Saturday, 8 September 2012

Quilting the first Compass - Jo's

I've realised one of the pitfalls of blogging, procrastination.   Writing about what you are going to do helps to put off what you need to do.

I decided to quilt Jo's compass first as the fabric is so patterned that I felt none of my stitches would be too visible and it would give me a chance to warm up.

I then found myself frantically flipping through Leah's Designs to try to find one that would fit, and couldn't make my mind up, what would emphasise the compass, what would work and eventually working myself into a real state.   I even found myself mentally referring to the quilt as "The Beast" - how mean is that?

So I poured myself a glass of wine (I refer to it as quilter's little helper) and thought about it.   I could sit and think about what I was going to do forever and the Beast, I mean the quilt, would still be there, larger then life, on my sewing table raising slightly questioning eyebrows and asking silently "Well?"

So I started with what I know and stippled the cardinal points that had writing on them.

Then took another sip of wine (quilter's little helper was definitely kicking in now) and decided to do some pebbling.   I want to use that in white sections of the quilt and I've never done it, so this would give me a chance to practise.   Hmm Leah rightly mentioned in her tutorial to be careful to travel over the lines quilted before otherwise it would look dirty - harder then she makes it look.

To save me rearranging the quilt, I pebbled 3 of the sections and decided I had to do the rumba's before moving on.   Big mistake No 1, I had created a great big puff of quilt between the stabilising and the pebbling which meant I had to quilt some of the top in folds.   Sigh.   Never mind for the next sections I'd do those first and then pebble.   That worked better.

The design for the rumba's were a development, I wanted to create a separation between the different colours/points and tried a vague pattern that flowed in one direction on one fabric and then in a different direction for another.   As I moved along I turned this into a wave pattern which worked better.

So not perfect and not particularly interesting to look at but the first compass is quilted and the result?  Well inspirational flood gates opened as I progressed and I found a design I'm wanting to try in the next compass which may work well.   I feel engaged and eager to continue quilting.   It's now fun rather then a task to be dreaded.

So the moral of the story is quilting something is often better then quilting nothing and letting the task build up as a monster in your head.

Stabilising The Quilt

I simply used off white thread to blend in with the main fabric and free motioned around each of the Compasses and it took me no time at all.

One of the helpful things about doing this, apart from the stabilising was that it allowed me to get the feel of how easy/difficult it was going to be to move such a huge quilt through the sewing machine.  I got a feel for the heft and weight of the quilt and although I tried to keep the majority of the quilt to the left of the sewing machine and on the table, this is not going to work in the long run.   I think I need to put a chair by the back of the table to support some of the quilt.

What I love about the concept of free motion is that you can focus for a while on a particular area of a quilt without constantly moving the bulk of the quilt through the machine the whole time.   On one of my first large quilts, I used a walking foot and cross hatched the whole quilt, this meant rolling up the quilt for one long line, then adjusting the roll under the machine and going again.   Tedious and I felt I was spending more time adjusting then quilting.

So first step done and dusted, now to really move forward

Oh what I haven't said yet is that the batting is 100% wool which I love for the loft, warmth and ease of quilting, and the backing is flannel.