Quilting my mystery quilt, Scrap Dance Minuet, was the most difficult and time consuming project I have ever attempted. I really wanted to do a custom job on this one, with emphasis on the on-point tesselation between the blocks. So, last time I had finished taking out the ditch stitching and began drawing out patterns for the quilting. If you missed the Minuet Disaster, you can read about the mess, my huge mistake and the delay in getting going. It was disheartening to have to take out so much and start over. Originally, the quilt was loaded on the longarm on June 27th, and it took five weeks to finish quilting it. So, here is where I left off, with only the top section stitched in the ditch and the top row of pieced border done.
On this pure white background, I just didn’t want to do any marking with pens or chalks that might not come out completely. Heat erasable pens and chalks leave a residue (Lets Talk About Marking) that never comes out, and can reappear if the quilt gets too cold. While I don’t expect to freeze the quilt, I still don’t want that residue on this white. But, I needed to do something to delineate the area for the medallions. I decided that painter’s tape would do the job without leaving sticky residue. So, I marked off the on-point squares with long pieces of tape, very lightly applied, just barely in place so the sticky part wouldn’t leave residue on the fabric. I actually put the tape on my clothes and pulled it off several times to reduce the sticky stuff before applying to the quilt top.
I’ve not had a lot of experience doing ruler work, aside from doing beadboard borders. This time I was using a curved ruler for the first time, and I spent quite some time just lining up the ruler and moving the machine without actually sewing to get the feel of it. When I felt like I could move the machine smoothly, I began doing the large petal shapes. The first row would have some partial petals as the tesselated block was cut off at the border.
Four petals make the main medallion, centered in the 4-inch squares and pointing into the flying geese.
Each and every start and stop was painstakingly tied off and buried as I went. I wanted those to be as invisible as possible. The Easy Threading Needles helped.
Tied off and buried, the start point isn’t noticeable. I did this after the first side of the first petal of the medallion as I would come back to this point at the end.
So, I did four points with the ruler, then four inner petals free hand with rounded tips.
Eight petals done, tied off and thread tails buried, the stop point is almost invisible.
Working across the quilt, I did all the partial medallions around the edge as the quilt was advanced.
I worked my way down the entire quilt, re-taping as I went, doing the side ditching and scrappy border SID.
When I got to the last row, I marked the bottom border so I wouldn’t sew into it..
When all the petal medallions were done, I began to look at what space was left.
I lay out Golden Threads paper again, figured out the space and drew some ideas.
Ultimately, I decided to use the same shapes in the spaces, using the patches again as the points for reference. This time I taped off the parts I’d already quilted to keep the quilting lines where they should be.
Once again, I tied off and buried all the starting and stopping threads as I went.
The petals once again converge in a solid 4-inch block, but on the alternate quilting areas, the petals go at an angle to echo the on-point angle.
I used the same curved diamond shape, using the point between the white squares as the reference point.
I worked from top to bottom, filling in the custom quilting.
Just this part took more than two weeks. Some of that time was me just staring at the quilt, being afraid to start, not wanted to mess it up again. Each quilting day, I did 15-20 minutes of just practice moving the machine on the ruler without sewing, just to get comfortable with the movement and the muscle memory. Next week, I’ll show you the finish of the quilting.
Have you done any custom quilting like this? What do you think of mine?
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