Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Combining Freemotion and Digital Design on Wool Applique Quilt


Wool Applique Quilt 
Made by Rita Darr

There are very few constants in my quilting business, and I think that's why it holds my attention so well. I love novelty! I see everything from one block charity quilts to intricate paper piecing. When this beautiful wool applique quilt found its way to me, I was intrigued. I'd done cotton applique before several times, but never wool. So I did my research, took my time to think about what would work, and practiced on paper. 



I sent some of the motif proposals to Rita ahead of time, yet, when I started quilting, I hadn't considered the sashing. First things first, I stitched the top horizontal border, rolled, and moved downward. As I ditch-stitched much of this quilt to stabilize areas, I added in the sashing at the same time. I had the olive green Omni threaded already, and I try not to switch threads more often than necessary. 



The little cherry pattern in the sashing echoed the many wool berries dotting the quilt, and felt appropriate for the folk style. I added the horizontal border at the bottom, and then the real fun began!



I rolled the quilt halfway back, and then started my free motion work in the middle. Why? Personally I think when we look at art or quilts our eyes tend to take in the whole thing first, then move to the top or surrounding edges. By starting nearer the center, I was hoping any beginning mistakes I would make would blend in. 

  • Never start in block 1 as you would read text! 
  • Try to leave the top of the quilt for last. Your quilting style will even out by then, or you may have discovered a particular motif you really like, can execute better, or feels more suited.



Next I moved quilted the bottom row. I outlined all the wool applique first adding fill into hard to reach areas as I moved, then completed the background. One thing I became comfortable with on this quilt was not needing to fill every last centimeter. There is an organic, folksy feel to the design, and imperfections and open space help the quilting connect.



Next was the top row of blocks, and then on to the header. I was anxious to get those feathers going, and did so before outlining. I generally draw the whole feather or cluster to see if I like it. Sometimes the spacing needs adjusted, and that's the time to do it. Then I 'erase' the blue marker with water, let it dry, and just add the spine back. Then I freehand it.



Happy with the feathers, I outlined the applique, and added pebbling. Can you guess where I started? Not at the left side, for sure! 



I did hard to reach areas first like the bicycle, around the flowers, and then connected the areas.



This kind of work is mentally intensive for me. I could work 3-4 hours a day at most, but also because the studio was so warm. We've had temperatures in the mid 90's for days here. I had 2 good days in at this point, and still had to flip the quilt to do the side borders and corners.



Pebbles were perfect in the corners, but it was flying on faith! I could not see anything I stitched as I quilted. The colors matched exactly.



What did Rita think? Her text said, "Love it!" I felt the same way. I hear she has another one in the pipeline. 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

5 comments:

Sally said...

Lovely quilt, fantastic quilting! Good point about where you start on a quilt with freehand quilting. I remember doing several quilts all freehand where the quilting changed as I relaxed and became more consistent.

Dee Dee said...

The quilt is wonderful before the quilting....then the quilting made it amazing! You did a wonderful job quilting it. Such a cute pattern,too. Love the top section.

Janice Holton said...

Love seeing those in progress pictures to see your method. Beautiful feathers, Julie! This is an heirloom for sure.

Kate said...

Gorgeous quilt and the quilting is perfect for the style. Congrats on a lovely finish.

Rebecca Grace said...

Beautiful job, both of you! Your free motion looks so good, I can't really tell much difference between the computer guided quilting and what was hand guided. Out of curiosity, what kind of batting did you use with this one?