Thursday, May 5, 2011

The one with its own post

Pin It I love every quilt that comes my way.  Well, probably 99% of them.  I can find the beauty in just about any quilt top, and I can see it not only for what it is, but what it could be.

A lot of quilts are gorgeous on their own.  Some need a little extra help.

This quilt I'm going to show you definitely falls into the former category.

This quilt is in no way my "style".  It's very dainty, very elegant, just downright pretty.  Not that "pretty" isn't my style.  You'll understand when you see it.

When my (new) customer brought it to me, I fell in love with it.  It's not secret that red is one of my favorite colors, and it was just so PRETTY!  I'm not a fan of toile at all, but what she did with toile, wow.  I couldn't wait to quilt it.

She wanted feathers.  Lots of pretty feathers.  Anywhere there was toile, she wanted feathers.  And in the red setting triangles.  No problemo!  I told her that I would be stitching in the ditch in everything.  This scared her.  For those of you that don't know (and she didn't know), I am the stitch in the ditch QUEEN.  It's the very first thing I learned to do on the longarm machine, and I have never had a complaint about my stitching popping out of the ditch (though it does happen sometimes).  Angled and curved stitch in the ditch are more difficult to do, because the longarm wants to just go in straight lines, whether they're vertical or horizontal.  It doesn't discriminate.  It just wants to go straight.  I wasn't scared of this quilt.  I promise!

What I didn't realize when she dropped it off was how much fullness I was going to have to fight with.  There was a lot of it!  Quilts that are put together on point will always have issues.  I don't care how excellent of a piecer you are.  On-point quilts are just that way.  All of that bias edge sometimes runs amok and you don't even realize it.  No fear.  I still was not worried.  Here is what the quilt looked like to begin with.

It doesn't look so bad draped over the counter, does it?  It's when you get it basted square across the machine that you realize WOOOOAAAAH!

Still.  Not worried.  The first thing I did was all of the stitching in the ditch.  Then I had to decide what I wanted to do in each of the pieced blocks.  We had discussed me choosing a single motif and repeating it in each of the blocks.  I changed my mind on that.  I have the entire set of Ronda's Rulers and not only was I dying to try them out (I've had them for 6 months or better), but I thought this quilt was just perfect for some curved cross hatching.

I did all (most) of the quilting, front and back, in a gorgeous, shiny rayon thread.  YES!  You can use rayon on a longarm machine!  In the on-point square in the center of each block, I did quarter inch curved cross hatching.  In each outer triangle within the block, I did half inch curved cross hatching.  And I LOVE it.

The next step was the feathers.  That took an entire day.  When I finished the feathers, I was supposed to be finished with the quilt.  But I decided to kick it up a notch.  She is showing this quilt at a state quilting organization meeting, and teaching her technique on half square triangles.  That, combined with the fact that she really wanted the feathers to stand out, made me decide to do a small stipple fill in every single open area of the toile.  Between the feathers, around the feathers, in the unquilted sections of the blocks, etc.  So it took me another day and a half, but it was worth it!

I took gobs and gobs of pictures of this quilt.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the full front before she came to pick it up.  But here is the finished product.

What do you think?  I ADORE IT!  I was so sad to see it go out the door.  But she promised that when she's done showing it (three shows) I can have it back to hang behind my quilting machine.  YAY!


  1. Lisa it's gorgeous. Gorgeous!!! I can't believe that's the same quilt. Way to go, you rockstar.

  2. so is stitching in the ditch and then quilting the heck out if it the trick to getting all that extra fullness taken care of? Looks UH-mazing!

  3. @Jenny
    I'm answering this both personally, via email, and on the comments section so that everyone can see it.
    I hope you really wanted an answer, otherwise, please disregard!

    People come into the shop and ask me all the time what my "secret" is to keeping quilts like this square, flat, no puckers or pleats. I always tell them it isn't something I can really teach them, and I'm sure they think I'm holding out on them, but I really don't think I can teach it! But I'll try to explain my tricks.

    Usually, quilts with fullness work themselves out as I stitch in the ditch, without any additional quilting needed (unless they're *really super duper bad*, like the Sunbonnet Sue quilt that I used as an example in my post for Quilting Gallery. The trick is to not "just" stitch in the ditch. A lot of quilters will stitch in the ditch, dragging all of the fullness with their needle so that when they get to the end of their section of quilting, they end up with a pleat. So I do this:

    I baste every row of every quilt square, both top and bottom (with this one, I just used the points as my guideline, and moved the fabric up or down with my channel lock on). Once I've basted it so that it's square and measures correctly on the sides, i know how much fullness I'm dealing with for each block. I do a lot (a-l-o-t) of one-handed quilting. As I'm stitching in the ditch, guiding my machine with my left hand, I use my right hand to hold the fabric down flat, push and pull it so that there are no pleats or puckers as I stitch, often putting a finger on each side of my hopping foot to be sure that I'm still getting a straight line.

    Very carefully executed stitch in the ditch will usually take care of fullness through the center of the quilt (though not borders) IF there is enough stitching in the ditch. Otherwise, yes, I work it out with additional quilting.

    This quilt didn't actually need the stipple fill. I did that because I really wanted the red half of each half square triangle to stick out and be three dimensional against the rest of the quilt.

    Sorry for the terribly long answer!

  4. T-riffic quilting! Red is my favorite color, too!

  5. Stunning! Thank you for sharing.

  6. My goal, if I can ever afford you, and if I ever make a quilt top worthy of you, is to have you quilt one of my quilts one day. Your work is amazing.

  7. Gorgeous quilt, and perfect quilting. I am glad you took the time to do the stippling. It really made the feathers pop. Thanks for the details of how you work in fullness. I do a lot of one handed quilting too whilst manipulating the fabric. Are you left handed? As you mention you are guiding the machine with your left hand, manipulating the fabric with your right (and I do it the other way around.)

  8. Another awesome quilt Lisa. Very gorgeous!

  9. I am in awe--this is really, truly beautifully done. You should be very proud, and your customer is going to be over the moon!