Be My Neighbor – Quilting the Beast

After the flimsy was done, I measured the quilt.  It came out at 70 x 96 inches, quite the beast!  So now the decision was how to quilt it.  From the beginning, I wanted to do a cloud fill in the sky parts, and individual motifs and designs on each house.  I needed to decide as it affects the way it is loaded on the longarm, custom quilting gets loaded with the top edge pinned to the leader and quilted from the front of  the machine.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

That, frankly, was an overwhelming idea at this point, with it being such a big quilt.  I could do that and just not finish for this year’s fair, after all there’s another fair next year.  But I just chickened out and decided on a pantograph. So, I need to load it crosswise, with the longer axis parallel to the leaders.  Pantographs are quilted from the back side of the frame.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

That decision affects how I would piece the backing as well, as it is best for the seams to run parallel to the bars. There was only one fabric in my stash for backing that had enough fabric on the bolt.  I needed 5-1/2 yards to get the required 4 inches all around for longarming.  I have a couple of wide backs in the stash, but their autumn look didn’t go with this quilt.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Now, what pantograph to choose? I pulled several from the basket to audition.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

I eliminated three right off, as they were not dense enough for the look I wanted. So, these two were the choice. The flowers and leaves didn’t seem to be the right scale for the houses. So, I picked the one on the left below for its feather motif and fairly dense quilting design.  It is called Feelin’ Groovy designed by Michelle Wyman and Terri Watson for Heart and Soul Quilts sold by Willow Leaf Studio.  The width of the panto is 14 inches, so one pass quilts a lot of area.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Backing seam done, it was loaded with Warm and Natural batting. I folded up the bottom to check the square. Yippee, my borders are straight! Yes, I do this on my own quilts. I want to fix piecing or border issues before starting quilting. You can do the same with your quilts using the side of a bed.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

OK, getting there. Next choice, thread color. I auditioned lots of colors, I thought the greys would win, but they didn’t look as good on the houses as a brown tone.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

The choice came down to these three.  I had an idea that the light variegated gold might look like sunlight in the sky, but it was too bright for the houses. Ultimately, I decided on the light brown Essentials thread for the top, with Bottom Line in the bobbin.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

And we’re off! Amazingly, the tension is perfect from the beginning.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

The stitching stepped over the appliques easily. I was nervous about that.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

I like the look on the lighter colors, adding a bit of pattern to the larger pieces on the houses.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

It disappeared on the busier prints and darker colors.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

The birdies did well too, another breath holding moment, or five, LOL!

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Working my way down the quilt, all is going well. I left it for the evening, to pick up again the next day.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Starting again on day two of quilting, new bobbin and it is quilting nicely.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

And in a stroke of luck, the bobbin only ran out on the pebble fabric, so I could tie off and bury the threads and it didn’t show the starts and stops at all.  I did buy a side threading needle to make that easier.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Down to the bottom of the quilting (which is the side of the quilt top), still doing well. Whew!!

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Backing checked, no thread loop runs, all looks great, so off the frame it came.  Amazing!  No trouble at all.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

I cannot tell you how happy I am that it is quilted. I was really afraid that it would be a pain since the piecing has been such a trial.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

But there it is, here’s the bottom half.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

All trimmed, and ready for the final touches. Binding is next, and football preseason is here, so I have handwork to do for a number of days. I need to do the binding, then add all the embellishments like buttons for bird eyes and some other things. After that, it will need a hanging sleeve and a label. At this point, I am ahead of schedule and will surely have enough time to finish in time to show it at the Mountain Regional State Fair.

Quilting Be My Neighbor at From My Carolina Home

Have you ever had a project that gave you as much trouble as this one has given me?

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34 thoughts on “Be My Neighbor – Quilting the Beast

  1. Your pantograph was a good choice and it is done! You would never know by looking at it that you had trouble piecing it. Your quilt is beautiful. Congratulations on the finish.

  2. Elaine Nemeth

    What a wonderful quilt. It has been fun to travel with you on this
    quilting adventure.. The quilting motif is perfect for all the buildings and
    sky . Thanks for blogging this quilt…

  3. shoshana

    who am i to say as all the problems were yours to fix, but it certainly looks like it was worth it to me!!! Beautiful!

  4. Cheryl Buchanan

    It has turned out to be more beautiful than as we have watched it grow. Excellent idea on the pantograph, it turned out wonderful! I am working on the border for mine. I decided on a first border that runs deep gray along the bottom, almost like a road color and then about 5 inches up the side, which then turns to brown, then green and then light blue in varying lengths. A darker night sky type blue bands across the top. My next border is a piece of fabric from last years row by row and is a black and white neighborhood, which I am coloring. Not sure my quilt will make it to the fair this year as I haven’t even thought about quilting it. Hope mine turns out half as lovely as yours did. Hope you win the blue ribbon. A long arm is definitely on my bucket list for the near future. Again, congratulations on a job well done.

