Tuesday, 29 July 2008

a bit of quilting

Dear Lene,

I'm so sorry. I realize that I've 'dropped the ball' on my end of the blog here lately. It's really just the excitement/worry/planning that going away on a big trip entails. I haven't talked about it much on Fine Stitches, but my planning for the trip to Iceland (I leave on Friday) is just consuming me. I rarely go anywhere, and a trip like this (a big one for me, at least) is taking way more of my time and energy than I really expected. I think you knew otherwise, but were kind enough not to make me nervous by warning me.

A while ago, I took a few pictures of a quilt that I made a few years ago. It's primarily quilted, with minimal piecing. I think if I were to sum up my favorite thing about quiltmaking, it's hand quilting.

This quilt was finished in April 2008. I called it (Not Quite) Twelve Bars, and the piecing is copied from a quilt in Amish Kinder Komforts by Sara Miller. (It's also shown in Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest.) The quilt is now in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center, and can be seen online HERE.

This is the front of the quilt. It's mostly diagonal cross-hatching, with two feathered wreaths in the center. The borders are undulating feathers. I know I made my quilt before the second book (mentioned/linked above) came out - the first book had less clear pictures of the quilting, and so I just did whatever I felt was right.

Here's a closeup of the border.

And here's a picture of the back - also pieced. I have to admit, this quilt served as a valuable lesson. I used a batting for it that I had never tried before. The batting had gotten good reviews, and so I bought some and used it for this quilt - without trying it out ahead of time.

This was a huge lesson. The batting, 100% cotton (I can't or won't remember the brand or name right now - I think I've blocked it out of my mind) was new to me. And unfortunately, had a tendency to have small lumps in it, which with my dark-solid fabrics pulled out to the front of the quilt every few stitches. It caused little white 'pills' on the front of the quilt. "Bearding", to the extreme.

Never again, never, will I use a batting for an extensive quilting project without trying it out or test-quilting with it ahead of time. I managed to shave or snip off most or all of the offending little lumps from the front of the quilt, and it's been washed - but only once.

At the very least, I won't be trying new battings out without at least a resounding recommendation from another hand quilter. Ever since that project, I've stuck with tried and true battings, ones that I'm familiar with and know the properties of, at least for heavily quilted quilts like this one.

There's another cautionary story related to this quilt - about disintegrating black fabrics. But I'll have to save that for another post. Hopefully I'll be back to more of a normal routine after I get back from my trip in mid-August. I feel guilty about not writing more here, and not doing more work on my Tulip quilt, but life has intervened recently (in a good way - no complaints).



Beth said...

Such delicious quilting! Thanks for the cautionary tips, too. Bon Voyage!

Judy said...

I can't wait to hear about your trip...my husband dreams of moving there!

Sallie said...

I love Amish style quilts. Yours is lovely, even if it did drive you batty. :)

Karen said...

The quilting is beautiful. Too bad that the batting gave you such a hard time. The backing that you used really makes the quilt! I love a simple pieced back like that.

Meredith said...

I am in that situation now. Glad I am not the only one. I am more then 60% done so I will keep plugging along. That is one lesson I will not have to learn twice. Your quilt turned out lovely.