Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings #5

Mmmm....Quilting!When you have an idea pop into your head, you can try it out immediately, and the result is even better than you’d hoped it would be.

Despite all the misery, this quilt does have it’s enjoyable moments, like this one which is definitely a Quilting WFF. This is what’s supposed to happen when you quilt:

Border medallion quilting

This is one of the machine embroidered medallions in the outside border of The Misery Quilt. I’ve been a bit worried about these medallions since the beginning; the flower is really dense machine embroidery and the medallions are fused to the olive green background fabric and then the edges are sewn with a very small satin stitch in #100 silk thread, and when you put that many variables together, sometimes the finished product isn’t going to lay flat. I’ve been afraid all along that it might end up looking slightly bowl-like and ruffly around the edges in the end.

As an added bonus to the host of unknowns, I really hadn’t figured out how I was going to quilt the gold-ish background fabric behind the flowers either. All I could think of was echo quilting, which is very heavy, close together stitching, and not only might that heighten the chances for a bowl-like, bubbly outcome, echo quiting isn’t my strong point and there are lots of little squidgy points and dips around the edges of the flower, so I wasn’t sure echo quilting in that area was going to go well.

This morning I had an epiphany about the background quilting, and thought that these radial lines might be cool, since the area could probably use some straight quilting lines anyway. I took a wild “hey that looks about right” guess and figured that dividing up the outside edge of the oval into 3/8″ bits would look good, and it divided up evenly, believe it or not. It worked perfectly, from the marking to the last stitch, and it’s perfectly flat without a bubble or ruffle in sight. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was quilting it, because I could just tell it was going to look soooo cool!

*sigh* This is how quilting should be all the time…mmmmmm. Feeds the creative spirit, it does. 🙂

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The Misery Quilt progresses

I’ve been positively voluble lately. Maybe it’s because I finally feel recovered from the holidays or something. Today though, I give you fewer words and the promised pictures of The Misery Quilt in all it’s in progress, pain filled glory:

Inner border quilting, side center

I’ve hit a milestone: all the quilting lines that I marked with blue washout marker in October before I basted the quilt have now been quilted. Well, except for this little bit here that I missed, and didn’t notice until after I squirted the area with water:

background quilting around Sawtooth border

I hate it when that happens! That’s an easy fix at least. Now that all the marked lines have been quilted, I can mist the whole thing with water to dissipate the blue marker a little at least, since the quilt is isn’t anywhere close to finished, and I don’t want the marker to sit there on the fabrics any longer than strictly necessary. Continue reading The Misery Quilt progresses

Hand signals

As I sit at the machine quilting The Misery Quilt, I remember with great fondness the days years ago before my hands began sending me these hard to ignore signals that say “stop, you’re hurting me!” While I was quilting the endless stippling on Stars in My Hand, I had to cut down my daily time at the machine to about 30 minutes because that amount of time was about all I could do without pain. I said to myself and others that when the quilt was done, I’d take a break and maybe go in a different direction with my quilting, some direction that didn’t involve tiny stippling on king size quilts.

I did take a break, but the direction didn’t change much. I made Grasping Reality, which had some stippling but it was a larger size pattern, and a smaller quilt overall. I don’t remember having too many hand signals with that quilt. Since then, I’ve finished a few of the projects on the Creativity List, none of which had tiny stippling, though some were quite large. Other than that, I’ve worked on this Misery Quilt since early 2007, so I’ve definitely taken a step back in the productivity department. Unfortunately, despite taking it slow (not always intentionally, as my posts about The Misery Quilt can attest to), it seems that I’m back in the same position I was in before, with a large quilt that needs lots of detailed stitching.

