Friday, April 18, 2014

Now with even more applique!

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to make templates for the stems instead of using bias strips. It seemed like the best way for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted the motifs to be very uniform in shape, cutting templates would eliminate the wobble that sometimes finds its way into bias strip stems. Secondly, this stems are really rather thick, getting them to lie flat might have been a challenge. And last, working with a very dark background meant that even the brightest light box would have a tough time showing the guide lines. These motifs span the background from the pieced block to a background border, so I'd have to squirrel around the entire quilt to do the marking, placement and sewing of the motifs. Ick.

To make life even easier, the entire motifs were sewn together before placing them on the background. They can be held in place with fewer pins, and since the flower parts and stems are already stitched, all that is left to do is stitch around the perimeter.

This close up shows the stitching on the appliques. I'm a big fan of Superior's MonoPoly. It really is the best there is, super fine, flexible and yet strong. Love it. I've used clear here, the smoke color would have been too dark.

I didn't quite know how I was going to quilt it, I rarely do. I thought that the quilt was already busy enough, decided that the eye needed quiet places to rest. In the end I quilted the snot out of the background and added just enough stitch in the ditch on the appliques to give some dimension. Most of these spools of thread returned to the bin unused.

Here it is, all basted up and ready to quilt. This is the moment of terror, when I take this quilt top that I really love and chance ruining it with my quilting. Yeah, even though I've been machine quilting for more than thirty years, I still have to talk myself down before I attack the quilting.

Of course I didn't take a picture of the finished quilt, I was working on a deadline and wanted it out the door. But I wanted to show you a little bit more of the piecing. It's not perfect, although I am very happy with the overall outcome. What I wanted to show is how the seams are pressed. Instead of following the old rule of pressing towards the dark, I pressed all the seams away from the background. In doing so, the design fabric is elevated, pushed forward visually, making the background fabric recede. Stitching in the ditch around the piecing will push that background even further back, giving the design a real opportunity to shine.

I do hope that someone heading to Paducah for the show would be kind enough to send a picture of my quilt in the collection. It's the only time one of my quilts will hang in a major show. And at next year's show, when the quilt is auctioned off to benefit the National Quilt Museum, I hope it will bring in a tidy sum.


  1. Love the quilt even more after you added the appliques.I also hope someone takes a pic of the finished quilt and sends you the link...

  2. It's gorgeous, Beth! Are you going to be able to release a pattern sometime?

  3. Beth, this is beautiful! What a great idea to pre-asemble and stitch the units, we do it with fusible so why not reg applique? As always, you inspire!