  5. Rosemaryflower

    This quilt looks really pretty. I love how it turned out. Thank you for sharing your process here in the top quilting. You make it look so easy. Everything went smoothly, what a beautiful finish

  6. Linda B

    Well done and hope it wins in the quilt show!! Thanks for showing your struggles and successes as you went!

  7. Mary Jean Cunningham

    Finally, the quilt behaved – about time! Guess it finally realized who’s in charge, LOL! One of my worst projects was an American Girl doll dress with quarter-inch seams made out of fabric that frayed every time I touched it (it was either before Fray-Chek or else I hadn’t heard of it yet), so that it required extreme care, plus it had gathered puffed sleeves with bands, gathered skirt, tiny little stand collar, lace to be applied by hand, and finally, Velcro back closure and closures on the sleeve bands where the hooked Velcro kept sticking to the fabric and leaving little pulls – it was fine when it was all over but it was nerve-wracking sewing it! I know more tips now for projects like that, but it was before the Internet when it was easier to try to trouble-shoot with online assistance. And of course, there was the top I cut out and later realized all the birds on it would be upside down when it was made up…still in the rag bag, never sewn! Don’t know what I was thinking…probably trying to go too fast. Well, experience is a wonderful teacher – just sometimes not one we like very much!

  8. lois92346

    Oh, Carole! It’s fantastic! I love everything about it. Please show us close ups when you’ve completed the embellishments.

  9. Melanie

    Congratulations on a fantastic finish! I see a blue ribbon coming. :o) Thanks for the very interesting lesson….I learned a lot, had no idea longarmers load quilts differently for different applications NOR that seems in the backing are best horizontally to the frame…I never knew this as I’m not a longarmer but have sent quilt tops out for quilting. My BMN is waiting for me now (for courage) to quilt it on my home sewing machine row by row, then I will put it together. I may have it done by next year at this time. LOL

  10. Diane Kelley

    So I have what might seem to you to be a stupid question….why did you have to put it crosswise on the long arm? Why not lengthwise? Thanks. Diane

    Sent from my iPhone


  11. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; OMGoodness, this quilt has turned out magnificently! It makes me sad that I have missed posts on the house block creations, I know though you know why and understand. I am so thrilled that you walked us through the entire quilting process, it was so interesting. Plus, what a beautiful motif you chose and you just made it into an even more beautiful quilt! I think it is absolutely fabulous that you enter so many quilts and other projects into the fair. You are a great supporter of your community! It makes me very proud to be your friend! We never know if our “Political” nightmare are going to allow a fair up until the last moment. I just might have a quilt to take this year if it does occur. Thank you for sharing, Carole and have a great day!

  12. What a grand finish!! I haven’t had as much worry as you through the whole process, but once made a dress in velveteen, thought it was so beautiful, first daughter 3 months old, and off to a cousin’s wedding. Then my Mum said ” you have the fabric running the wrong way”, and sure enough, I had sewn it with what I call ” the smooth” running downwards. It was dark blue with lighter blue flowers and green leaves, I still loved it so much. That was 54 years ago!!! Your quilt is a beauty!!

  13. Very nicely done and yea for no problems long arming it. I’m curious — do you generally load your quilts sideways? I would think there would be some designs that just didn’t look right. I’ve turned a quilt or two as I only have an 18″ LA and it isn’t big enough to do long borders. The end result looks great. And, yep, that brown thread looks great.

  14. dezertsuz

    I don’t think I have ever done something that drove me that crazy. =) You’ve done a beautiful job and I’m so glad it will be in the fair!

  15. I have a long-arm but have never used a pantograph, so I didn’t know several of the things you mentioned. I’ve always custom quilted (even when the work was horrible) and find I love it. However, this is fabulous. I love the quilt and the pantograph design. Your houses are just adorable! Good luck at the fair–not that you need it. 🙂

  16. Carole – I just downloaded all the blocks from Pat Sloan’s – I love to quilt . com website. I didn’t realize until I started looking through them that it was a Moda pattern. I saw the reference to it at another quilt store on line this morning, under their “free pattern” listings. Pat is starting up another round showing her blocks in 2 color waves.

    I went “browsing” looking at photo’s of completed quilts using this pattern and YOURS is by far, the best!

    Your houses have interesting colors, but they all relate to each other because you have carried some fabrics through to other blocks. I love that you “grounded” your houses with gardens full of flowers and “ground” with the brown sashing between the rows. What I think I like best is the blue you chose for the background. It definitely gives it that “SKY” look, which I am guessing was your goal. They are BIG blocks! I’m “thinking” about playing around with a few of these blocks, and may start pulling fabrics later in the week to see what develops. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Good luck at the fair!

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