Saturday, September 4, 2010

Loopy feathered wreaths

Deciding how to quilt a new quilt is the hardest decision. Stitch-in-the-ditch or grid quilting? An all over free-motion design, or work within the block structure? Modern, casual or traditional looking?

That's been the decision lurking on my bow-tie quilt. This is a traditional block done in a non-traditional manner, an "origami" style block with a folded center that isn't attached around the edges. The blocks were done in patterns and colors evoking Civil War fabrics, though not necessarily repros. Actually the blocks in this quilt were my extras when we did an exchange of this block on Treadle On, using pre-1900 sewing machines. The block was so much fun I just made a lot of extras.

Anyway, the arrangement of the blocks, with bow ties running in diagonal lines, resulted in octagons of muslin at regular intervals. I knew I wanted the quilting to have a traditional mood, but not be so formal as some traditional quilting designs. Also, I do my free-motion free-hand, on my treadle machine, so it couldn't be too even and measured.

After trying several overall designs, I decided that I really wanted to do a motif in the octagons, and surround them with another design. I went back to several of my favorite free-motion design sites and was just floored when I looked at the main page of the Patsy Thompson Design site. There's this absolutely gorgeous feathered wreath done in multiple colors in a style she calls hyper-quilting. Hers uses stencils, but I decided I would do a more casual style wreath, and use the idea of multiple colors.

I started with a sketch pad and drew various styles of feathered wreathes, once I had one I liked I pulled out one of my practice pieces and tested it out. Yes, a winner. I pulled out the quilt, found a round plastic container with the right diameter and traced around it with a marking pencil to give me my base circle. I stitched it first, then free-hand quilted the feathers and loops around the outside of the circle, then the inside, spacing the inside loops so they filled the interior of the circle. I started these with a tan thread that I will use throughout the quilt, and will come back and echo quilt the wreathes with another color. I haven't decided what that color will be yet.

I got five wreathes done before I started getting tired – when my stitches start getting longer, it's time to take a break. I am excited with the start, and think it's going to be great.

For today, I have to do something for work, so I guess I'll get back to it tomorrow.

More later.