Thursday 11 July 2024

To Do Tuesday #81

My task from 2 weeks ago was to finish my stitching in the ditch of my background filler project - Done! While happy with that I am a bit anxious about how the middle section will quilt out as I got the two seams running through the orange fabric. Not sure whether this will work out so good, but we shall see.
That's the only task I had put down as we had our annual quilt show over here and I knew that I would not do anything much else.

The quilt show was great, even more so as I won two awards for my wholecloth quilt.

This was the Festival of Quilts 2024 run by the SA Quilter's Guild. My wholecloth won first place in the 'Other Category' and a Special Award for Excellence in Machine quilting on a stationary longarm.

I was chuffed to say the least! Funny thing happened though. Normally you get a phone call a few days before the award presentation. Well, I did not get a phone call, hence thought that I had missed out and as it was a very cold and wintery evening I did not go to the award presentation. The next day I went to the quilt show and whilst there, a friend texted me to congratulate me on my win. I was absolutely gobsmacked and it took a few minutes for that to sink in. Went over to the display of the quilts and lo and behold there is was with those ribbons. Made my day...I was particularly happy with the Excellence in machine quilting for this piece as this must have been the first wholecloth I am truly happy with in terms of workmanship. It measures about 36-3/4in and was quilted with Aurifil 50/2 thread in a gold type colour and then I used 100wt Invisafil to quilt the background in a matching colour. It was nicely flat where I wanted it to be flat and perfectly straight. Was so impressed with that. If interested, I posted some close-up shots HERE.

Apart from this, I did finish my ugly jumper project
The colours are just hideous (chosen by my daughter when she was much younger). I made this jumper as a knit-along while my daughter attempted to knit this raglan following a pattern from a book she bought. As I am a bit out of practice with knitting I thought that I better knit along to see how this works in case my daughter had questions. Well, her jumper has become an UFO...and I was left with this monster of a project. Over the last few weeks I have made my way through this pattern...thankfully this is a short jumper, as the young ones are currently wearing. Had a few problems with the shaping of the arm and the weight of this thing (it is knitted top down in one piece, but otherwise quite easy to do. Got a bit enthused with this and will make this again for myself but in a solid colour and longer. Quite enjoyed knitting in the evenings when watching TV.

Also made some headway on my second sock
Got sick of having so many unfinished things lying around. Managed the heel and the shaping of the gusset today and now it is just knitting in the round the length of the foot. Again another nice TV project.

In terms of tasks I am unsure what to put on my list at the moment as there are a number of things I am working on (and they are all competing for attention)
- make a start on the quilting for the background filler project
- finish the sock
- watch Bethanne Nemesh' Sweet Tooth class that I bought earlier in the year and pull out some fabric
- make a cover for my Q20 (have been avoiding this for a while and need to work out an easy covering - the ones that I have seen have zippers and openings looking very difficult)
- drop off the charity quilt and get some new ones to quilt.
- make a fox block

Well, we shall see...I could have extended this with other tasks but this is just getting confusing now. Probably need some time to re-hash my plans.

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday #81


Saturday 6 July 2024

Festival of Quilts 2024

I had the bestest time at the show! The atmosphere was great, the vendor hall so very tempting and on top of that I had the biggest surprise on the day.

As my readers would know (I talked about this for weeks on end) I entered my wholecloth quilt into the show. I have entered quilts before in the show and was familiar with the process. Normally if you win an award you do get a phone call a few days before to attend the award presentation. Well, I did not get a phone call so told everyone in the family that I did not win an award this year. Went to the show on the Friday to take some photos of my quilt and spent some money in the vendor hall. Had a fabulous time and was just at the Wonderfil stand when a friend texted me from the show grounds congratulating me!!! She sent a photo of my quilt. I was absolutely stunned and somewhat gobsmacked. Had not looked at the display as yet and actually went over to have a look. 
Won two awards: First place in my category which was 'Other Techniques' and also a Special Award for Excellence in Machine Quilting. Made my day...I am so very pleased with this.
Apparently somebody forgot to ring for this category. Bit of a pity that I did not get to the award presentation, but realistically I could have gone of course even if I did not win, however it was a rainy and very cold evening so I did do some knitting instead.

