Quilting Challenge for January

Good morning,

As you may know, I joined the Quilting Challenge organized by SewCalGal, so as per instructions and directions, I’m posting the photos of my practice piece for this month, Frances Moore’s leaf pattern and variation:



I hope you can see enough detail.  The other photo I had to upload is too heavy and it won’t let me do it.  But I believe you can see that it has the original leaf and the one with the swirl.  It was a fun design to try.  It is quilted on a tan colored silk dupioni and I used a cherry red rayon thread from Superior on top and a similar color Deco-Bob by Wonderfil thread in the bobbin.  The only thing I need to do is bind the 12″ x 12″ sample.  One down … eleven more to go!  And if you still haven’t, I encourage you to join the challenge.  There is still time to do it.

Once I sit down at the sewing machine, especially when it is prepared for quilting, I take the opportunity to try new designs or make a few more samples.  I am teaching a machine quilting class in a couple of weeks, and we are going to be focusing on more advanced designs.  The afternoon will be devoted to feathers.  And because feathers are one of my favorite designs to quilt, I made a new small sample.  Again, it finished at approximately 12″ x 12″ (it started larger, but with all the close quilting, it shrunk).


It is once again quilted on tan silk dupioni with the cherry colored thread by Superior.  You can see that it adds a pinker tone to the quilt which goes to show that the thread color that you choose is important.  If I had chosen a similar tan color to quilt it with, the design would be harder to see.  You will be able to see texture still, but it wouldn’t be as noticeable.  So that’s something to consider when you are thinking about quilting a quilt.  Do you use similar color thread, a contrasting, variegated?  When you are trying to decide, the best thing to do is make small samples with different threads, and see which one gives you the effect that you are looking for.  Consider quilting part or the whole of the same design you’ll use on the quilt, so you’ll get the advantage of practicing the design before using it in the final project, and seeing exactly what the thread will do to the design.  Consider also, when thinking about thread, that for patterns that need to be double-stitched (like feathers), if you use a variegated thread, the double-stitching will show more, as chances are that the double stitching won’t be with the same area of color than the original stitching (hope you understand what I am trying to say).

Another consideration when choosing thread:  for tighter designs like the one above, choose a thinner thread and use smaller stitches.  For larger and more spread out designs, choose a thicker thread and a larger stitch.

Back to my piece.  The only thing I marked was the spine, and that was quilted first, double stitching to get back to the beginning.  The spine gives you the basis for where the feathers will be placed.  Then I quilted the feathers, one side first; because you need to get back to the beginning again to quilt the other side of the feather, I echoed along the feathers down to get back to the starting point.  You can see the echo line really close to the feathers.  The echo line is about 1/8″ apart.  Then I quilted the other side of the first spine, and continued until the entire feather was quilted before working on the background.

The background consists of three different stitches:  a very tiny and tight stipple stitch, bouncing bananas in one corner, and a small sample of scallops on the right hand side, along an extension of a feather.  See the detail below:


In this detailed photo you can see the a close-up of the feathers, and the tight stippling and bouncing  bananas on the left-hand corner.

To give you an idea, because people always ask “how long did it take you to quilt that?” being so tiny, this piece took me close to four hours to quilt.  The background is a bit tedious because it was just the one design.  That is why I chose to vary the designs in small areas, to break the monotony.

As I mentioned above, I used Deco-Bob thread in the bobbin.  Deco-Bob is a thread by Wonderfil.  It is 80-weight, which means that it is very fine, so when you wind it on the bobbin, a lot of it fits in.  I was able to quilt both samples without having to change the bobbin, and I still had more than half a bobbin left.

That same weekend, I started working on another sample from a DVD by Sharon Schamber.  I still have to quilt the outer border, so that’s the plan for Saturday this weekend.  I’ll post photos of it when I’m done.  But what I wanted to tell you is that I managed to do all the quilting on the inside of that small sample (about 14″ square for the center part) with that one bobbin of thread.  Which to me, is priceless!

And with that, I’m going to leave you to practice, practice, practice.  I hope you’ll join the challenge.  Let me know if you do.  I will work on February this coming weekend hopefully.

Thanks for reading. Keep quilting.  Remember that your work will get better with practice.


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