Welcome to the halfway point of the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop! If you're new, I, along with my friends Jen, Kristin, and Vicki, are quilting and blogging our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. I am trying my best to spend time quilting five days a week (but this week was my anniversary, so I only got four). I'm stitching on a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Jen and Kristin are working on domestic machines as well, and Vicki works on a long arm. We are having a lot of fun, and we hope you'll join in! Practice along with us, and tag you photos on Instagram with #machinequiltingbloghop so we can cheer you on!
Week 5, Day 1:
I finally got the Florida quilt basted, and just in time, too, because the designs in this week's chapter are all kinds of perfect. I have to admit, I like the geometric stuff I was working on last week, and I like using it for contrast, but the swirls and loops of this week are my favorite. I like these designs because they quilt so smoothly-- less stopping and starting, more getting in the zone.
Anyway, I got started on Florida today. I thought about doing a meander or swirls in the background, but I wanted to try something new (and I have a lot of swirls planned for Modern Birds in the Air), so I decided to give Crescents a shot. Also, for maybe the first time, I am using a thread that contrasts a bit with the background fabric. I used a lot of solid navy as a "canvas" for the appliqué on the Florida quilt, but I want to use the quilting to add movement and color, so I'm using a dark teal thread. It adds just the right "pop." The crescents give the perfect impression of waves for this large ocean space.
After doing crescents for awhile, I decided it was time to put myself through my paces on the other designs from this chapter, most of which are familiar to me. I started with a basic telephone cord down a skinny border on Modern Birds in the Air.
Then, on a slightly wider border, I did some double loops... then I started echoing the loops... then I found myself graffiti quilting around them. It was so much fun and flowed so naturally. For months and months, I've been seeing pictures of graffiti quilting and wondered how it's done, but now I realize that it comes from having a sufficient "stock" of familiar designs in one's quilting tool box to be able to flow on a whim from one to another.
Week 5, Day 2:
I love the paisleys and pearls design that Angela used on this quilt, but I don't have any tea drop shaped parts on the quilts I'm quilting at the moment. I started stewing on this last night, and, upon looking back on the graffiti quilting I did, I realized there was a section where I connected several paisleys in a chain. Today, I decided to take that same concept, but quilt it larger to fill up a border on the bottom of Modern Birds in the Air. I worked from one end of the border to the other using big paisleys with 3-5 echoes, then retracing to the top of the shape to start the next one. I love it! I wouldn't have thought to use a design like this in a border before, but it filled the space well. I think I may go back and add some echoes around the whole thing to fill to the edge of the border.
Week 5, Day 3:
Well, we're off to Chattanooga tomorrow to celebrate our anniversary, so I think I'll only manage three days of quilting this week. Today I added an echo around the chain of large paisleys I quilted yesterday, and I continued working on the background of the Florida quilt.
Week 5, Day 4:
Sunday night already! I finished the background of the Florida quilt with "crescents." Notice that I've put that in quotes now. I looked back at Christa's crescents in the book today, and I couldn't help but chuckle. Early on in the process of this quilt, my crescents took on a look and shape of their own that is quite different from how Christa shapes hers. I can see the difference clearly even in the video above that I recorded several days ago. Rather than being upset by this, though, I am excited about it. It is further evidence of what I began noticing earlier in the week-- all these hours of machine quilting are adding up, and I'm finding my own "voice." I've often wondered how it is that there are some machine quilters whose work I can recognize instantly-- like both Christa's and Angela's. Now I'm beginning to see how quilting develops a "voice," a style, a flair unique to the quilter just like brush strokes or handwriting are unique to the painter or writer-- like designers become so recognizable in their fabric and quilt designs. So, I'll take my "crescents," which I think I'll call Waves, as evidence that I'm developing my own styles and experiments just like I was able to do my first graffiti quilting earlier this week. My practice is making progress!
I also added a few swirls on the Modern Birds in the Air background. I'm using light blue thread on a white background, so I'm nervous about all the little imperfections right now. However, if the Waves are any indication, I'll have developed a new spin on these swirls by the end of the quilt-- or at least evened out the bumps.
I love the designs from this week, and I'll be continuing to work on them! Be sure to check out what Jen, Kristin, and Vicki have been up to, and click the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop badge below to see the interviews I've done with each blog hopper as well as interviews with Angela and Christa.
I can't wait to see what you're working on!