So finally I can share some process photos which I have been waiting for:

Finished project: can honestly say that this is probably the first time I was really happy with every aspect of my workmanship (...and this is big for me, does not happen that often!)
The centre motif: stitched with a combination of rulers, freehand and also used one of Cindy Needham's stencils (rope) for the inner border.
Lots of feather arrangements
Amish Curling Feather border: put the learnings from one of Bethanne Nemesh' workshop ( I think it was called Feather Fiesta) into practice
Lots of texture: chose to do mainly tiny lines in the background. While the main elements were stitched with Aurifil 50/2 thread I did use 100wt Invisafil thread of the same colour to totally flatten the background. Included a little bit of a microstipple in the feather centers, however that was tedious and very heavy-going on the eyes. 

I am so glad I finished this. This was a design that I started back in 2018 when I did a workshop with Cindy Needham. Was so enthused in her class that I drew up an entire wholecloth in the class. I was going to stitch this out but as the design needed several tidy ups never quite got around to it. Over the years then I altered the design several times...never quite happy with it until last year when I finally had enough and spent the time to finalise the design.

Well, onto the next project...


Thursday 27 June 2024

Another Tote Bag - to Do Tuesday #79

This is what I was supposed to be doing last week:

- finalise my quilt show entry ...only need to put a cover on the label, prepare my bag and that's it!)
- finish the quilting-in-the-ditch on my background filler project
- continue to knit in the evenings ( currently trialing a raglan jumper and also need to make a start on a second sock)
- keep looking at my Etsy shop until the pressure becomes so great that I will actually start on a new pattern.

Well, have not done a lot of this other then getting my quilt show entry ready. Instead I tidied up my sewing room a bit (always dangerous) and found this
The cool cat fabric...bought at a quilt show, I cannot even remember how long ago. Had just enough for two panels and with that I got side tracked into making another bag.
I used an old pattern from Rebecca Mae Designs called the Victoria Tote bag. I made this bag several times already over the years for myself and also my daughters. The bag is just so useful...just the right size to carry all the essentials, with a zippered pocket to put your phone or the house keys in and it holds your water bottle comfortably as well. Always liked this bag and have used mine a lot. So rather than looking for a new pattern I used this tried and trusted pattern again.

Turned out lovely
Nice and sturdy. Would have been great if I would have had more fabric to match the cats up on each side, but I only had two identical panels, so the sides do not match. Still is fun to look at and I actually used the fabric for what it was intended for.

For the remainder of the week I will put down only one task because next week is the quilt show week and I know that I will not be doing much.

In the meantime I will try to finish off my stitching in the ditch on my background filler project. Almost done, only a few more lines to go and then the fun of Freemotion will start in earnest.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #79 over at Quilt Schmilt.


Wednesday 19 June 2024

Quilting With Invisafil - To Do Tuesday #78

Last week I planned for:
- to sew up a cover for my label for the wholecloth and also prepare the hanging sleeve✅
- maybe make a start on my next background filler project
- seriously look at a new pattern for my Etsy shop (which I have neglected over the last few months). - Well, I did look at it, but that's about all!

I started on my background filler project with the rather tedious task of quilting in the ditch. As this is an improvisational piece the quilting in the ditch has to be done largely freehand. A definite skill to practice! I am using Invisafil 100wt from Wonderfil Threads for the most invisible stitch in the ditch Using three different colours:
Antique White on the left, Orange (in the background) and Nude on the right (Yep, started another thread collection). I could have used just the nude colour...this would have blended nicely with everything as Invisafil does blend into the colour you are quilting, but given that I had the other colours as well, I used them for the most invisible finish.
Many people find Invisafil fiddly. Must say I don't...I have my tension on the lower end (on the Bernina Q20 on 2.25), use Decobob prewounds (80wt) in the bobbin and go in manual mode rather slowly. Never had any issues with that.
The thread just sinks in and virtually becomes not noticeable. Gives a really nice finish. Also made use of my new foot, the 72 S...a ruler foot with a slit, so you can switch between sewing feet if you need to without cutting your thread. Actually forgot that I got this...I have a couple of straight lines in this piece and only remembered when I was about to change the foot. 

So, I am working away at this, hoping that I can start the freemotionquilting some time next week.

For the remainder of the week I am going to
- finalise my quilt show entry ...only need to put a cover on the label, prepare my bag and that's it!)
- finish the quilting-in-the-ditch on my background filler project
- continue to knit in the evenings ( currently trialing a raglan jumper and also need to make a start on a second sock)
- keep looking at my Etsy shop until the pressure becomes so great that I will actually start on a new pattern.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #78 over a Quilt Schmilt.

