

So I finished my 1000 Pyramid Quilt. In thinking about how to quilt this and working on my challenge piece for the local Handiquilter group using the circle rulers, I started to wonder whether I could try a Baptist fan for an overall design.

I bought the Handiquilter Circle Ruler set (Gold Set) for Christmas as a bit of a present to myself. Since then I have played a little bit with it and have done a few select circles, however have not had a chance to give it a really good workout.

There are 5 individual circle rings which gives you a variety of sizes to complete circles with both on the outside of the ring as well as the inside of the ring. The circles start at 2in and go right up to 11in. As I had only used a few of them to start with (and mainly the easier inside circles)  the first task was to put more Handigrips on them because just 2 on each ring was just not enough, particularly for the bigger circles.

I had a try out on a piece of calico
Baptist fan 5 1/2in
Yep, that was it, loved it and was hooked, however not convinced that I could actually do this over a quilt because obviously I had some shifting and mis-alignments. I did not really have a quilt top ready apart from the huge Pyramid quilt that I could use for practice and I definitely did not feel like trialling it on yet another practice sandwich. I remembered that I had a very old panel from a good 10 years ago - bought this to cut out the blocks and do something really amazing with, however this never happened! Dug up the panel, quickly pinned and basted it and used this for further practice.
This was really good fun to do. Initially I had difficulties holding the ruler, i.e. not sure exactly how to align it properly and where to touch it to hold it in place. I had seen a YouTube video by Lisa Calle where she was using full circles to do the Baptist fan design...this seemed somewhat easier. However as these were circles, I did think that it was just a matter of paying attention to the lines on the ruler and making a note of the different points of alignment (and of course, then not moving the ruler which at times proved difficult). Did the first row of fans without any hassle, however then in the second row got very disoriented with the different colours and blocks I was going over. Realised that I needed to mark in lines indicating the width and height of the fans, in fact needed a 90 degree angle at each starting point! This was really quite interesting...my marking became fairly sloppy and not entirely correct and some of the fans were not the same width or height, however looking at it after each row, you did not notice this at all. The overall design is incredibly forgiving and unless you are obsessed with consistency and examine it with a ruler it really did not feature at all. All the eyes see is the overall pattern and if the distance between the lines is approximately right it continues to look great.
How good does this look! I am so impressed with this. Always have loved this design, particularly for colourful, scrappy type quilts where you just want the texture over the quilt.
The panel is about  a lap size quilt and did give me a fairly good idea how a small quilt would need to be handled, i.e. I had to be able to quilt away from myself as well as towards me as well as quilting from side to side. As you are doing many of them, I fairly quickly got the hang of it and must say, I did enjoy the slow, deliberate action of changing size by size...not quick, but almost therapeutic and on a small quilt entirely achievable.

So this would definitely work well for a small baby quilt. Am debating a bit with myself at the moment whether I could pull this off over a large quilt...would love to see this on the 1000 Pyramid quilt, but a bit unsure at the moment.

Apart from this, I am working on a challenge quilt using different rulers for the local Handiquilter group and also currently working on the Pink Project initiated by Helen Godden over FB, but more on that another time.

Karin

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Labels

Labels are important however like many other quilters I only really make a label when I put one of my quilts into the local Quilt Show.

Part of the reason is that they can be a bit work intensive...in the past few years I have been printing my labels which has meant that I only do labels every now and then as I need to wait in order to print out several labels at once as I am using an A4 sheet of printable fabric sheets. One of my pet hates has been that the label fabric is quite hard and sewing it in place is anything but enjoyable. Then I came across a tutorial the other day where they attach a border around the printed label (why didn't I think of this?). That made a lot of sense to me so I did do that for my last label and discovered some use for the pressed binding fabric.
Given that I usually have difficulties pressing the seam allowance over on my label, the binding leftovers seemed perfect...already pressed, so I only had to cut them to size (I left about 1/2in to fold over and also shortened the width of my border to about 1/2in) and attach.
And here is my label ready to be sewn on. With the pressed edges, this was very easy and came out dead straight with very tidy edges.
 