Since I hadn’t planned lots of stippling on this quilt, maybe not any, I thought I would be okay. Now I’ve discovered that while tiny stippling can make my hands hurt pretty fast, other small, detailed patterns can be just as painful, especially if I’m working near the center of a large quilt, where just holding on to the quilt and keeping it in position on the machine bed takes Herculean strength sometimes. And just for the record, when I started this quilt, I didn’t know how bad my hands would turn out to be, nor how big it would end up; I made the center star in the fall of 2004 I think, and it sat until late 2006 or early 2007 when I started thinking about finishing it up again. The design just grew, and Bob’s your uncle, now here we are and the quilt and I are fighting to see who’ll break first. Continue reading Hand signals

Yes, I really do quilt

Lest you think that it’s all talk and no quilt around here, I took a couple of pics of The Misery Quilt yesterday so you can see the progress. This is part of the center of the Feathered Lone Star, quilted with a Diane-shiko design which I learned from Diane Gaudynski:

Misery Quilt Center

The Diane-shiko design is pretty easy to quilt, but it’s usually done on a square grid instead of this diamond grid, so that made it a bit harder, and being in the center of the quilt didn’t help much either. I was really glad to get that part done!

This picture shows the quilting around one of the birds which are in the setting squares around the center star.

Quilting around hummingbird

The blue marker is still on it unfortunately, but you get the idea! Take a look at these pictures to see the inspiration for the quilting designs. All of the quilting is done in #100 silk thread. I’m almost done with the “design” quilting; there are only three birds left to quilt around, and then I have to do all the background quilting. I’ve almost hit a milestone, but there’s a long way to go yet!

Short update: The Misery Quilt

Here’s a pic of some of the quilting in the border of the Misery Quilt:

Quilted Motif in Border

I’m pretty happy with the look, and a couple of really serendipitous things are happening. I’ve quilted all the large motifs around the outside border, and decided to experiment with a bit of echo quilting around this one to see how it would turn out. The first echo line was quited with a darker shade of thread than the design itself, and the second echo line was a shade darker than that.

When I got around to the third echo line, I got tired of not being able to see the quilting lines so well to follow them with the next echo line, so I turned the quilt over and quilted it from the back. When I checked the front again, the “puff” between the second and third echo lines was distinctly fatter than the the rest, so it created a bit of a textural ridged border around the whole motif!

I really have no idea why this happens, but on other parts of the quilt where I’ve quilted two lines of quilting from the top of the quilt that are really close together like this, the puff on the back is raised a bit like a little ridge. I suspect that it’s due to some flaw in the way I’ve basted the thing (not enough pins, not evenly basted or whatever), but as long as I can use this “flaw” to my advantage, who cares?

I plan to quilt more this weekend, because if I don’t that Christmas deadline is going to pass me by. There are shows I want to enter with this quilt next year, and one has an entry deadline of February or March, and if the quilting is done by Christmas I might just make that one. I say “might” because there’s a lot of other stuff I want to do to it after the machine quilting is done that will take some time, and February or March might be cutting it really close. And no, I’m not telling what all that other stuff is either, it’s my little secret for now. 😎 Stay tuned!

Focused

After a couple of extremely nonconstructive days Thursday and Friday dealing with plans for the Guild Quilt Show that I’ve volunteered to organize for next April (more on that big fun at a later date, when I can be a bit more positive about it all), I spent today tracing quilting designs on the outer border of The Misery Quilt. I think I put in about ten or eleven hours on it, and could probably do the same tomorrow, if my back will let me, before it would be ready for basting.

I can really use the life break that is a Quilt Retreat

I’m beginning to see the light at the end of that tunnel, but I know that if I break to work on something else, I’ll lose that focus. If I lose the focus, I may not make that Christmas completion deadline like I’d like to. So, despite the fact that this is a show quilt and I need to be able to concentrate fully on the machine quilting, I’m considering taking it to the Quilt Retreat next weekend to work on it there. The four solid days of quilting would be a great way to get a lot of it done, but I’m not sure I can do my best machine quilting in a room full of 25-30 other quilters and machines. Hopefully, I can be in sync with my Bernina like I was at the last retreat, but no guarantees. Hmmm. Have to think on that some more.

If I don’t take the show quilt to the Retreat, then I have to spend some time between now and Thursday morning whipping something else into shape to take with me to work on. Not that I don’t have enough projects in progress around to just pick one, but it’s a detour that I’m not sure I want to take at the moment. Continue reading Focused