Still working on it.

It’s been a slow go, but I think M is going to like her quilt.   The final design decisions were made.  I did go with both designs we had talked about.   A continuous curve to represent chains in the cornerstones and freehand curvy crosshatching in the pieced section of the blocks.

I admit, I keep stopping on this to either turn and see what’s happening on the Olympics, or to stick the mirror underneath and look at the back side!

I really need to get down to business on this and finish it, it’s my last February quilt and today is the LAST day of February!!!!

Back to the machine now……..

Custom quilting day three

Yesterday I posted my day one and two progress on the quilt.  Today I didn’t get into the studio until late afternoon but made some excellent progress once I did get there and will probably work late tonight.

During our intake appointment, M chose to have the blocks and sashings quilted with white thread, and she chose the block pattern she liked for her quilt.

An excellent choice, just soft enough and contemporary enough to suit the quilt.  Yet keeping the thread white gives it a more traditional look.  But we weren’t quite sure what to do with the sashings.  Leaves?  Vining leaves?  Flowers?  She left it up to me to choose at the time I was quilting.

Looking at the quilt today, I decided to use a leafy vine pattern, but would it work?

Hmmm, I’m not sure.  Now I have to make a decision.  Do I continue with a pattern I’m not totally sure of, knowing if it doesn’t work I’ll have to take it out?  Or do I take it out now and choose another pattern.  Today I liked this pattern so I decided to continue and just see if it was going to work.

OH YES!!!!  It most definitely works!

(notice my little tension testing play on the outside of the quilt?).

By tomorrow late afternoon I should have all these blocks and sashings completed.  Then it will be on to the green corner 5 patches and the pieced block borders.  The green patches are pre-planned, the pieced block borders will be another choice to make as I get that far.

Custom Quilting day by day

This week I’m working on a custom quilt, and with my customer’s permission, I will be blogging this queen sized quilt, step by step.

First thing I noticed about this quilt on intake is that it has an outer border that is pieced with small scrappy pieces.  Really effective visually on the quilt, but that meant I couldn’t pin the quilt top to the quilt roller, it had to be free floated.  Which is what I usually do on custom quilts anyways.

Not pinning it to the quilt roller could potentially leave the quilt dragging on the floor; but since I wouldn’t want that done with my quilts, I don’t do that with customer quilts either!  Instead I loosely fold the quilt bottom up and pin it to the quilt top.  This keeps it off the floor very well:

One of the first things that I do on every quilt, custom or not, is to baste the sides as I go.  That means each time I advance the quilt, I stop and baste the sides.  On pieced borders this usually requires more pins than on plain borders:

What I’m trying to accomplish by doing this is to keep the piecing visually horizontal to the quilt, even if there is a bit of fullness or taughtness in a certain piece.

After that the bones of any custom quilt get done.  For this quilt it’s taken 2 full days to put in those bones.  What are the bones?  That’s the SID (stitch in the ditch) that stabilizes the piecing and creates a sharp crisp finish to the entire quilt.

There are two methods of doing SID, with a ruler or freehand.  For years I have used a ruler (or various assorted rulers) and it looks like this:

And although this is quicker than freehand, I’ve struggled with seeing what I was doing using this method.  Yesterday while using this method the ruler slipped, hitting the needle, jamming the needlebar up into the machine head, requiring the stitch regulator control panel to be removed to reset the needle bar.   Not a BIG job, I’ve done it before, but this time one of the screws in the regulator control had a stripped head.   What SHOULD have been a 5 minute job took 2 hours.  At that point I decided it was time for me to learn to do my SID freehand.

So with white knuckles gripping the steering wheel (oh wait that was driving the other day)….. anyways, I proceeded to slow down and do my SID without the use of a ruler!!!!!   And I like it better!  Of course it’s slower, but I can see easier where I’m going and I have more control if I need to skootch (is that a word) the fabric a bit.  It’s something that has to be done SLOWLY though… you can see, your fingers are very close to that needle.

Here’s a closeup of my hand guiding along the seam line:

How do I maintain control, first this is done very, very, very slowly; secondly I use my wrist as a stabilizer between the fabric and the machine.  The micro handles my husband made are just the perfect height for resting my wrist against:

Once the SID is completed, I let the quilt rest, usually overnight as it’s normally the end of the day before I’m done.  This quilt is resting now and tomorrow I’ll start the motifs.