Karin

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

1000 Pyramids Quilt Top Finished

I finally knuckled down to finish the 1000 Pyramids quilt top. Not sure what I was thinking when I started this...definitely were not thinking of all those points you had to match!

I did purchase an Accuquilt Equilateral Triangle Die last at the last quilt show or maybe even the one before that.
Don't know about you but I get a bit frustrated if I do not use what I purchase...over the years I have accumulated a lot of stuff, so I bought this with the 1000 Pyramids in mind. I thought ...great, I can get rid of all my scraps and I do love scrap quilts and their riot of colour.

So I started and pretty quickly realised that I had a lot (!) of points to match. I am not the greatest piecer and even with those little notches in the die I struggled somewhat as you are dealing with bias edges. So, I began to drag my feet and this project definitely was in danger of becoming yet another UFO. Also made it really big to cover the King Single bed in the spare room which meant that when I picked it up again the other day I had a good eight double rows to do. What happens to me with UFOs is that I forget how I exactly thought this through in terms of ironing the rows and as I had several starts and stops, I had the rows going in all sorts of directions! What a hassle!

I decided not to sweat the small imperfections at the points or the mismatched seams and started again to just get this done. It went pretty quickly, mind you, I was dreading to sew the rows together. As I expected the matching of the points got very tricky over the entire width of the rows as I had ironed seams sometimes left and sometimes right...no idea what I was thinking. Anyway, I struggled along and about half way through I started using my glue stick for paper piecing to line up the points. What a great little trick!...I aligned my points, put a tiny dot of glue on the point in the 1/4in seam allowance and then pinned the rest. This worked fantastically...not perfect but a lot neater than some of my other rows. Given that I have handled the pieces for well over a year, some of the bias was definitely mis-shapen and getting the point stuck down with glue really helped with the alignment.

It is absolutely huge, coming in at about 66.5inx87in. Will nicely cover the bed but I am a bit worried re the quilting. Just sewing this together, I could feel the weight of all the material, so even without batting this is already heavy. Not sure how I am going to do this...pinning this will make this very heavy, I think. Also was looking at this today and thought that I have absolutely no idea on how to quilt this other than that it would have to be some sort of overall design. Was thinking of maybe doing Baptist fans with the rulers, however even with the Sweet 16 I would have over 2 m of pinned quilt in front of me starting at the bottom. Not sure this would work. Have my HQ group on the weekend and will have a bit of a talk about how people go about quilting this size. If all fails I can always do just wavy lines down the length.

Anyway, very pleased I finished this top!

Linking up to SEW FRESH Quilts for the Let's Bee Social Weekly Link Up

Karin

Thursday, 3 May 2018

I’m Back

So much so for all good intentions of posting more regularly...have let it slide again. Have a number of excuses...life got a bit busy as usual and then we went on a holiday to New Zealand (which was great). Found a little fabric store in Auckland

Truth be known, I have struggled with motivation over the past month or so...

I was working away on my Wholecloth and actually got quite stressed with it as the deadline for our show here is the 1. June. Things just were not working properly and I reckon I made several ‘planning’ mistakes. On top of that I was getting tired with the amount of repetitive quilting. This is how far I got

I then had a bit of a moment where I thought ‘this is ridiculous...this is my hobby and should not become a stressor (got enough of that at work!). So I stopped...accepting that I will not enter a quilt in the show this year and the world will not come to an end! Went on my holiday, had a fantastic time and when I came back started on the Handiquilter challenge that my local group is currently working on. As I was running behind by a month I had to knuckle down, piece a quilt together and get back to ruler work. Almost caught up with the task for the second month now and must say that I am enjoying the ruler work immensely.


Also had another (refreshed) look at my Wholecloth...will continue with it, even though I now think that I should have thought that framework through a bit better, however it will still look great when it eventually gets finished. All good learning...will finish it in between other things as the repetition of that piece is seriously boring and the thing I struggle with most. Definitely finding out where my passion sits in terms of Wholecloth quilting.

