Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Wishing Tree Quilt

On the western Caribbean quilting cruise in February, I took a workshop from Millie Kaiser, owner of Appletree Quilting in Columbia MO, starting the project from a kit.

We squared up our panels and started adding the borders. The ship's personnel brought in all the irons and ironing boards for each classroom as we weren't allowed to bring any of that on board with us. The ironing boards were brand new, still in the packaging, and were chevron printed in various colors. I staked out a green one near to the machine where I was sewing and noticed something pretty cool as I was pressing:

I was intrigued by the way the chevron pattern shadowed through the panel and decided to incorporate that in the quilting. My friend Carol Tarras had given me a gridded plastic transparent sheet that I wanted to use to put over the quilt top and be able to draw quilting designs with dry erase markers. Better in theory than in execution -- I loved the effect, but......

.... even after a week weighted down with my big cutting rulers all over it, it just wouldn't lay flat. So I took Cindy Needham's advice**and bought 54" wide vinyl and taped the edges with painters tape. This stays flat!

I left the rulers on the gridded mat and draped the vinyl over it, then started drawing in my orientation lines: outer edges, tree, enough of the leaves to still get an idea of the design once I remove the quilt from under the marked vinyl. My thoughts are not to necessarily draw out a whole design and then trace it, but rather to audition ideas without having to stitch them out.

Using the grid for reference, I drew in some chevrons spaced similarly to the ones on the ironing board, then added in a few more lines and a fill design just to see what it would look like.

Some very cool things about this process: 1) Decided I liked the chevrons and the spacing between them. 2) Discovered that in order to most easily stitch this on my quilt, I can mark a 1-1/2" grid on my quilt top with water soluble marker, then just use one of my quilting rulers to stitch from point to point. This is way easier than I thought it would be; seeing the big picture was helpful. 3) Nice to be able to try a fill stitch pattern knowing that I'm not locked into it; I can just erase it and try others.

A big thing to keep in mind here is that the smaller/heavier the fill quilting between those chevrons, the smaller/heavier the quilting has to be everywhere else, including the borders, in order not to get ripply edges and a wavy quilt bottom. To help me determine the light/medium/heavy thing (what I call density when I teach machine quilting), I'm going to stitch the tree and the leaves first, then take a look and decide if I'm happy with the amount of quilting in those areas or if I want to subdivide those leaves to make the quilting heavier. It's always easy to add more; not so easy to take out!

If I want it heavier, I'll add some veining to the leaves and a lot of detail in the background fill; if I'm happy with the quilting as it is at that point, I won't add anything extra to the leaves and maybe not put any stitching between the chevrons when I do the background stitching.

Now to construct the quilt back -- I like to use all my scraps from a quilt on the back and then buy additional fabric as needed. I also had a quilt block from Millie from another project she taught on the cruise and I wanted to incorporate that into the quilt back to make this quilt a great quilting cruise memory! I'll be teaching a quilting design class featuring this quilt at Appletree in July, so Millie and Wendy maybe will sign it then?

Above is what I made yesterday and then added more this morning:

This measures 47" wide by about 38" long, so it's wide enough, but I need about 1-1/2 yards of a coordinating fabric to add to the length. I'd love to find a cream/green/blue batik to pull it all together, so off to my LQS, Bolts in the Bathtub, this afternoon!

**In my search for vinyl to use for project planning, I found that there are at least five different thicknesses available from 4 to 20 gauge. So I emailed Cindy to see what she used; she replied that she was still laughing at the question because she really didn't have an answer! She just went to the store and felt them all until she found the one that was just right! Of course, her answer made me laugh all the way to the store so that I could do my own impression of Goldilocks.....

I purchased 8 gauge and will see how it holds up. 4 was way too thin, 16 and 20 too thick, so it was down to 8 or 12. Either would probably work just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Great info! Looking forward yo taking ghe class with you at Appletree!!


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