This was a BIG quilt, with heaps of lovely autumnal fabrics. In the photo below, there’s about a 12″ fold at the top to stop it dragging on the path.
(Click on a photo to view it larger.)
How to quilt it? I decided to start with the light areas of the snowball blocks (I think they are snowball blocks…). I picked out a lovely variegated thread in tans and golds and stitched a small centre circle around the joins in the fabric, then radiated out with nice big bulbous feathers (with echoes), thus creating big flowers. I decided not to do these flowers for ALL the light coloured blocks — there were a LOT of them, so I only did flowers every second row.
What to do with the other light coloured centres? Ah! My favourite — bird feathers! I knew I’d have to curl them around so stitched the spine of each one first in a big ‘J’ shape, then came out to the edges of the space with the ‘S’ curves needed for each feather.
Again, I used the variegated Sulky thread, but I had to change to a different thread after doing about five of these blocks with that thread. It played up something awful — shredded, snapped, bunched up in a mass on top and below the quilt. It had been mostly OK when I stitched the flowers.
I tried all the tricks I knew — I changed the needle to a brand new one in a larger size; I oriented the needle at the 5:30, 6:00, and 6:30 positions; I rethreaded the thread from different spool holders and through various tension holes; I adjusted the top and bobbin tension; I slowed down the speed dramatically… NOTHING would make that thread behave. It would stitch for a minute or so and then something would go wrong and I’d have to stop and fix it and unpick etc. This was becoming very tedious… So I eventually bit the bullet and swapped to a soft gold thread in a single colour and from a different manufacturer. This thread behaved perfectly. I wasn’t going to unpick all those other feathers I’d already done and redo them, so someone with a keen eye will see that they are slightly different, but for most people, they probably wouldn’t notice.
Next, how to quilt the half blocks on the edges of the quilt… I kept with the bird feather motif as these would have been bird feather blocks had they been full size. But instead of trying to do half a feather, I just did a double stitched arc for a ‘spine’ and radiated out on only one side with the ‘S’ curves. It looks a bit like a rising sun.
Finally, I did a large meandering stipple in all the dark areas, in a tan coloured thread. I figured it didn’t need any more close quilting
I like how the quilt sort of ended up looking a bit Japanese with the big flowers and the bird feathers.
- Top: Robison-Anton ‘Penny’ for many of the bird feathers in main quilt top (rayon, 40 wt, colour #2332); Robison-Anton ‘Date’ for the stippling in the dark areas(rayon, 40 wt, colour #2290); Gutermann Sulky variegated thread in tan and gold tones (rayon, 40 wt, colour #2120)
- Bobbin: Wonderfil Deco-Bob (80 wt, colour DB 115)
Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/