I loaded one of my own projects on the longarm this morning. When I checked my notes, I found it this is the first time all year that I am working on something I will keep! It’s my Women of the Bible quilt. The blocks were sewn from October 2013 through September 2014. I decided on a simple stitch-in-the-ditch outline of the primary element in each block, with free-motion feathers in the borders.
I won’t win any awards for my ditch quilting becauseit gets pretty wobbly, but since this is not going to be judged I am not stressing over it. My plan is to hang the finished quilt in the room at church where my adult Sunday School class meets.
I made another block for my True Blue stars:
And I am still working on split 9-patch blocks as my “leader-ender” (in-between-other-things) project. I need to count them to see if I am halfway to a quilt top yet. My goal is a 60″x80″ quilt for QOV and that will take 120 blocks. Scrappy heaven!
My mom made an Aviatrix Medallion and I had the pleasure of quilting it for her. I am in love with her color scheme. It was so much fun to gaze at these beautiful prints up close for a few days!
I chose a different free motion design for each border and used a light blue thread that played nicely on all the fabrics. I usually pick a matching thread, but I am leaning towards using one color more often to speed up the process.
The medallion is a circle of birds, which I outlined and added a simple background of radiating circles. Most of the grey borders were just stitched in the ditch, but I did use a wavy line in the half square triangle section. Then I added feathers in the rectangle blocks.
The next border had X-Plus blocks, so I used some wavy lines and stitch-in-the-ditch.
The last two borders had framed squares and butterflies. I used a flower in the squares and wavy lines and bubbles to fill in the butterflies.
My next longarm challenge will be to learn to sew on the binding while the quilt is on the frame. That would certainly speed up the process! My mom still finishes her bindings by hand, while I do most of mine by machine using a tutorial from Judy at The Patchwork Times.
Working on this quilt was a calm oasis in the middle of a few hectic weeks. I think I will load a Christmas top next since we are heading into the holiday season. What is on your worktable today?
Progress on my Evolution shawl! You can see the cable section. This is such a fun pattern with so many techniques. I love cables, and I had forgotten how easy they are. Basically, you have one pattern row where you have to fuss with crossing stitches, then several plain rows with simple knits and purls. I still have not gotten the 40″ circular needle that I need to spread this project out a bit more. There are around 250 stitches in each row right now and they fit on this 24″ circular, so I guess it’s not a rush. I know I will be buying yarn soon so I want to combine my purchases. I’m just waiting on designer Stephen West to announce the details of his next Mystery Knit-Along…last summer was his Rockefeller pattern which started my love of shawl knitting.
My daughter fell in love with beads, so we went to the local craft store for a lesson yesterday. Mine is the one on the bottom left, she made the others. They are very quick projects and if I don’t set limits, we could be drowning in beads very quickly! And of course, she has expensive taste. Oy!
After a week-long break, I loaded another quilt on my longarm. I am calling it “Feather-palooza” because I am putting feathers everywhere! Since I had so much fun with the feathered hearts in the Irish Chain quilt, I am using a basic circle to make wreaths.
There are some spaces where I am doing some freehand flowers too. Yes, this quilt is very red!Only two more days then it’s back to the school routine. I am going to try to quilt more during the work week since I am home early in the afternoons.
When do your kids go back to school? And when do you make time for your quilting/crafting?
Here is a pictorial of how to stitch a feathered heart. I have taken several longarm quilting classes from people like Dawn Cavanaugh, Deloa Jones and Angela Waters. They are very helpful in learning to quilt feathers! I also recommend a sketchbook and/or a whiteboard so you can doodle and build your muscle memory for this design.
Start with your foundation or spine…in this case it is a heart. Then make a “bubble” on the inside peak. (I am showing the steps on a whiteboard, you can see it stitched at the end.) You will stitch four sections: inside right, outside right, inside left and outside left.
Then start the feathers along the inside. It really doesn’t matter which side you start with! Remember you are making question marks, or half-heart shapes. Do not come into the spine at a 90 degree angle, think about merging onto a freeway…you come in almost parallel. You are stitching from the top to the bottom.
Before you start back up the outside, make an extra bubble or two at the bottom. This fills the space without leaving a gap from the end of the last feather loop. Stitch from the bottom to the top with the same question mark/half-heart shape.
You will have more loops on the outside! it can be tricky to come around the curve at the top, just keep making the loops, and think about extending them up as you curve around the top of the heart. Think of an imaginary line through the center of the heart so you can stop without crowding the other side.
Travel along the spine to the inside of the heart to stitch the other side, moving from the top to the bottom.
Use another extra bubble at the bottom as you stitch back up the outside. Your last loop at the top will just meet the previous feather and give it a kiss! And here is the fabric and thread version: It takes practice to master feathers. Doodle first, then grab some fabric for practice on the machine. When you feel comfortable with the design, transfer the process to a quilt. Each one will look better than the last!