Karin

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Designing Your Own Motif

This is just an example of how you can quickly design a motif using the Ipad. I designed this motif using the Graphic App (formerly Idraw) which is an App you can purchase on the App Store for A$14.99.

This is a picture I found in a Dover publication '200 Victorian Fretwork Designs' by A. Sanguineti (I love fretwork!)
I took a photo of that little image and imported it into the Graphic App...does not look like much, but wait...

I then traced the photo with the Apple Pen...you can set it so that it automatically smoothes out the lines as you go, in addition to going back into it to smooth out some of the individual nodes. Not too difficult at all as most of the smoothing is already done by the 'smoothing function'. Did this a bit quickly as this was just to show you how this works, so there are a few wobblies here and there.

After some general tidy up, I had the image of the motif drawn as a continuous line design leaving it open at one end as I was going to connect it to another copy of it (copying the image and flipping it over horizontally). I think I may have grouped them together as one unit at this point (should have taken some notes!)

I have played around with something a bit similar in the past and knew that it needed to be less horizontal, so I turned the unit by 45 degrees, copied again and aligned it. This looked a bit more promising. Love the ability to just play around with the arrangements at this point.

I then grouped this into one unit, copying once again and flipping it over vertically to get the second half of my unit.
tada!!
Actually quite like this arrangement. Put another layer on to put it into a square to get the visual on how this would look in a quilting block. Instantly thought that I could extend this motif further by putting something into the corners as well, but I will stop here. This whole process took me about half an hour in front of the TV.  Now I could spend more time on this to make it absolutely perfect for tracing which is entirely do-able on the Ipad, but I think if I was going to use that I probably would import this into the computer drawing program to iron out some of the wobblies (mind you, have not explored all the drawing functions of this App as yet, i.e would like the stroke of the pen tool to be pointed...possibly has this in-build somewhere).

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little play session on the Ipad...I certainly did. There is a letter box around the corner from my house that has a really nice motif on there...I am planning to inconspicuously walk past and take a photo to draw that out...perfect quilting motif!

Karin

Friday, 23 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Your Own Design

Designing your own wholecloth quilt is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. There are several good books that describe the process and/or give you some design ideas , like
- Make Your Own Quilting Designs & Patterns by Judy Woodworth (super excellent resource)
- Create Your Own Dream Feathers by Peggy Holt
- Custom Curves by Karen McTavish
- The Secrets of Elemental Quilting by Karen McTavish

First of all you do need a set of tools...rulers, templates, circles, French Curves, ovals and/or stencils. I should also mention Cindy Needham's Handbooks which I forgot to mention in the last post as the place to go to if you are looking for stencils and design ideas.

So, how do you start? You can use paper to draw 1/4 of your design, flip it over and mirror it. You could then make several copies of the motif and lay them out on the table to have a bit of a look what this will look like. This is a very laborious process that takes a long time! Alterntively you could use mirrors to audition your design (also see You Tube video with Sharon Schambler on how to do this)

I prefer using the computer to design, making use of drawing programs. I have tried Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and finally ended up buying the Serif Draw 8 program. These are drawing programs that are not geared towards quilting but together with the EQ8 program I usually can make something work for me. I am currently having my eye on the Pre-Design program which is a 'lesser' version of the Art and Stitch program that is especially designed for quilters and embroiderers.

Carla Barrett's blog is an excellent source if you want to further delve into the world of digital wholecloth designing. Carla uses a tablet and Photoshop Elements (I believe). She teaches her method and also offers eclasses. Her blog is full of great inspiration.

Also useful and becoming more and more manageable is the Ipad, particularly when coupled with the Apple Pencil. With the help of some good Apps like Graphic (formerly Idraw), Adobe Draw or Sketch, Adobe Capture and many other Apps to choose from, you can get a fairly decent design to look at.
BTW, also  useful to audition quilting designs! Having a bit of a look what my feather design will look like in the melon shape. This was done on the Graphic App
In terms of process then, you start to doodle...maybe you have seen something that sparked your imagination, you could trace a design or you could use stencils or part of stencils. This is where Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil Collection comes into play