Happy Quilting


Tuesday 11 June 2024

The Nude Quilt

Finished the quilting on another charity quilt which I ended up calling 'The Nude Quilt'. It is an exceptionally well made quilt top...the seams mainly line up and the maker has taken great care in painstakingly cutting out a motif to put into the corner stones for the sashing. Those little corner stones are just 1-1/2in squares, so that would have taken a lot of patience to cut out. The motifs then re-appear in the striking border. 
The corners are neatly mitered. Love the muted colouring of this quilt and am assuming that the fabrics are quite old. Love doing these charity quilts. When I am quilting these, I am always wondering who made this, for what purpose...was it meant to be a gift or did somebody just love the colours of the fabric.

Anyway, initially I was going to do some ruler work in the charm squares, however then decided that this quilt would look best if I just ditched it. It is wonderfully flat and having just stitched in the ditch lets the fabric choices shine. I decided that this is what the maker must have had in mind.
See those little corner stones...too cute! Like little diamonds all over the quilt.

I have not done stitching -in-the-ditch for a while and thought I practice cutting my thread tails off rather than burying them. Well, that did not work for me...I did cut a few off but went straight back to burying my threads. Not that it does not does, I just find it really difficult to trust that and straight away fall back into burying those threads.

A little bit about my machine. I am stitching on a Bernina Q20 and was reminded the other day that some people might find it useful to read about the settings and how I use this machine.

I stitched in the ditch with my favourite ditch ruler from Handiquilter (the right one in the photo below)
I like it because it has the quarter inch notch on both sides, so I can easily switch between stitching on top of the seam or next to it which is handy when you are stitching down a quilt and the ditch side of the seams of each block alternate as you go down the quilt.
In terms of settings, I do all my ruler work in BSR2 (which is the Precision Mode on HQ), i.e. the needle stops moving when I stop moving the fabric in contrast to BSR1 where the needle keeps going when you stop moving the fabric. Find that just a bit precarious with a ruler next to the needle.
For this quilt I had just the right coloured thread, in fact it was a perfect match with the red of the sashing.
It is one of the small Aurifil spools that I acquired a long time ago when I was still stitching on the DSM. I have a side spool for the machine, however the thread is wound crosswise, so I put it on the top as per normal and it worked just fine. No problem at all.
Also used a different thread in the bobbin as the backing was multi-coloured. Chose a soft pink that just sunk into the fabric. Had no pokies either top or bottom as both threads were Aurifil 50/2 weight. With a little bit of care when setting the bobbin and top tension you can absolutely avoid pokies. The domestic sewing machine needles that this machine uses of course helps with that. I stitched this with an 80/12 Jeans needle. Strong needle with a fine point and good to use when you quilt with some speed.

What next for me?

Missed out on the To Do Tuesday Link Up again for 2 weeks, I think. Since then I finished my wholecloth and am currently preparing it for the show. Will show photos of the wholecloth in July once the show is happening as my entry is a juried one so you cannot have photos of it circulating. Am I happy with it? I am, however it does look rather plain so not sure how it will go. Always interesting at quilt must be interested in FMQ to recognise the amount of work and effort that goes into a wholecloth even a seemingly plain one.

For the week ahead I am planning
- to sew up a cover for my label for the wholecloth and also prepare the hanging sleeve
- maybe make a start on my next background filler project
- seriously look at a new pattern for my Etsy shop (which I have neglected over the last few months).

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #77To Do Tuesday #77 over at Quilt Schmilt

Happy Quilting


Saturday 8 June 2024

Basting on the Q20

I love basting on the Q20 and have been using this function extensively.

One of the things I find extraordinarily useful is the programming that is possible for the Q20. It has five slots to occupy for different thread combinations that you use all the time. 
Here are the ones that I use most with Gutermann highlighted as I put this in as a new preset. Feeling a bit frugal at the moment and decided to use some of my older threads to baste my quilts to use them up. So I decided to use the old Gutermann thread. Must admit I am not one to believe that my machine loves a particular thread like I so often read in the various quilting groups. To me it is a machine and it needs to handle whatever I throw at it from very fine 100wt Invisafil thread to the more robust 40 TEX Rasant thread. Opening the slots will show you the settings that you have set, i.e. the setting for each of the modes (BSR1 - 3 plus Manual mode. With a bit of adjustment and tweaking I set up my machine for Gutermann thread the other day so that when I come to do some basting next time I only will need to hit the program button to select Gutermann and it will set itself to the settings that I have selected. Very handy! The only thing that has happened to me from time to time is that I forget to switch programs and for example quilt with Aurifil 50/2 thread at a setting for Rasant. 

