Sunday, April 7, 2013

I just realized I never posted detail shots of the double wedding ring quilt I finished at the end of last year. What a journey it was, making this quilt, and what beautiful results I got! 

I started the quilting process in my studio, using the design wall as my oh-so-crucial assistant. First, I pin my backing fabric up to it for a few days to get all the creases and wrinkles out, sometimes using a spray bottle with water to help with the tough ones, and allowing gravity to take care of the rest. Then, while it's still pinned up there, I apply my first coat of basting spray, and attach the batting to it. The design wall is not strong enough to hold this much weight so I use plenty of pins. The next layer of basting spray is applied and then the quilt top is attached. I learned how to use basting spray on the floor, which is fine, but I greatly prefer the wall method. You find that gravity makes smoothing out the layers a breeze and you don't have to worry about any of your fabrics getting dirty.

Once my layers were stuck together, I moved to the machine. This was my solution to keep the quilt off the floor; three tables pushed together. The folding table was a nice touch because it was just short enough to slide under the other tables when I didn't need it. I started with simple outline stitches around the white melons and finished everything else on the long-arm machine.

APQS Millenium! Rental, of course. Trust me, if I had $17,000 to spare, I'd own one!

(I like seeing Manuel there on my shirt, looking over my sewing like a guiding angel)

I designed the quilting by playing with motifs on tracing paper and laying them out on the quilt top. Then, when I got to the machine, I made myself basic guidelines with chalk and sewed from there. This allowed me to be free with my movement but still have help as to placement and general shapes.

 The only thing I wasn't happy with, with this process, was that the sewing needle would push the chalk deep into the layers and didn't just wash away, as I had expected it to. I ended up scrubbing with a toothbrush and water to try and get it all out and, in some places, was unsuccessful. I don't know if other chalks would work better or if I needed a different process entirely, to avoid this problem.

But, I'm still happy with it! I love getting a chance to try new ideas and techniques, and it's the best when you can make smarter and smarter choices over time. I still haven't learned to prewash my fabrics though....

 Since I got to calling this quilt the "Palau quilt", I turned to native Palau plants as inspiration for the quilting motifs. The fronds became my favorite to sew.

 The easiest and most fun way for me to label quilts!

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