Sunday, October 13, 2013

31 Days: Day 13 - Another orphan

One of the things I most appreciate about my local quilt shop is that the owner is willing to bring in extraordinary teachers several times a year. I've taken classes with quilters whose names would be familiar to anyone who knows anything about the quilting world.

Ricky Tims is an internationally known quilter and concert pianist. He has a unique perspective on quilting, doing many things "wrong" according to the "quilt police". His quilts are stunning in both design and execution.

Twelve of us were the lucky participants in one of the last two day, hands on workshops he gave before he went to a lecture-only format.

Class supply lists are often fairly long, based on what the teacher thinks can be accomplished during the workshops. Mileage varies, as they say, so you never really know when you are perusing the list if you will really need that 36" square quilt top.

As it turns out, we never came anywhere near needing it.

In a way, I was glad. I had pulled a couple of "ugly" fabrics from my stash - the ones that make you think that at the last guild meeting, someone secretly stuffed it in the bottom of your bag, because you would never have paid good money for it. I had a dusty pink batik that was washed with a bit of orange that just didn't belong in my stash.

That, along with an orange batik and a brown to sort of tone things down became my class quilt top. After class, I thought I'd use it as a learning piece for some free motion quilting.

Year: 2005?
Size: 36 x 36
Pattern: Amish square in a square
Fabric: Ugly stash batiks
Quilting: Feather designs in pink, triple lines in orange and brown borders, daisies in the cornerstones

All things considered, this little hanging has grown on me.

The quilting motif in the pink corners is from a template I purchased years ago, when I was still hand quilting. I'm not sure I had used it on any project before I traced on this one.

Close up - corner motif
The trick when following a motif, as in free motion quilting, is to keep a smooth, steady movement of the quilt sandwich under the needle.

It's not as easy as it might seem. If you were to machine quilt a perfect circle, you'd be able to feel that the quilt moves easier, and the stitches are more uniform, on the section of the circle where you are stitching on the bias - diagonally across the grain of the fabric.

I can't help but wonder if that is why so many antique quilts have diagonal lines as a background filler; it's also easier to needle hand quilting on the bias.

Close up - just because I like the daisies.
The daises in the cornerstones are a favorite square filler of mine. The flower is quilted with petals long enough to reach the sides of whatever area they are filling, rather than in a perfect circle. It takes a bit of the pressure off, as well as fitting the space well.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this one - it worked well at the old place, but is a bit out of place in the condo. If anyone has a burning desire for an orange sherbet colored wall hanging, let me know.

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