I have a short video on how to baste on the Q20 on Pinterest if you are interested. Basically I just meander over the entire quilt stitching (carefully) around my pins and taking them out as I go along. I do use a highly visible colour in order to prevent accidentally ripping into my quilting when I take the basting stitch out. The basting has 3 different options on the machine, 1in,2in and 1/4in. I use the 1/2in option for the overall meander and the 1/4in feature to secure the edges of the quilt.

For my current quilt, which is a gorgeous little quilt from the Orange Tree Quilters charity group, I used a lime green thread instead of my usual red thread as there is a lot of red colour in the quilt.
The basting is very quick, in fact this was so easy to complete I basted another one of my quilts straight after. Once basted I can leave the quilt sitting around until I am ready to do the quilting. Nothing will move, the basting keeps everything nicely secured.
Another background quilting project coming up for which I will use Invisafil thread.

Felt very frugal this week as I also stitched some batting together to make one bigger piece for another quilt. Had lots of little leftovers though and spent some time to sew them all together. Made quite a sizable piece.
This will be for practice only as I sewed them together fairly roughly and also did not concern myself too much with the different quality of the batting. It's amazing though how much you can save by just sewing strips together. This will give me two decently sized practice bits.

Happy quilting!


Wednesday 15 May 2024

To Do Tuesday #74 - Getting back on track

My last recorded goals were:
 - continue to knit up the sock
- continue with the backfilling of the wholecloth
- maybe piece another fox which is already cut out and ready to go.

Now this is a while ago...things really got out of whack due to our kitchen renovation which has been dragging on and on. However, we are able to cook again (big plus!!) and there is an end in sight (or so one hopes).

I did finish my socks in all this mess and managed to continue on the wholecloth in starts and stops, however have not done any work on the fox blocks. 

This week then I had to focus in on the charity quilts which are required by the Orange Tree Quilter's group for next week. Thankfully I had my spot back where I usually baste my quilts and could make a start. Over the last two days I finished two charity quilts.

This one...
Very bright and vibrant. Finished that one with just an overall meander.

and then there was this one...

Much more my colours! Loved the indigenous fabric used in this quilt and was fairly bored with just meandering so I tried just wavy lines. Have wanted to do this for a while using some of my rulers. As this is for the charity group I had to keep the scale fairly large (the group does not want the quilts too heavily quilted). I think if I did this for myself I would reduce the distance between the lines by a good one inch. 
I used these two rulers
A Handiquilter Wave C ruler on the left and Amanda Murphy's largest wave ruler. While I could have done this freehand I did want a bit more structure to this and wanted my lines to look randomly consistent. Probably the most relaxing quilting session that I have done in a while. I started from the middle out not following any particular method, literally just going for it. I did pay a little bit of attention to the spacing but that was about it. The piecing of the blocks provided me reference lines, i.e. some place where I could orient my rulers on, however if that was a bit out at times it really did not matter whatsoever as I was mostly straight. Very enjoyable to do and fairly quick to execute. looks great and suits this little quilt.

For the coming week I am thinking of:
- attaching a binding to the first charity quilt so that they are ready to go
- continue on my wholecloth background quilting. Have two more sides to fill in and that's it. then it is washing, squaring off and binding.
- prepare my online entry for the quilt show
- unlikely, but maybe finish one more fox block.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #74 over at Quilt Schmilt when their link is up.


Thursday 18 April 2024

Still Here!

We are by now in the midst of our kitchen renovation...all the contents of the kitchen are placed across the family room and it is very messy indeed. We have set up a tiny coffee station with the microwave on a table, but have no sink or water in the kitchen, hence need to run to the laundry for every little bit. It's interesting to say the least. Dinners are a hassle as we also have no cook top as yet. During last week the work men were in and out so I did not do much at all other than trying to keep the place reasonably clean.

In terms of quilting not much is going on. I almost finished my wholecloth but cannot show any pictures of the whole thing as yet as I am thinking of putting it in the upcoming quilt show. However, here is a little picture of how intense this has become in terms of backfilling
I decided on those tiny echo lines as a backfiller to really flatten out the surrounds. Currently I only have the outside of the last border to do but I reckon that it will take a few more weeks...just in time to put my entry form in for the show. As I need to concentrate in order to quilt this I have not continued on that during the last week.

