Saturday, July 17, 2021

Finally Quilting!

There are a lot of things I could update here, but let's take on the biggest project making the most progress: my Nocturne Star quilt:
I started the blocks in May, 2016 and had them finished by July. I assembled them into the star and added the border in November and December. I pieced the backing and basted the quilt in June, 2020.

I couldn't start quilting until I had something that would hold the cones of thread I bought for this quilt. I sent a link to Troy for one as a suggestion for my birthday, and he, like any self-respecting maker would do, decided he could make one far better than what was offered for sale.

By February, his creation was ready to use:

It's very pretty and has a very solid (read: heavy) base.
It's working great.

So I could being to quilt. I started by thinking about the center star. It works better to start quilting in the middle of the quilt and it's also the hardest to do so it's nice to get it done first. The first part of the design I settled on was doing ribbon candy inside a diamond frame down the middle of each arm of the star.
I auditioned designs (and practiced the motion of making them) on a piece of glass and a dry erase marker. Then I tried some options to fill in the outside.
And settled on the wave like lines (upper design in the picture below).
Having that settled, I started stitching. In preparation, I had ordered a new foot for my machine that is designed to ride along the edge of a special ruler. (They're both sized so you can't slip and slam your needle into the ruler. Don't try to use just any ruler you have.)
In some ways, it's a little rough. I'm a beginner and the ruler is shorter than the distance to be travelled, so I have to keep moving it while maintaining the straight line. And the stitching is 1/4" from the edge of the ruler so that takes some learning. In some ways, I found it very straight forward and had no qualms about doing my very first ruler work on this special quilt.
Progress was made.
They say consistency of texture is more important that having perfectly placed and symmetrical lines, and I am choosing to believe them. :)

I am very happy that the center lies perfectly flat:
For breaks from that quilting, I sometimes worked on the light squares.
I added borders 1/4" from the edge and filled in an area with various designs based on circles or half-circles.

In general I would have liked to have kept the density of the quilting mostly the same, but in fact the designs do vary quite a bit.
I tried various ways of marking the gaps, including just relying on the markings on the ruler, water soluble pen, and a hera marker. They've all got their pluses and minuses (and I could use more practice with all of them!)
When I couldn't take doing more of the light squares, I started on the outer dark diamond shapes (the "wheel" in the Carpenter Wheel pattern). I auditioned patterns and practiced them on glass again, and ended up with a feather variation.
Something I thought I would never quilt because I wasn't that crazy about feather quilting, and it is deemed "hard". And to be honest, my earlier efforts where pretty bad! I think "modern" feathers are more forgiving and I've learned to go a lot slower and to look ahead. It's helped.
I recently gave a push and finished all of that quilting.

The center area of the light squares was left to do. I was dithering about what to do there. I wanted simple and something fairly dense to make the gaps between the borders pop. I wanted it consistently dense so nothing pictorial. I had settled on traditional crosshatching when a video about the spiraling square came up on my feed.
I decided that was it. It's back to ruler work after a lot of free-motion quilting but this is a little easier since the ruler can span the length of each line.

I've finished it on four of the twelve small squares. I'm not sure I'm going to do the same thing in the larger squares but I have a little time to think about it.

If by some heroic effort and the miracle of nothing going wrong, I have this done in two weeks, I'll be able to enter it in the county fair. If that doesn't happen, my next deadline is mid-August when I'll be traveling to see family. The quilt is destined for my sister and she has been waiting a long time (like since 2016--she had no idea it would be this long!) and I'd like to finally deliver.

1 comment:

  1. I'm SEW happy this is finally getting quilted and those feathers are truly exquisite, Christina!!!


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