Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Quilting Part of the Fairy Tale Quilt

I spoke a little about my quilting process for my fairy tale quilt yesterday but wanted to talk a bit more about it today and link up with Gemma at Pretty Bobbins and her IQuilt Thursday. This is only the second quilt I have attempted free motion quilting (FMQ) on so I am a newbie!! It has taken me back to my kindergarten days when I felt like the pencil was in control of me instead of me being in control of the pencil. I do think of FMQ as a form of writing and the sewing machine as my pencil.

I began to think of the quilting as I was piecing this quilt together hoping I would be struck with an awesome idea. That didn't happen so I turned to my friends for their opinions :). Some of the Wombat girls as well as Nicole suggested a vine or beanstalk type quilting. I thought that was a great idea and started looking on Pinterest for quilting ideas. I kind of had an idea in my head but couldn't see it clearly. I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish with the quilting or at least a few things I knew I didn't want: 1. i didn't want the quilting to compete with the stories in the quilt blocks 2. there is a lot going on in the quilt so I didn't want the quilting to be busy and 3. I wanted the quilt (and the characters in it) to lay flat and not crinkle up (eliminating stippling) 4. I wanted to practice some FMQ and 5. I wanted to keep things simple and enjoy the quilting process because it is not my favorite part of quilting. I am hoping the more I can quilt the more I will like it or at least be comfortable doing it. I have many quilts I plan on making and would like to be able to quilt them, for the most part, myself.

I decided on doing this sprout like design. For minimal quilting and easy math I planned to make 10 beanstalks 8 inches wide and went to work marking vertical lines on my quilt to give myself some boundaries to stay with in. As I marked those lines I thought to myself, "Are 10 beanstalks 8" wide and 82" high minimal quilting? They sounded kind of gigantic to me. I then decided to do some straight line and echo quilting and would quilt each block on an individual basis. I started with the castle since i always start quilting in the middle of the quilt and smooth it out towards the edges. The castle is a huge block approximately 18x24. I wasn't sure that outline quilting was the way to go either. Are you seeing a pattern here? So I did what every good quilter does when they are in a dilemma: I stalled and perused fabric :). While I was looking at fabric I came across Wallflowers by Alison Harris. I thought there was a woodgrain type print, which I can't resist, so I clicked on the thumbnail and it was actually a stem print with an occasional leaf. Bingo!! It was the exact picture of quilting I had seen in my mind.

During my quilting on the castle I tarted with the darning foot. I  felt like it had control instead of me so I switched to a walking foot. Then I decided this was my time to practice and went back to the darning foot.

The quilting is far from perfect. As a matter of fact there are times when it is herky jerky since I do not have a smooth transition from stopping point to restarting point. Does anyone have any tips on how to make a smooth transition when you reach the point when the needle has passed where your hands have control of the quilt? I can live with the imperfections. I have a better feel for how to control the foot pedal, my hands, and the quilt as I move it under the needle.

It might even have been a little bit of fun at times. Except the part when I had so much quilt in the throat of the machine and it kept bumping my elbow and there wasn't room to barely put my hands to maneuver the quilt. I liked trying out different shaped leaves, some pointy tipped others round.

The biggest challenge I faced was because I decided to keep the quilting around the castle block and I had traced the diamonds in the purple turrets. I didn't want to pull those stitches out so I had to stop the quilting line when i reached the castle then restart the quilting line on the other side of the castle. That meant burying 60 knots. That was a lot of knots!!  I free handed 3 clouds in the castle sky. I don't like their shape and think I may redo them.


The quilting is very subtle on the front and shows up best on the solid flannel on the back. I used the darning needle for these lines and just practiced controlling the needle and tried to keep them straight then added a leaf here and there. The blue vertical lines I marked at the beginning never were used as I ended up quilting horizontally.  This is the beginning of my quilting journey. I am thankful for my friends and other bloggers who share their stories and give tips to help me improve my work. You can pop over to Gemma's to see some beautiful quilting and read about other's process with quilting.
Grab button for I Quilt @ Pretty Bobbins

14 comments:

  1. The more I see of this quilt, the more I love it! You did a fantastic job on it and I think your quilting choice was just perfect!! I hope you put a label on the quilt after all this beautiful work! :)

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  2. Your story book quilt is sweet! Great job on all those blocks, Gina! And good for you taking on free motion quilting. I agree that the design you chose was perfect for this quilt. Love those little leaves.

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  3. This is amazing! You did an awesome job. I agree with you, the quilting is my least favorite part. I'm so impressed you dove right in to learning. It's beautiful!

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  4. such an amazing quilt - and I can't believe this is only the second time you have done FMQ. It looks great :-)

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  5. Awesome! I am so proud of you and your great effort at the new! I must get on that fmq wagon myself here soon! Great job...amazing quilt, the whole thing!!! :)

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  6. I used a fmq machine once in a shop. It was very different- it feels like the fabric is gliding around with no direction. Is that the kind of machine you use?

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  7. Your quilting is perfect Gina! Fantastic job! I love all the little leaves here and there, it's definitely perfect for this masterpiece!

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  8. I really like your analogy of the sewing machine being the pencil - it makes sense for FMQ newbies (like me!).

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  9. I LOVE your quilting on this beautiful quilt... and thank you for explaining and showing us how it came to be. Your fmq choices turned out to be perfect for your fairy tale quilt! I just love it.

    susie

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  10. I really love the result of this quilt! My "quilting" is just the straight lines and that is all :) I have not the quilting foot and probably I never buy it :) Gina, your quilt is perfect! :) *

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  11. The quilting (and quilt!) is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your process Gina :) I too have drawn quilting inspiration from the pattern in prints, it's funny when it's sitting right in front of you :) I generally find more thinking I do the better my final idea is, even if it's simple lol often I need to go full circle with quilting designs :) thanks for linking up!!

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  12. You did such a wonderful job Gina! I love how much thought went into it!

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  13. I think it turned out great. good for you for pushing through and practicing. the occasional leaf thrown in on the straight lines is a great pattern! can't believe you had to stop and start around the castle, though. 60 knots! I hate burying those, too, but you made a good choice.

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