I did however manage to do one of my fox blocks. I am using up the last of the Dryad fabric from Shannon Brinkley. Just love the colours of that.

Planning to do a couple of those every week once things have settled down a bit.

In the week that the kitchen was demolished and the new cupboards were put in I just sat there knitting one of the socks that I had started earlier. My sock obsession started last year...very enjoyable once you get the hang of it, however it is best to continue to knit socks because it is very easy to forget the intricacies of how to do them as I found out last week. I finished one sock
Looks a bit funny because of the ribbing however looks very nice when put on. this one is for my daughter who has got slightly bigger feet than I have so I just extended the foot a bit more. Am onto the second sock however am trying something new. I got these new knitting needles last year, called the Addi Crasy Trio Needles. Normally you knit socks on DPNs which is ok but takes a bit longer due to the handling of the needles. When I saw the Trio needles I thought that this might be the solutions to go a bit faster. They are developed by a German woman, Sylvia Rasch and there are a few videos on the net on how to use them. So, for the second sock I am knitting with them
You have only three needles which are flexible, two for your stitches and one working needle. My blue stitch markers indicate where there would be a break normally if you would use four needles. Very unusual to knit with as they are very small and I felt at times as if I had two left hands, just could not coordinate myself. However you do get used to them very quickly and the knitting does go quicker as you only have to change needles twice. There is absolutely no way your stitches are going to slip off as they are safely tucked away on the flexible part. Since this photo I had to do it again as I missed a stitch, so got more practice than I wished for. While I was at it also tried the cast on with these needles and must say that that worked incredibly well and was ten times easier than casting on with the DPNs. We will see how the shaping theory this should be easier on these needles as you have got more room to accommodate the increase in stitches. We shall see...

Anyway, for the coming week I will
- continue to knit up this sock
- continue with the backfilling of the wholecloth
- maybe piece another fox which is already cut out and ready to go.

Was going to link up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday #69 however it seems that that linky party has ended. May have to come back tomorrow to have another look. 


Thursday 28 March 2024

Working With Invisafil

It's been a couple of weeks again since I posted last. We have been incredibly busy with our upcoming kitchen renovation. All of a sudden it was all go, go go...we have been running around literally the whole week looking at appliances, getting things organised and life in general.

My wholecloth quilt is coming along however came to a standstill last week. I finished all the feathering, framing and grid and was about to start backfilling, however I did not like my thread choice. I am quilting the main elements of the wholecloth with a 50/2 Aurifil cotton thread. This is the thread I use most of the time and up to now I have also used this for backfilling. However, ever since I have done Bethanne Nemesh' online classes I have developed a taste for 100wt Invisafil thread from Wonderfil Speciality Threads. As I did not have a matching colour I had to order another spool in which came last weekend. I started to backfill a little bit last weekend and yes, this was the right choice for filling in the background against the 50/2 thread. Looks absolutely fabulous...I bought a spool of Soft Gold Invisafil which is almost identical to the light gold Aurifil colour that I have used to stitch the main parts. This way, the background stitching is not overpowering the main elements but gently stays in the background.
Here I am filling in the space behind the first lot of feathers with tiny, tiny echoes. Looks very nice but is quite labour intensive. Unfortunately I have left some space in the outer border where the Amish feathers run along. Still a bit undecided on how I will fill this. Definitely will echo around twice but not sure whether I will carry that echo filling into the outer border. Had a look around on the net and was reminded that Diane Gaudinsky uses the echo filling quite extensively around her feather work. It does look good when finished but is very time consuming. We'll see what I feel like when I get to that point.

This is all I have done quilting wise this week and I am almost getting a bit stressed as there are other projects that want to be done.

In case people are wondering how I am stitching this on the Bernina Q20.
I am using the open toe foot with an 80/12 Jeans needle. This foot can be a bit tricky...I have had the foot catching on previous stitch lines in the past, however was relieved that it has not happened on this project. Behaving itself absolutely fine and visibility is great. I have been stitching in Manual mode most of the time except for the times when I have used the ruler foot #96 with a straight/circle ruler to do the framing and the circles. Find the manual mode a bit easier for detailed work as it gives me that rhythmic humming of the motor which almost puts you into some sort of Zen mode in terms of precision stitching. Regulated mode is somewhat faster and is harder to control when stitching tinier elements.

