I have been quilting a lot lately. In fact, during the 10 weeks between February 11th and April 20th, I quilted 41 days for a total of 191 ½ hours! There is a little more left to do, since I decided to wash and block my quilt “Flourish on the Vine” before adding the final borders and binding, but the end is in sight. Another week should do it!
Quilting is quite possibly my favorite part of the whole process of making a quilt. This is when the quilt comes to life, when it becomes dimensional, when it becomes a quilt! This is when the full vision becomes a reality. I machine quilt exclusively these days and this has only increased my enthusiasm and appreciation for the quilting stage. It saddens me to see how many quilters fear and dread this part of the journey when it can be so wonderfully rewarding.
If you were to have asked me how I planned to quilt “Flourish on the Vine”, I would have responded with a vague notion of incorporating swirly vines in between the appliqué. And yet when the time came to actually design the quilting motifs, I stubbornly sketched many other options first.
None of them felt like they belonged in the quilt so I finally returned to my original concept. I began by echoing the appliquéd vines with eighth-of-an-inch quilted vines and from there added more swirls and vines to fill each space.
It looked good on paper, but how would it look on fabric? I decided to quilt a small sample to find out.
Happy with the direction I was going, I sketched the remaining quilting motifs. This is one quarter of the center panel; the red lines are the quilting lines!
To make sure that the vines would be visible, I added a layer of cut-away trapunto using wool batting…
… and closely stippled quilted the background around the vines.
All of the appliqué motifs were outlined by quilting “in the ditch”.
Areas enclosed by appliquéd vines were filled with a quarter-inch grid. This was my first attempt at stitching straight lines free-motion!
A half-inch scallop was quilted around the outside edge of each striped border and an orange peel motif was stitched onto the green fabric.
A couple weeks ago, I showed you how I “marked” the orange peel design onto the green fabric. Here’s how it turned out on the border motifs.
It’s hard to believe that after almost two years, the quilt is nearly done! Next week, we’ll talk about the various needles and threads that were used for all this machine quilting.