Eye on the Machine—Stippling, Day One

Here’s the view from my quilting chair:


I’ve just started down the long road to stipple the background of a king-size quilt. I’m hoping to get the stippling done in about 12 days and I’ll probably go through about 3,000 meters of thread.The feathers are quilted with Mettler Silk Finish 50wt. 3 ply cotton, and the stippling is done in 100wt. silk thread. The batting is Hobbs Heirloom Wool. This thing is HEAVY! So, starting this portion of the quilt today brought some things to mind:

  • Warm up! You need to warm up before starting to stipple, especially if you haven’t done stippling in a while. I had an overconfident moment, and didn’t really warm up enough before I started on the quilt today, so the first part of the stippling is not as great as it should be. I say 20 minutes to warm up minimum, but if you haven’t stippled in a while take an hour before your first go on the quilt. If you do some stippling every day you may not need to warm up very long, or at all before your first stitch on the quilt every day.
  • Don’t stress! Okay, so the first part of the stippling on my quilt isn’t perfect. Big deal. Yes, I quilt for show, but not only am I NOT going to take it out (oh please, at what, 60 stitches per inch with really fine thread? I don’t think I’m taking that out!) but I’m not going to worry about it. This is tiny stippling on a huge quilt, so who’s going to know if one section isn’t perfect?
  • Take breaks! Lots of breaks. I thought my shoulders, arms and back were sore yesterday, just from quilting the feathers in the foreground. Today, oh my word, whatever didn’t hurt yesterday hurts today, to add to the hurts from yesterday. Stippling is hard work, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Frequent breaks are the answer. In fact, that’s what I’m taking right now, sleeping cat on my lap and all!