Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Last January Finish

January has been a very good month!  The finishes have been small but mighty in lifting the spirits. Today I completed all the remaining quilting on my version of last summer's Rainbow Rose Quiltalong - likely the last of the participants to do so, but hey, a finish is a finish however long it takes, right?

This little project finished at about 46 inches square and ended up being both a learning project for me as well as a teaching quilt of sorts for the newbie quilters in our little quilt ministry, although it didn't start out that way.  First, I had planned to finish it last summer - ha!  A few bumps along the road, and some very dear grandbaby quilts took my attention for most of the fall, so here we are in the bleak midwinter with this cheerful interlude.

I had no idea at the beginning how this was going to be quilted - a rather traditional Carpenters Wheel block variation done up in decidedly modern rainbow-y fabrics.  So I ditch quilted all the block seams and the peach stop border.  Since I hadn't practiced any free-motion feathers in a long time, this seemed like a good place to practice those, and so I did, in all the setting triangles and corners, after first drawing a guide line for a spineless version of endless feathers.

This was where I first ran into issues with the quilting.  A quick look at the back tells the story:
All those sweet innocent looking blocks I incorporated into the back gave me real fits as I began quilting the feathers, since my free-motion foot refused to ride over the bulky seam intersections. Someone please remind me if I ever say I'm including small blocks on the back of a quilt again!

That said, I began looking for other options for quilting the outer borders.  Since I've been experiencing a lot more shoulder and neck pain while free-motion quilting but considerably less when quilting with the even-feed foot, I decided to attempt a gentle curved continuous line stencil for the outer border using that foot.  Also, most of the ladies in our quilt ministry group have machines that are reluctant to do any type of free-motion quilting, so if this experiment was a success I could also use it as a teaching quilt to show them some additional options for using their walking foot feature.  So, here are the results of this experiment, which turned out surprisingly well I think.
Beginning the outer border

A closer look at the even-feed foot stitched borders.

All the photos in this post were taken with the stencil markings remaining, so our quilting group can better see the process and especially the difficulties encountered while attempting the sharper curves in the swag inner border design. Lots of little divits here where the machine wanted to lurch inward as I shifted the sandwich around the tighter curves. And I definitely need to learn more about stencil marking and fitting the stencil to the space available. This was definitely a good learning experience, and I'm pleased to find another way to machine quilt that isn't quite as hurtful to aching joints and shoulders.

Though the Carpenters Wheel block pieces should have additional quilting beyond the ditch quilting already done, I'm reluctant to do anything more because of the issues with the excess bulk of the block seams on the back.  This little quilt was originally destined to become a summer table topper, though the youngest granddaughter has already attempted to claim it - twice!  Eventually dear girl, eventually!  That child has never seen a quilt she didn't want, and I love it!

Sunshine and shadow on an otherwise snowy day

And that wraps up January.  Looking ahead I'm not seeing any finishes in the near future since nearly all my remaining projects will be bed-size and mostly hand quilted.  Though I'm equally sure that some other little opportunities will beckon before long.  A quilter's life is never dull, is it?


  1. I think your quilting is beautiful! What a pretty little quilt!
    I have never put blocks on the back of a quilt, so I haven't had the experience you had with this. I appreciate the warning.
    The busy prints of the Carpenters Wheel pieces would not let quilting show up, anyway, so I wouldn't worry about doing more quilting. : )

  2. Beautiful!!!! Love the color wheel of fabrics you selected for this, as it really gives it a punch. With the background quilted "down" densely, it also makes the wheel design pop and move forward, which is what we usually want.
    Quilting....fabulous feathers, and the border motif is great too. The walking foot is a good option for the gentle curves and it turned out well. Shoulder and neck pain usually comes because you are tensing the shoulders or have a table set too high and thus you are not at 90 degree angles. Of course, all may be perfect and just too much time in one position can do it for me. I set a clock for 20 minutes to take breaks.

  3. That turned out beautiful and your quilting is gorgeous! I think the blocks look fine without any quilting, it makes them stand out. I'm FMQ right now and having a terrible time with seams, but there's no turning back now.

  4. Very pretty quilt - I love the colors and the quilting! I'm in the middle of quilting DH's quilt and I'm having fits with it. I'm thinking about ripping out one whole panel that I quilted and don't like how it looks! Ugh!

  5. What a beauty. I love the pieced back, and gorgeous quilting. I know what you mean about shoulder and neck pain. I try to keep my elbows down, but I always end up with them out like wings, and that is no good for necks and shoulders.

  6. Beautiful with outstanding quilting on it.

  7. I love this! Beautiful quilting ... :-) Pat

  8. Your quilting is beautiful on this delightful piece. The free formed feathers are gorgeous and I can see why your granddaughter has laid claims to this quilt. The quilt is a fabulous finish for January

  9. It's lovely!
    Most machines have a screw on top where you can loosen the pressure on the presser foot. That could solve the problem of a pieced backing becoming uncooperative.

  10. it's beautiful ; no wonder she wants it! :)

  11. Oh indeed our lives are never dull! But what a lovely, colorful way to pass the dull winter days!!! And so beautifully quilted :*) No wonder your GD wants to claim it!

  12. Your quilt turned out beautifully, in spite of any issues you experienced. I too have pieced a back using ALL blocks, and had troubles with FMQing the three layers. A suggestion... if your machine has this feature, lessen the pressure on the presser foot. Some machines have a knob on top; others have a dial on the side (like my Bernina does). I've found it helpful to raise the pressure on the foot, and then the fmq is slightly easier to manage. Perhaps you've tried this, and it didn't work. In any case, I too seriously consider before adding blocks to make a backing. Nice job, though!

  13. It's is gorgeous, the quilting is simply stunning. I can't really blame your granddaughter.



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