Well, so far so good...will be interesting to see how this progresses amongst the chaos of the household. Also want to put together a new pattern and have two more charity quilts to complete. The days are just not long enough...


Wednesday 13 March 2024

5 Essential Tips When Wholecloth Quilting

I previously wrote a series of posts about wholecloth quilting starting HERE.

This post is an extension to that. Not having done a wholecloth in some time, I took some photos as I went along and also started to think about all the things that can go wrong when attempting a wholecloth. What follows are 5 critical points where things can get a bit haywire and will affect the outcome of your project.

1. Mark the crosshairs!
This is a really important step as your entire wholecloth is based on those few lines. To do this press your fabric really well and then fold it in half. Press the center line...don't worry about whether this is ever going to come out. It will! Then fold your fabric on the vertical and repeat. Now take these lines and very carefully mark the center lines on your fabric with a fabric marker of your choice.

Take your time with this task. I also then mark in the 45 degree lines using a ruler.
Don't worry if your 45 degree lines do not exactly end up in the corners of your fabric. Unless you have been extremely precise in your cutting the lines are likely to be slightly off in the corner but correct in relation to the vertical and horizontal crosshair lines and that is what's important.

2. Marking
Test your chosen marker before you start. If you followed my blog you would be aware that I had a bit of a mishap at this stage. I made some mistakes in tracing my design and rinsed it off. To my horror, some of my lines turned brownish and did not come out. I believe that this had to do with my lightbox emitting heat at the edges which set the blue water erasable marker. I ended up buying another piece of fabric and starting again, this time tracing the design without a light box just to be sure.

3. Equipment
When designing your wholecloth think about the tools that you are going to use. I obviously forgot about this point for my recent wholecloth having designed center motif circles for which I actually did not have the right ruler. I could have solved this by stitching the circles freehand which I have done in the past however this is extremely challenging as it is super hard to keep it a 100% round and on a wholecloth this is going to be extremely visible. I ended up buying the Echo clips for my Bernina Q20. They just clip on and can be used to extend the size of your ruler. Similarly, I had not thought about my beautiful Amish feathers. To stitch out the spine in that nice rounded way, I also had to use a ruler, but this time use it in a somewhat sliding motion to make the curves as consistent as possible. Definitely had not thought about this before and it took me ages to do that. So planning how you going to tackle stitching out your wholecloth is a definite must. In addition, do a test run of your stitching to get more familiar with your design. Unfortunately with a wholecloth you usually start with the center motif which is also the main thing that your eye focusses on when first looking at it so you want to get that down as clean as possible.
3. Basting
Do not skip on this stage. A wholecloth project has to be basted fairly heavily, I would say every 3-4in in a grid as you are shifting fabric around as you stitch the various sections. You start by stitching out the general frame, starting in the center and moving outwards usually so you going going to have a lot of unquilted loft around which in my case puffed out enormously as I am using a wool batting. The basted grid contains the loft in its own little square and prevents it from shifting over to the next section.

4. Expect the Unexpected
In my experience there is always something that goes wrong and usually several unexpected issues pop up. I am used to that by now and do not get overly excited by it anymore. In my current wholecloth I had an interesting issue, almost hilarious after my mishap with the marking. For the first time ever my blue marks were fading. This has never happened before. This is what was left of my grid by the end of one week. Not sure why this happened and whether it has to do with the current heat wave we are in. It is often quite sticky inside the house as we are running an evaporative air conditioner for most of the time. Probably not ideal for a water erasable marker.
So this was not the idea but it meant that I had to stitch out my frame plus the feathers literally in that one week and in between reinforce my blue lines (where I needed them most) so that I would not loose them altogether. It was hard core but I managed to get it done. So much for that lovely idea to stitch this out in a relaxed and well thought out way! I was literally stitching every day for several hours.
5. Skill level
Consider your skill level and the purpose of the quilt. Are you just doing this for your own enjoyment or are you planning a show quilt. I am a relatively sloppy marker which is somewhat surprising as I am also a perfectionist, however as I know my weaknesses I do know that I have to pay attention to this as I stitch. I will usually correct my design as I stitch along. I stitch feather plumes usually very slowly looking ahead and around me to make sure they are angled in a way that makes sense.
I don't necessarily follow my lines at all times and have in this picture rounded some of the angles on the inside of the feather plumes a bit more. I was not too concerned about having to do this on most of the curves as I by now have a particular angle and size I stitch my feather plumes with so I was fairly confident to be able to do this in a consistent manner.
Another issue which I think people underestimate is the amount of starts and stops and the time it takes to stitch out an intricate design like this. With this Amish feather every curvature is stitched in sections. You could backtrack and absolutely do it all in one hit, but again, that would be very visible and if you are doing a show quilt and probably not recommended. This sort of stitching can become incredibly tedious and frustrating, so something to think about before you start. On top of that I do still bury my threads, so it was after each section, stop...bury the beginning and end, then start again, making sure every stop and start looked good on the front as well as the back. I do remember that people found this extremely annoying when I was teaching my Mini Wholecloth class and most people just backtracked to get things done. That is absolutely fine, however it will show on your project, so you will need to decide beforehand how you want your wholecloth to look and for how much intensity you are prepared.