When I first got the Ultimate Shape Stencil I was so inspired I designed a range of weird and wonderful designs (see post HERE). I did use one of those designs to develop last years' wholecloth.
With the help of the Ultimate Round Stencil I came up with this center motif
...drawn onto the trusted Ikea paper. I then took this design and imported it into the computer drawing program where I tidied it up and traced it off so that I had a neat and precise copy to play with. I took my design then into the Adobe App on the Ipad and tried different layouts and different arrangements to see what I liked. This is what I settled on

The actual wholecloth turned out a little bit different but this picture gave me a good starting point
















Another example of a doodle I did, drawing a quarter of a design...very rudimentary and then duplicating it many times, arranging it into a square.  Here I did four quarters to make up one half of a design
Looks absolutely awful, however how good is this, I can wipe it and come up with a different arrangement. This was just to illustrate the process and to show you that it is possible to do some quite complex designs with the use of the computer or Ipad. If I liked this design, from here I would go and draw the design on paper properly, maybe then importing it into the computer to tidy it up before using it as a design to trace onto the quilt.

Next post I will show you how I traced a motif on the Ipad...need to split the post as this was just getting too lond

See ya'

Karin

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Development of Ideas Part 2

Following on from my last post, launching into part 2 of the development of ideas and how to go about designing your wholecloth. This is about medallion type wholecloth quilts that have a center motif usually surrounded by some background fillers and some borders.

My first introduction to this was through Patsy Thompson who was one of the experts on Quiltshopgal's FMQ challenge in 2012. While I did not directly participate in the challenge I was so inspired by her very simple, yet so effective method. She took a center motif and just went around adding border after border, increasing the width as she went along. I think I stitched this out in a couple of days
I was hooked. Next, I followed Patsy Thompson's style of creating wholecloth quilts which often start with a feather wreath in the center


All I did is add a background filler (in this case micro-stippling) and put some feather motifs in the corner. Very basic to start with, but I was impressed with these initial attempts.

As I went along and gained more experience with wholecloth quilting I started to get more elaborate and learned about some basic rules like:
- add several smaller borders around your center design and fill with simple designs like swirls, ribbons, loops or just lines; experiment with a straight square design or put the borders on the diagonal
- stick to a few selected shapes in your wholecloth
- work with repetition, i.e. have a motif that can also act as corner motif like in the following quilt
- think this through in terms of how much background you have to fill as this can take a long time to fill (i.e. see above...that micro-stipple was an absolute killer)
-  add interest by using grids and if you are really keen, learn how to fill those grids to really make your center design pop
- once the center design is done and you have decided on a background filler around it, add a few more borders, again keeping in mind to repeat already used shapes; you can see in the picture above that I put in a larger 'seed design' to enclose my center, thereby repeating the shape of the cnter motif. I then added some straight 1/4in lines to extend this out a bit and finished it off with a feather border.

This is one way to construct your wholecloth. While the result usually looks quite striking, the process is actually quite simple. In terms of designing this from scratch it depends on how much work you want to put into this and whether or not you enjoy designing. If you do not, you can make use of the many books that are on offer, all of which have a variety of motifs and designs, or find some spectacular motifs on the web for free. Or you can purchase stencils that are designed for wholecloth quilts. Here are some resources that I found useful:
books
- Quilting Wide Open Spaces by Judi Madsen
- Custom Curves by Karen McTavish
- Mix & Match Quilting Patterns by Helen Squire
- Inside the Lines by Pam Clarke
- The Secrets of Elemental Quilting by Karen McTavish

Some links
Quilting Creations  and
The Stencil Company for stencils and pre-printed wholecloth designs
Forest Quilting for free motifs
Cindy Needham's Craftsy Classes
Patsy Thompson's DVDs (particularly the Feathers DVD range)
Leah Day's Feather and Heart Mini Wholecloth (this is a workshop offered over on Leah Day's website; this was the first wholecloth I ever did and I remember the anxiety this produced just looking at it...however, as it is a mini project it was very achievable and turned out beautifully)
...and many, many more; hopefully this will spark your interest and you might give it a go.

Designing your own motif will take a little bit more time but is very rewarding.

Karin