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.
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.
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.
Now, what pantograph to choose? I pulled several from the basket to audition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And we’re off! Amazingly, the tension is perfect from the beginning.
The stitching stepped over the appliques easily. I was nervous about that.
I like the look on the lighter colors, adding a bit of pattern to the larger pieces on the houses.
It disappeared on the busier prints and darker colors.
The birdies did well too, another breath holding moment, or five, LOL!
Working my way down the quilt, all is going well. I left it for the evening, to pick up again the next day.
Starting again on day two of quilting, new bobbin and it is quilting nicely.
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.
Down to the bottom of the quilting (which is the side of the quilt top), still doing well. Whew!!
Backing checked, no thread loop runs, all looks great, so off the frame it came. Amazing! No trouble at all.
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.
But there it is, here’s the bottom half.
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.
Have you ever had a project that gave you as much trouble as this one has given me?
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