Identical blocks + different quilters = stitchy madness!
Throughout the past few days, we’ve been sharing more of the Quilt As Desired pieces created as part of a feature in our Sept-Oct 2014 issue. And today, we’ve got more!
Background: We created identical 15-inch paper-pieced wonky star blocks and asked some of our dearest friends (and a few staff members) to quilt a block however they wished. All we asked for were a few particulars on thread, batting, motifs, adult beverages consumed during quilting…you know, the usual 4-1-1.
Results were amazing! You can see many of the finished pieces in our September-October 2014 issue, currently on sale. Visit the links at the end of this post to see even more. Each block was quilted with different tools (standard sewing machine, varied longarms and by-hand). And each quilter used different threads, batting, layers of batting and thought processes. The results are blocks that are as unique as their quilters, which means we have a lot of learning to do from them! (Some of our quilters even braved the video camera to tell us about their approach, so it really is like a mini-class.)
Up first Ebony
Batting: Two layers of 100% bamboo
Threads: Superior So Fine 50wt 503 Genoa Gray, 412 Hot Chilies, 532 Orange Julius, and 499 Rodeo Queen, each selected to match the background color.
Needles: Handi Quilter’s Groezbecker Needle size 14. You should always use the needle your machine manufacturer recommends. I used the smaller needle because of the lightweight thread.
Tools: Handi Quilter Fusion (aka Mr. Darcy).
her strategy: For this little quilt, I knew I wanted to include a feather; feathers were my nemesis for quite a long time, so any time I get the opportunity to show them who’s the boss, I try.
For the quilting design, I usually sketch when the quilt is loaded, and I use Press ‘n Seal as a barrier to keep ink off the quilt.
This gave me a general idea of what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t entirely right, and as I often do, the actual quilting varies from the sketch. I originally didn’t want the feather to drift into the star block, but later I saw that allowing it to do so made a better design.
To begin the quilting, I laid out reference lines for the feather, and when I drew them out, it looked like a crescent moon. I decided that was the perfect complement to the star block.
Stitching the first side of the feather really emphasized that crescent moon shape. I echoed around the feather to further define it and help it to stand out against the heavier quilting to come, and added some embellishments inside the feathers to dress them up a bit .
From there, I just played. When I got tired of spiraling, I added freehand lines, which is a dense stitch and really flattens out the space next to the feathers.
For the star points, I just alternated Ribbon Candy and Bubbles, and carried the straight lines into the center of the star.
The end result is different than the initial sketch, but I like being able to have an idea grow organically as I go. I also think the quilting really represents who I am as a quilter – I love blending traditional and contemporary designs and showing that they can work well together in the same quilt.
And now for something completely different
her tools: BERNINA 780 (aka Janie), #24 foot and the 8″ Angel Quilt Guide from Quilted Joy
batting: Hobbs Tuscany Silk
threads: Superior MasterPiece (gray), Superior Magnifico and Superior Tiara Silk
needles: 80/12 & 90/14 Top Stitch needles
strategy: I like to quilt serendipitously, just sit down at the machine, rev her up and stitch. In my mind this is a competition style quilt meaning every ditch needed stitchin’. Since I had a new tool to play with, the ruler from Quilted Joy the straight lines, emphasizing the wonkiness of the star were next. While important for the overall effect of the quilt the lines are background fill. Next up that star, shining a way up there in the sky I chose simple curved lines and then just had to go all flashy adding some swirly bits, just because they’re pretty.
Now onto that glorious open space we had to play with and the quilting gets to be the star. Swirling feathers, vintage (elongated) feathers, nautilus shells and teeny tiny bubbles fill every inch of space available.
side note: I have loved every moment of this project for the magazine. One thing I would hope that quilters take from this is that you can do anything you’d like with your quilts. Our imaginations are there for us to use.
Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.