Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making progress; quilting feathers

Quilted feathersI've finally mastered free-form free-motion quilting feathers. The word "mastered" may be a bit of an exaggeration, but is pretty descriptive of how I feel about it. 

Suffice it to say I accomplished feathers, at least on this block. I didn't think that would ever happen. To experienced quilters, feathers seem so simple. Yet to those of us that haven't been able to master them, they represent a really difficult skill. 

Joyously, I crossed that line yesterday. There is something so wonderful about the moment when a struggle becomes an accomplishment. It is truly an 'aha' moment. Suffice it to say I am exhilarated. 

To me, feathers on a quilt are elegant. They give it a regal feel. A beautiful quilt needs beautiful feathers.

This marks the latest revelation I've had in what has become an ongoing saga of my going-on-two-years-now quilt project, better known as my aqua and yellow quilt...I must come up with a new name for this; I'm tiring of calling it that. 

When I finally began to free-motion quilt the blocks in this sampler, it was a long time coming. I am really going to love it when it is finished, because it has represented such a remarkable journey. I'm so grateful to Leah Day for her incredible inspiration and the can-do attitude she has communicated to me and thousands of other aspiring quilters. I've been immersed in her videos and that of other quilters who have shared their expertise with the rest of us. There are some amazing online resources available to anyone with an interest. 

I finally got the confidence to design the quilting for these quilt-as-you-go blocks, again, giving credit to Leah Day for the amazing filler designs she has devised. This is the third of 18 blocks in this quilt. The other two are below. I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this quilt.

When I looked at the stack of completed blocks, cut to size and awaiting their final action--the quilting--I wasn't sure how to proceed. Since I had taken pictures of each of them, I printed out the first one, as a sketch, rather than as a photograph. Google's Picasa, excellent and free software to manage digital pictures, has the ability to turn any photo into a line drawing. 

Just looking at the block, I saw what I wanted to do. They say, let the quilt talk to you--and it did. This is the rough sketch I came up with.
This is how it turned out. I made only one change, the stippling in the corner. I thought it looked better with the more uniform lines. 

I know my quilting is not perfect. In fact, it is far from that, but I also know that once this quilt is done and it is washed, the effect will be like magic. There is nothing better than a just washed quilt. The area that isn't quilted puffs a little which accentuates the stitches even more. Imperfections simply melt into the background. Oh boy, I can't wait.

Anyone who has followed my journey--and I appreciate your interest-- knows that this quilt began in Jan. 2013 as a BOM (Block of the Month) from the Quiltingboard, a wonderful and active quilting site I belong to. This particular BOM was meant to be somewhat of a challenge. It was and continues to be. 

When all the blocks were completed in December 2013, I decided to place them on-point, on the diagonal rather than the vertical, I had to come up with some filler blocks. I agonized for a time about how to quilt those, since there are six of them that are all the same. So, I started with the printout of the line drawing. This is what I came up with for all of them. It is basically all about hearts with some stippling in the open areas. I wanted to showcase the diagonals, since that forms the secondary pattern in the quilt, so I think this will do the trick.

The following articles in CHMusings relate to this quilt
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