I did manage to start my grid quilting so I can follow my lines with a ruler, but for now I am having a bit of a break.

For the To Do Tuesday list from last week...well, did not do anything else but stitch this wholecloth.

For the remainder of the week I am planning 
- to have a break
- wash some fabric for the Fox quilt, and 
- maybe do a Fox block, but that's a few other things on this week!

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #65 over at Quilt Schmilt.


Tuesday 5 March 2024

To Do Tuesday #64

My list from last week was smallish
- pinning, basting and making a start on the wholecloth; backing fabric is ready to go, just needs to be cut and then I will need to make a decision on thread.✅
- wash the background fabric for the Fox quilt❌
- maybe make a Fox block to get started on that project which will be ongoing until I have enough blocks for a quilt.

So I made a start (finally) on the wholecloth. I was thinking to do a post in the next few weeks on the trials and tribulations of wholecloth quilting...things never go as expected!

I started off by testing my new Echo feet attachments for the Bernina Q20. Ended up finally getting those as my wholecloth design incorporates circles for which I do not have the right size rulers (funny that with a draw full of rulers!).
Was a bit worried about these as I had read that they are fiddly to put on and also prone to breakage. Gave them a whirl though and was pleasantly surprised. They do clip on very easily and are also very easy to remove. Had no issues with them at all. Tried them out on a practice piece to get a feel for my design. This is what that looked like.
My practice piece turned out nice and I was ready to go
Pinned and then basted my wholecloth and as you can see I baste my piece very heavily, approximately every 3 - 4in, always in a grid as it distributes the puff evenly.
My batting is wool and it is much more puffy than I expected. In the past I have used two lots of batting, wool and cotton, but did not want to go there this time as this is quite a sizable project and quilting with two battings does make the quilt very hard and heavy.

I did have some issues with putting my frames in as the puffiness distorted my lines and I am a tad out of practice. Took me a moment to get a grip on that but eventually got there. After having done the square frames with a ruler I then looked at my feather sprays. Inititally I was going to stitch the spine out on the inner feathers but not the Amish feathers...for those I was going to stitch the spine as I go along. Too easy I thought!

Well, when I stitched out my first feather spine I could feel how the puffiness was working against me and I had a little bit of an issue keeping my lines straight. Then looking at my Amish feathers I thought that there is no way I am going to keep that nice and round just going along backtracking to create the spine. Additionally I did consider that Amish feathers depend on their nice roundness to look good and by then my perfectionism had truly started taking over.

The Amish feathers in this design are based on a 4in circle, however to fit them into the border the circle had to reach out to touch the next circle, so it was not just a matter of stitching a circle with a ruler. I had to stitch against my ruler moving it along ever so slightly to stay on track. Needless to say, this took ages to do. I used Amanda Murphy's 4in circle ruler for this which has a bit of a maybe not non-slip, but harder to slip backing which makes it easier to handle the ruler. I did not put on a more rough Handiquilter grip strip because I needed the ruler to be able to be gently moved as I went along. 
Also, as the feathers go in opposing directions I had to do each circle element individually, so start and stop, tie off and start again. I have by now finished this and for the most part slowly stitching against the circle ruler worked really well and I am happy with my spines, but promptly encountered a new issue, i.e. my blue markings are fading which is almost funny given that I had a problem with the marker leaving brown marks in the first lot of fabric. So I am forever reinforcing some of my lines, but have also been stitching every day to get the framing done. After that is done it does not matter so much whether the markings are in there or not. I have drawn the feathers so much that I will be able to follow my own stitch path without an issue, just have to make sure that I reinforce where my feathers end in relation to the border and frame. I think it is our weather over here. It has been hot and sticky and the air conditioner is running most of the time. Couple that with sweaty hands which is probably enough to make some of those marks fade.

