Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The largest Custom I have ever done

When I thought that my Big Green Dresdens quilt (yes, it's about to get a more respectable name before the spring shows are here) was the largest custom I'd ever do, I was wrong.  I just finished quilting Marianne Elizabeth's Amaretto Cottage for Lynette, and this beastie is a whopping 20% larger!  It measured 112" square before I started quilting!   Because of it's massive size, the only place I have big enough for it is my longarm.  All pictures taken of it will chop off large sections since my hallway is only about 7' across.  You can look at the link for Lynette's blog to see other pictures of this quilt.

One thing I can rely on when I receive a quilt from Lynette is how impeccably it is pieced.  I did a Patriots & Petticoats quilt for her last year, so I am familiar with how meticulously she pieces her blocks.  Even the sections of blocks are so well pieced.  The quilt laid flatter than most quilts I make (and you know what a stickler I am for my piecing).  I knew that it was all in my hands to make the quilt look good, because Lynette had most definitely done her job already.  Talk about nerve wracking.

The quilt does not disappoint, in my humble opinion.  I set out to quilt this with a few simple goals.  For me, sampler-style quilts can be discontinuous and difficult to meld into a cohesive quilt.  They are made from many different fabrics.  Although the blocks are repeated 4 times in this quilt, they are of all different constructions - some are a 4-patch, some are a 5-patch, and some are things different still.  As a quilter, these differences make it hard to select a stencil that works for all blocks, or choose a design that works uniformly for all blocks.  I do not care for the look of quilting each block differently, just to say that you custom quilted each block.  I feel strongly that these different sampler blocks need to be melded into one quilt through the quilting.  You can see how I did this on her Patriots & Petticoats quilt with a feathered wreath.  This would have worked nicely here too, but I just wanted to do something different.  
 So I got sketching and here's what I came up with.  The shape reminds me of a Christmas ornament or bauble.  The feathering within them has so much movement.  I'm really pleased with the look.  It is different and effective.  It also allows me to do the curved cross-hatching that provides terrific texture against the multitude of feathers.  These fabrics are lovely, and frilly, and floral - just screaming for lots of feathers.
 You will notice that I don't shy away from quilting outside of the lines.  If you only fill the "blocks" of the quilt, then you are left with a rather mundane framework for your quilting.  That is not to imply that the quilt is mundane.  It is anything but that, but to quilt inside of a bunch of log cabin blocks would deprive me of all kinds of great options!  Despite the florally and feminime fabrics, the quilt is largely linear.  To offset this, I quilted the scalloped feathery swags between the sampler blocks.  I allowed the swags to flow down into the green border.  These should hang off the edge of the bed and look lovely.
Lynette sent a Hobbs Tuscany wool batt for this quilt.  That is partly why the feathery relief is so nice.  It shows the texture of the quilting so  much better than cotton.    I used three colors of Glide thread - most of the quilt is in a gold that coordinates with the fabrics.  There is also a little bit of pale green and light purple. 
 I was pretty glad today when I got down to just this center 18" purple square!  I had basted it off and left it since I knew it would not be stitched in the gold thread (which 90% of the quilt was stitched with).  In fact, I think I used over 2 miles of thread on this quilt!  I'm telling you, it is BIG.
 As you go from border to border, some are stitched in a semi-traditional manner where the stitching stays in the border, and some are just more avant garde.  I hope the creative approach is appreciated. It moves the eye all over the quilt.
I have a few shots of the back too, since they show the quilting superbly.  The backing is a soft lavender solid, despite appearing grayish in the photos.  This shows the scalloped border, and where the sampler blocks are.  But from the back, you are left wondering what the front might look like!
Here is one corner.  I LOVE this shot.  The texture is amazing.  Feathers are just a beautiful form, and bring this to life.
 Here's the center, rotated 45 degrees...  You can get a good look at the 1st border that quilts through the smaller sampler blocks - it has large egg & dart (semi-circles) filled with feathers, then a row of scallops & more feathers.  And then some curling feathers.  Hmmm...did I quilt too many feathers?  Na - no such thing!
This will be flying its way home to Lynette later this week.  I truly hope she loves it as much as I do.   I will treat myself to a day of playing with that tantalizing pile of silk Radiance I showed last week.  Believe it or not, I may have a plan.  Either way, I will take scissors to the fabric tomorrow!

15 comments:

~Michelle~ said...

Good grief, that is a frickin' huge quilt! And I'm left wondering how you wrangle a top that big through your machine and get it to lay as flat as you say it does... The quilting, as always, is superb. :)

LynCC said...

Oh, WOW!! Lynette is grinning ear to ear. :D Margaret, this is absolutely gorgeous, and I assure you that the artistry is appreciated and loved. What a treat to find when we walked back into the house. You brought so much organic movement to it! I just adore the motif you worked out for the sampler blocks. I'm betting I'm going to want to use this back-side up sometimes, too.

regan said...

Nope.....can't ever have too many feathers!! It's gorgeous!

Rhonda said...

OMG, the back is a stunning as the front. Excellent work and I love your narration of what you did in the blocks and borders!!

Vicki W said...

It's fabulous!

Debbie said...

I am a follower of Lynette's blog so I instantly recognized her quilt. You did a fabulous job!

Kirsty said...

Amazing. You do extraordinary work!

Marlene said...

Awesome quilting, you truly made that quilt stunning! Great job Margaret!

Kathy said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

Susan Lawson said...

Margaret, I'm speechless! It's absolutely stunning! Can I ask how long this took to quilt?

Ulla's Quilt World said...

Your quilts are so lovely as always!
www.quiltworld2.blogspot.com
Hugs, Ulla

Gail said...

Wow!!! This is beautiful!

Pam said...

Amazing! Big quilts are like having 2 kids.... way more than twice as much work as one. everything from loading the quilt, to remembering what you did at the top when you roll down to the bottom. :) Love the curved cross hatch. I have not tried that yet, but you are inspiring me.

Chantal Thibodeau said...

I really like how you explained all your thoughts about your work, with so much details. Your quilting is really great. I'm looking forward to come back here often to read you.

Chantal Thibodeau said...

I really like how you explain you thoughts in so much details. Your quilting is really splendid. I'm looking forward to come back here often, sneaking for ideas.