I had a number of readers ask about the thread/machine I used to do the quilting in the background of this quilt. I have a Handi-quilter Sweet 16, sit down mid-arm machine, and I used polyester thread. Now I have a confession to make, I continue to have problems with tension and breaking when I use thinner threads in my mid-arm. I get the best results with Gutermann polyester thread in the top and bobbin.
Since the background was quilted in part one, it’s time to share a bit about my appliqué technique. But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so I’ll begin with the design process I used to create the twisted Oak Leaf and Reel patterns.
I know this border is actually vertical in the quilt, but it fit better horizontally here for explanatory purposes. Do you see how the block on the far left looks like a typical oak leaf and reel block? Then, as you travel to the right, each subsequent block has a little more “twist”?
I created this effect in Photoshop using filters. I selected “distort” followed by “twirl”. Then I typed in the percentage of twirl and here’s what I came up with:
I hope you can see the gradual change from zero to 100% rotation. The 100% drawing was what I used to create the quilting design for the center of the quilt. My hope was to portray the wind swirling the leaves around.
To make the appliqué border blocks I began by layering a piece of the brown plaid border fabric, right side down, with a silk square of men’s necktie fabric on top, wrong side down also, and lastly the paper pattern – pinned at the corners:
Next I free motion stitched on all the pattern lines:
When I turned this block over to the fabric side I was able to see the stitches (I used white thread for demonstration purposes – in the actual block I used a matching thread so it wouldn’t be obvious):
I free-motion stitched over these lines a second time, slowing down my hands to achieve a short stitch length, because this will be left raw edged and I don’t want things to come apart. Once the stitching was done I trimmed away all the extra plaid fabric and – voila – a raw-edge repliqué block!
This is the same way I created the windswept tree!
Once the left border was added I had a minor surprise. I made the quilted background 2″ longer than needed to allow for shrinkage when quilting, but the length was now 1/2″ too short for the contest!!!
What to do? Don’t panic! Simply add triangles along the bottom!
I raw-edge appliquéd these triangles too and I think they add a lot of interest. What a fortunate mistake! It’s all about attitude :-).
I hope you enjoyed learning about my creative process and the techniques required to get ‘er done. I know some quilters have everything planned before they begin, and I’m sure that’s a good way for them to work, but I love to fly by the seat of my pants and wait for the “what ifs”.
How do you work? Intense planning? or “let’s see what happens”? Please comment and let us all know.