Friday, March 6, 2020

Bountiful Baskets Custom Quilting

"Bountiful Baskets"

There are more and more requests for custom quilting coming, and I always feel it's a great learning experience. When I was approached a few months ago about doing a quilt pattern called Bountiful Baskets by Pearl P. Pereira, I started doing my research. Planning how to quilt a piece usually starts with looking to see what everyone else has done. In this case, though, there was very little to go on. Next, I searched for applique quilts, and that was nearly endless. So I gathered my ideas, and met with this quilt's maker, Vickie Thomas. 

We came up with a rough plan on what kind of quilting motifs she liked, and what would be suitable for the quilt. I also knew it would be time intensive. Vickie said she had a year and a day in making it, or 467 hours. You will see the progress from the start to the end of the 41 hours I took to stitch it. Enjoy!

Vickie's work was beautiful to start.

I ditch-stitched the entire quilt first to stabilize it. There is a layer of Hobb's 80/20 on the bottom, and a thin layer of Poly-Fil on top of that. The first thread was 60 wt. Glide in linen, and Bottom Line 60# in my bobbin.

Much of the applique was very 3D to start, and the embroidery and beading had already been added. Using a ruler foot was out because of the chance of snagging both, and so I was left without the option of doing any ruler work at all. I had to rely on my spoon or scoop foot, and the ProStitcher's Mark and Move option was crucial. Each of the 50 baskets is different, and each was outlined by using the laser and clicking to create the outline stitching.

All stippling and micro-stippling in the quilt was freehand.

The area behind the flowers and inside the basket handle had to be stitched down fairly tightly to make the rest pop. It was tedious.

I worked bottom to top.

 Some of the flowers were stupendous! 

Often I would look back on a basket with no recollection of doing it. I was concentrating on moving through them.

In the beginning I had intended to add something to stabilize each basket, but as I worked I appreciated the roundness of each one. 

Finally the baskets were entirely done, and I was so relieved! On to the borders, but little did I know that my ability to use the Mark and Move function was over. My tennis elbow was so aggravated at this point, and I had to freehand outline quickly to get it done. (Does it need to be said I was terrified?)

Yes, there were some early wobbles, and I was upset, but things started to smooth out as I moved faster, and took deep breaths. Calm music helped. (This was truly an Indiana Jones moment when he had to leap for one or another reason. I had to move forward, and no one else was going to come do this applique for me! I sucked it up.)

See? Not perfect by any means, but much better with smoother movements.

For a break, I popped into the center area to smash down the background. It's time-consuming, and takes your full attention to work up next to all the applique.

Look how the center flowers float forward now.

Inner spaces in the border also needed micro-stitched. The outlining got much easier, and the ladybug was a fun find!

Cross-hatching started.

The center motif is a repeatable E2E which I flipped the second half of, and tied together. At this point of border work, I had switched to 40# Glide in White.

Even though this is computer assisted, the grid is still hand measured and marked. The blue pen is quickly spritzed off as soon as I'm ready to move out of an area.

Finished with the bottom, I've spritzed, and am allowing it to dry overnight before rolling up.

The motif on the sides had to be chunked to stitch out. In English, I sewed one half of the design, then rolled the quilt so I had adequate space to quilt the next half. It was too long to fit in my frame space.

Now for the pesky setting triangles. Each area had to be marked and cropped so the design would not touch the applique. Next I added a very simple stitch design to the QST blocks on point. I wanted to preserve the puff, and it did!

Back into the center medallion to finish the background work. I was feeling cross-eyed at this point looking through the scoop foot. It distorted the quilting line looking through it, and white on white was just awful. Several times I had to stop and laugh. Refocusing on something across the room helped a lot to rest my eyes.

Elbows tucked close, and trying to peek around the foot when I could, I was giddy when I came to the end!

Vickie's 467 hours plus my 41 will be added to the time it takes her to bind it. In the meantime, I'm giving my arm a little break, and finishing up Spin Drift. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Come on, Doxie girls.


KatieQ said...

Thank you for taking us through the journey of quilting this amazing quilt. The appliques are stunning and the microstippling makes the baskets pop. The cross hatching was a great choice. I can certainly understand why you were exhausted when it was finished. The quilt is a work of art and your quilting greatly added to the overall impact

Linda Swanekamp said...

Omigosh, what a Herculean effort in quilting! How did the owner react when she saw it? I always say quilting makes the quilt and certainly true in this case.

Janice Holton said...

What a fabulous work of art (both quilt and quilting) this is! That is a show stopper! I truly admire people who have the patience and stick-to-it mindset to finish projects like this. I wish I did! Congrats on this finish, Julie. 41 hours? SHEESH! I couldn't do it.

Angie in SoCal said...

Julie, my heart starting beating so fast when I saw the first photos of this quilt. Now to see it finished - there are no words. It is a fabulous quilt made more stunning by your stunning quilting. Hope it gets entered in a show.

Barb N said...

OMG, no wonder you've been busy! 41 hours is a solid work week with one hour of over-time, lol! My muscles ache for you, my dear! But what an exquisite quilt! Yes, it should go in a show for others to admire. The applique craftsmanship is wonderful, and your take on the quilting is spot on. Well done!

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Wow...that's a lot of quilting time. But it's amazing! You did a great job.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Beautiful work!! and a lot of work! Wow - this will be one that is cherished for a long time!