|My version of the Charley Harper Quilt|
I finished quilting almost every inch of my version of the Charley Harper quilt
, designed by Melissa Lunden. The original was on the cover the the International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine (2013\2014). I originally wanted this to be the front of a quilt with a pieced back, but I just couldn't do it. I'd rather have two quilts to FMQ than one!
This is the first quilt larger than a wall hanging that I quilted so densely. I had an absolute ball quilting it. Free motion quilting (FMQ) is sooooo addictive. I was going to practice all kinds of FMQ designs in the rectangles but it only took one block to figure out that they wouldn't show up since the printed fabric was so busy. Really, I should have known that. Oh well, that's what experience is for. After this quilt, I may actually remember this!
|Letting the fabric dictate the quilting|
So except for two of the fabrics, I did what I usually do with busy fabric; I let the design dictate the quilting. I followed the fabric design and quilted around flowers and leaves, and lines and scrolls. For the maroon fabric, to add contrast, I didn't FMQ it at all. As for the fabric with tiny hexagons, that's the fabric I started practicing my FMQ designs and quilted 3 larger hexagons within it. I quilted them all like this for consistency, but they're practically invisible!
For the circles at one end of the quilt, I FMQ the first one by going around the design and then quilting from the edge of the circle to the inside, following the fabric pattern. I wasn’t really pleased with it, so all of the other circles were quilted using one of Angela Walter’s FMQ patterns from her Shape by Shape
book. The FMQ doesn’t show much from the front, but can be seen better from the back.
|The back of the quilt - FMQ the circles|
I did all of the stitch-in-the-ditch and FMQ in the rectangles and bottom circles using the taupe Superior Thread’s Bottom Line.
To quilt the feathers on the brown background, I bought some WonderFil – Invisifil, which is a 100 wt. soft poly. After my second feather, I knew I had a problem. Even after playing around with the tension, there was no way I could get my machine to play nice with the thread, which kept breaking. I decided to change thread but was in a panic about finding thread that would match. I bought some thread but they weren’t the right colour. Finally in desperation I looked in my miscellaneous thread drawer and found the perfect thread. It was an Omni Thread, poly-wrapped Poly Core, size 30 by Superior Threads. I had gotten it from Superior Threads’ Try Me Specials
where you choose the type of thread (at very good prices) and they choose the colour. The Omni Thread was the perfect colour and quilted like a charm.
|Close-up of the background feathers|
I drew the outline of my first feather, but after that, I was able to just keep going. I love making big feathers and then making smaller ones to fit particular spaces.
The only problem I had while I was quilting the feathers occurred when I was about ¾ finished. I ran out of taupe Bottom Line thread. Thank goodness I have a supplier who came through for me. Crisis averted!
If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you will know that I’m not a great planner. That’s why I’m very proud of the fact that I put together my binding before I started quilting.
This week I got to work early and had a wonderful photo shoot with the quilt! I felt like an artist draping my quilt over benches, walls and fences to take photos. It was a great way to start a work day!
|The quilt's photo shoot|
What I learned:
- A year ago I would have laughed if someone had said that I would care a lot about thread! I’ve really come to appreciate the effect that thread has on a quilt.
- I didn’t FMQ the maroon rectangle at all. I’m still not sure if I like it – but if I ever decide that I don’t, I’ll just lightly quilt it.
- Have you noticed in the picture of the quilt on a fence, that I used a few inches of the background fabric in my binding (on the left side)? Not good. It looks like there’s no binding there. I think I won’t forget this lesson!
- I love FMQ but I don’t think that I’ll be quilting other quilts as heavily as this. I’m not sure what the perfect amount of FMQ is for me, but I do find this quilt too stiff. That is definitely a drawback of quilting so densely.
- In October 2013. I posted a blog called "Too Much of a Good Thing", where I wondered if a quilt so densely quilted would be stiff. It turns out I was right.
- This quilt was done as a learning project – from choosing the fabrics to the quilting. I’ve learned so much from this quilt. It was totally worth the effort!
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