Quilting the Quilt

After the time spent enjoying the trips to the fabric store, reviewing all of the possibilities of both colors and patterns, you finally decided and made final selections.  Next came the hours of cutting, sewing, pressing…hopefully with limited “unsewing”.  You have finally finished your beautiful quilt top…your creation…your “baby.”  And just like when it is time to send your kids off to Kindergarten, and then college, you now have to send this beautiful “baby” off to the quilter.

The anxiety builds and the questions loom…Did I choose the right quilter?  What will they do with my quilt top?  Will I recognize it when it comes back home?  Despite these questions though, you excited  delivery your work of art to your trusted long-arm quilter, confident that they will transform your top into a gorgeous, completed quilt.  Such was the recent journey of a quilt delivered to me, which will be a present for the youngest daughter on the occasion of her marriage in June.

Now, my anxiety as a quilter begins and the questions take over my mind.  Will I make the right choices for their quilt top?  Will they like what I do their quilt top?  Will they recognize and adore their quilt when it is delivered back to them?

My quilting process is pretty much the same for every quilt.  Look at the top and ponder, asking, What does this quilt top need?  Sometimes, the answer comes quickly.  Other times, the customer has their own ideas which I try to translate.  Still other times, the quilt is in my mind for days and days, waiting for inspiration to strike.  I review various quilting designs on Pinterest and Google.  “Old-fashioned” magazines are also good sources, and provided the inspiration for this quilt.

The May/June 2017 issue of Quiltmaker served as the inspiration for the quilt at hand.

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Quiltmaker has started adding graphics showing the quilting details, as well as quilting alternatives, for various levels and complexities.  Here is the quilting detail that inspired the quilting motif I used on this recent project.

Whenever I am attempting a new quilting motif, I always practice on paper.  Doodling is the quilter’s best friend.  It gets, and keeps, the creative juices flowing.  It is a good way to test the design.  Will it travel easily across the quilt?  Can it switch directions nicely so it can be used as an all-over?  Doodling answers these questions before thread is put to fabric.  As much as I hate ripping seams when sewing, it is worse to have to take out quilting stitches.

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When doodling this design, it became very apparent that there was going to be a lot of thread build up.  I used to avoid thread build up like the plague.  However, as I have expanded my quilting repertoire, I have realized that back-tracking is necessary in order to travel the design across the quilt.

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This quilting design ended up travelling over the quilt nicely.

As soon as the top comes off of the frame, the first thing I do is check out the back.  I love seeing the design, uninterrupted on the back.  When I finally see the back, a sense of relief and awe come over me.  It is always a relief to feel like I made the right choice.  And after viewing this completed quilt, I was awestruck at the beauty and fluidity of the chosen design.

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Thanks to J. Chandler for allowing me to showcase her quilt as part of this blog post.  Best wishes to her daughter, as she becomes a June Bride!!

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