Thursday, September 29, 2011

two quilts

So I posted a little peek of my Parisville quilt top the day I finished it. I've got the batting and picked out a vintage sheet for the backing, but now I have a problem: nowhere to baste it! The house I'm living in now is entirely carpeted except for the kitchen, which is a little too small for a full sized quilt. I could maybe fit it on the living room floor, but I'm hesitant to try it. I'm so used to basting quilts on wood floors that I'm worried I'll pin it all down onto a carpet, even a low one. So I'll have to think my options over for a little while longer, which is fine, since I'm not really sure how I want to quilt the thing once it is basted. I may visit my mom for a weekend - what a great excuse for a four hour drive! In the meantime, here is the quilt top in all its glory spread out in my front yard:

Parisville quilt top

I had most of the Parisville collection in the Sprout colorway sitting around in my stash for several months. It was only when my local fabric store was having a sale last week that a came across the missing piece. Once I had that I sat down and did some brainstorming. I had seen this quilt somewhere, and really like the simplicity, but didn't want to do the exact same thing. After working with curved and triangular pieces for my last few quilts, I really wanted to return to squares, with no fabric waste! I settle on a  disappearing nine patch block, and sketched out a pattern for how to rearrange the squares:

disappearing nine patch pattern 

Turns out the a disappearing nine patch pattern based on 4.5" squares takes a loooong time to piece when you're aiming to make a full sized quilt. Plus, once I had my blocks finished, my original pattern didn't show through clearly enough, so I switched it. All that sewing and ironing and cutting and rinse and repeat... luckily (maybe) I still don't have a job, so I finished it in two long days. But anyway, now I have to wait on basting, so I can ignore it for a while.

One of the reasons I'm not in a huge hurry to quilt this one is because I have just discovered free motion quilting. I've been hesitant to try it because a) I didn't have the right presser foot and wasn't sure which one or where to buy it, and b) I hate the look of stippling. But! my walking foot is kind of exasperating, and creates all kinds of puckers in my quilt unless I pull the quilt around really hard, or unless I put a roll or two of painters tape on the thing to make guidelines. Both of these options are exhausting and time consuming, and I'm kind of sick of it. On top of that, I keep making really large quilts, which are hard to quilt on my tiny machine. So lately I've been too wary to even try it, and am doing a LOT of handquilting (more on that to come!) I love the look of handquilting, but with two full/queen sized quilts already in the queue, there's no room for more!

So, anyway, now I live in a town with multiple (!) sewing machine stores, and the nice folks at the Pfaff dealership hooked me up with my very own darning foot. And surprise... I love it! My shoulders are sore and I used about a mile of thread, but I'm having a great time. I finished my superstar quilt top in a day (yay for giant pieces!) and decided to use it for free motion quilting practice.
super star quilt

I started by quilting all the outer gray bits with sort of a meandering, blocky filler. I really like the look of that, and picked it up pretty quickly.

Then, for each "petal" of the star I picked a random free motion design. I even did one petal with a plain old stipple, and I'm unrepentant about that one: I still think it's boring. However, I think I could really get behind free motion quilting when applied judiciously to the style of the piecing. By that I mean that rather than just quilting the whole thing with one all over design, I'd rather use different styles for different parts of the quilt, so that the piecing and the quilting work together to support one another. This is why I've always liked straight line quilting, because you can use the lines to emphasize the patterns of the piecing.

So I guess now I have to think about how to apply free motion quilting to the Parisville quilt, to work with the existing patterns. Either that, or I'll go back to my awesome sewing machine store and get a decent walking foot (if I get a job and can actually afford one!)

So here are a couple pictures of my very first attempt at free motion quilting. I tried to take pictures in some good light, but the white thread doesn't always show up too well.


1 comment:

  1. first attempt!? Great job. Way to go, not being intimidated.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love hearing what you think and being able to check out your blogs.