Anyway, finished the frame and the spines by now and am onto the feathers. I am stitching this with a light yellow Aurifil 50/2 thread which just blends into the fabric. Now wish that I had chosen something a bit darker as it blends a bit too well and is at times a bit hard to see. But so be it, looks great on the patterned backing.

So for next week I am planning to 
- continue on the wholecloth by stitching out the feathers (and then probably have a bit of a break from it)
wash the background fabric for the Fox quilt
- maybe make a Fox block to get started on that project which will be ongoing until I have enough blocks for a quilt
- write some instructions for my Mini Wholecloth in order to put that in my Etsy shop.

Bit ambitious, but we'll see...

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #64 over at Quilt Schmilt.


Tuesday 27 February 2024

To Do Tuesday #63 - Slow Going!

It has been a couple of weeks again. My last list was very small:
- baste and quilt another little charity quilt
- start the marking of my wholecloth quilt.

Well, I have done two little charity quilts...
Just did an overall stipple on this and the next one as well as I am still struggling with my shoulder. My cortisone shot has only worked for about two months and then I injured the same shoulder again. As it is the right one this time there is not much I can do in terms of resting it so I just have to be super careful. Very much a hassle!
The next one is a little quilt with a flannel top.
Enjoyed quilting on the flannel...never done this before and was not sure what to expect. Really like the softness of the flannel. Had some slight tension issues in the border but apart from that, no problem. The only thing that I did find was that the stitching was harder to see as it just sunk in which was not helped by the light lavender thread that I was using.

So with that done, I tackled my wholecloth. Last time I attempted this I had some marks left on the fabric and also had some inconsistencies when tracing off my design. Went super slow in my preparation for this and took my time. Basically took most of today to trace the whole lot.
Probably a bit hard to see. The new fabric is 'Shadow Play' from Maywood Studios in a creamy colour. For some unknown reason this turned out quite big and was quite hard to align. Initially I just traced off a quarter of the design, however that did not work that well. Too much movement in the fabric while tracing. This time I traced the entire half off and then flipped and did the other half. That worked quite well, mind you I spent a long time making sure everything aligned. 
My tracing is a bit untidy in spots as I also corrected a few things here and there as I went along. As I had drawn this design out on the Ipad I was curious to see how that translated into actually drawing it out to scale. Must say that that went really well...the feathers were easy to draw with my particular angle and thickness and I did not have to spent a lot of time making it look pretty as I drew them exactly as I would stitch them. My husband remarked that he thought I was going to stitch this freehand! Yes, I could, but it would not turn out very consistent I would think and as this is a rather involved project. I did not want to risk it. You probably wonder why I drew the pebbles in...this is not so much to stitch them out exactly as they are drawn there, but rather a way to ensure that I end up with a pebble at the end of the row. If it was smaller you could eyeball this but not over the distance that I made that section and there is nothing worse than going along and realising in the last minute that you cannot fill out the corner properly.
Thought a lot about the stitching as I went along...did not leave myself enough space at the outer edge and added 1/4in in width and length and also had to correct a few feathers to ensure that there was a gap between the binding and feathers. Also thought about whether to stitch the spine out or stitch the spine as I go along. Both methods are quite fine and I think I will definitely stitch the spine as I go for the Amish feather. Not sure about the other one yet. One annoying thing though...I developed this wholecloth many years ago before I got used to using rulers in my quilting. Would have been easier to stitch if I had designed this around particular rulers to use. Was looking today at various rulers I could use...not sure yet...if I use one of the Pro Echo rulers for the centre frame it will be slightly different. I will wait and see how difficult that is going to be when I get there. For now I just want this stitched has been hanging around for such a long time that it is almost annoying. There are definitely a few things where I thought that I could have done that a bit better, but so be it...there is always next time.

My list for next week includes
- pinning, basting and making a start on the wholecloth; backing fabric is ready to go, just needs to be cut and then I will need to make a decision on thread.
- wash the background fabric for the Fox quilt
- maybe make a Fox block to get started on that project which will be ongoing until I have enough blocks for a quilt.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #63 over at Quilt Schmilt


Popular Posts