Saturday, 31 August 2013

Carolina Lily completed

On a queen sized bed
Now just to show you what I did in the final stages (probably are lots of better ways to do this mind you!)...

Here it is with the quilting just finished, ready to trim, bind and wash:

I can tell you I felt a little bit worried as I shoved it in my front loading washing machine with a dose of wool wash and turned on the full wash cycle. I wanted to be sure to remove all that pen and I wanted high spin so it would not be too wet afterwards. I added several white colour catchers and here they are afterwards - must have picked up all the orange pen colour!

After the wash it was good incredibly fantastic to see that all the pen marks had disappeared. 

I wanted to square the quilt up before letting it dry on the timber floor for a couple of days. I always hope this will avoid any distortion that could happen if I just hang a new quilt on the line to dry. The squaring just involved pulling the corners and sides a little - so the diagonal corner and parallel side measurements were much the same.  Here it is drying:

Once it was dry I went over it checking for any loosened applique and threads to trim. I found four small lifts in the border vine where the applique thread (a fine silk thread) had come loose. Easily fixed and not bad at all considering the quilt is all hand applique and the poor thing has been dragged this way and that under the sewing machine and then given a few hefty spins in the washing machine. It is a fairly fragile thread - might have been better with something stronger. See the loose applique below?

Checking the back of the quilt here: 

Hanging it on the wall for some photos:

Well that was quite a task for me to quilt on my domestic machine. But I am really happy ( and so relieved) it has turned out with the look and feel I wanted - as close as I could  manage to the traditional hand-quilted look I love. Time for a little happy dance? Thanks for all your encouragement along the way. 

I am wondering if I am game enough now to tackle quilting my Burnt quilt - the finished top has been sitting waiting for quite a while... It is a big quilt (bigger than the Carolina Lily) but, without all that applique, may be easier to quilt. Perhaps a break from quilting first though!
 Remember this?

Something lovely is happening in the garden - signs of Spring! Do you recall that in June I planted a "tulip lasagne" in a pot? It thinks Spring is coming too.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Quilting and more quilting...

That's what I have been doing - hours and hours of it!
So far it is going pretty well thanks to a couple of fold-out tables added around the sewing machine -creating a nice big area to spread and manoeuvre the quilt.

This is how it started - sandwiched with wadding and backing taped to the floor. You can see  all the marking lines and trapunto wadding stitched in the wreaths.

Then pinned together and wadding trimmed back a bit to be manageable. 
The first bit of machine quilting ( and I find it so important to do this bit) is the stitching in the ditch between each block to stabilise the whole quilt. 

Then I free motion quilted an outline close around all the applique - that was really enjoyable as it became three dimensional. 

Yep - notice a mistake in the background grid marking - uneven spacing  - to be corrected
I also quilted the wreaths:

You can see the dissolving thread anchoring the trapunto wadding on the wreath - inside marked line 
Lots of dimension appearing here!

Might regret that plain green backing - shows every stitch!

And now I'm working on the outer border -  half inch parallel lines. This is rather tedious and time- consuming sewing, but not difficult. I am sewing this (with the walking foot) as background quilting "behind" the vine applique (not over the top). This means a lot of drag and sew, which means a lot of threads to be trimmed off front and back - very therapeutic (up to a point ...sigh)

Lots of threads to trim
Looking neater with the threads trimmed:

I will be happy if  when all the pen marking is washed off - I'd like those lines to look a little more subtle!

Once the border lines are done then I'll quilt the 1 inch grid over the rest. It will again be "behind"  the lilies so more threads to trim. 
It is also an angled grid so the quilt will have to be passed on point through the sewing machine. That could be interesting - not done that before! I might not be surfacing for quite a while.... 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Trying to get the quilting right...

I have often regretted not taking enough care with planning/marking the quilting lines before domestic machine quilting my Morrell quilt. I did not mark it at all. I thought that if I quilted each block differently (some cross hatch, some vertical lines, some horizontal lines etc) it would be safe enough to "eye ball" the spacing of quilting lines on the blocks as I went. But ...

...the spacing of lines and cross-hatching is, to say the least, "rustic". It is not parallel or perpendicular in many places where it should be. I love the quilt from a distance but less so close-up!
"random" quilting line spacing - eek!
So - the moral of the story is? ....learn from your mistakes!  I am going to extraordinary lengths (at least for me they are) to make sure the quilting is presentable on my Carolina lily quilt. 

The Carolina lily is a fairly large quilt at 97" by 86" (2.43m by 2.14m) and is going to be awkward under the sewing machine.  I use a Bernina 440 and the throat is not large. So I am going to mark every quilt line beforehand - tedious but am guessing it will be a relief when quilting. 

First I made a block template to mark all the trapunto wreaths - easy to trace through this plain fabric

This was the point at which the size of this quilt gave me a scare. Not panicking, of course, but trying to take control of this quilting project...gulp. 

The original antique quilt shown on the pattern had a grid quilted across the blocks and parallel lines behind the border vine. So that is how I'm doing it too - and hoping it is relatively easy to manage.

Marking the grid on the trapunto blocks
Extending the grid to meet across the Lily blocks
Next - to sew the trapunto wadding behind the 15 wreaths. I showed how I am doing this in previous posts - sewing it by hand with dissolving thread. I'm finding I can only stitch two or three blocks at a time before the hands get sore. So far I have done 8 wreaths. In between that I'm marking the parallel lines on the borders. 
Trapunto wadding already stitched behind some of the wreaths

When the trapunto wadding is all stitched and the quilting lines are all marked then it will be time to sandwich the quilt and pin baste ready for quilting. I am planning on starting the quilting by stitching with the walking foot in the ditch along the seam lines between every block just to stabilise the whole thing. See how careful I am being? 
Wish me luck!