Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm nearly done with the quilting on my stack n whack quilt; I think I need to add some quilting to the large diamonds and then it will be ready to bind. It took a long time doing all the straight-line quilting with a walking foot, and I found myself thinking about how different my aesthetic is from the majority of longarm quilters. My knee-jerk response to how should a quilt be quilted is with stitch in the ditch, lines and grids. That's partly because of my traditional background and my love of antique quilts, but also because it is easy to do either by machine or by hand and less intimidating to me than free motion quilting.. I didn't have to ponder long about how to fill the green corner triangles on the star blocks, for instance - channel quilting could be done without marking and makes sense with the other quilting. However, straight line quilting is much more difficult for a longarm quilter than swirling lines or feathers, so you can bet those triangles would have sported something like that had I sent this out to be quilted.

After many hours, all that straight stitching was finally done and today I was ready to lower the feeddogs and quilt like a longarm quilter. I even got brave and changed from the monofiliment thread to some teal Oliver Twist hand-dyed cotton thread to help accentuate the patterns of the kaleidoscope centers of the stars. I really enjoy this type of free motion quilting - no marking required, just work around the pattern in the fabric design - nothing too exposed so I don't have to worry so much about my less than perfect stitching.

As you may recall, I've been working on this project off and on for at least 6 years, and I've discovered a positive to pulling out an old project: It can show you just how much you have grown. The kaleidoscope centers were the first things I did, and I remember staring at them for months as they hung on the design wall, totally intimidated by the thought of free motion quilting them. I remember having no idea how to approach it, and little confidence in my ability to do it well once I did. I just knew I'd wreck those beautiful designs. Fast forward to now, and the answer to how to quilt them was obvious, my confidence in my ability to do so not an issue. The only thing I pondered at all was thread choice, and that not for long. I could see that the teal thread would help define the motifs, make them stand out in a way they could not unquilted. That was a really good feeling, to have this concrete evidence of progress in an area that I normally feel I'm weakest.

No comments: