Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not all Backings are Created Equal

Here is a quilt I just finished quilting today. I have actually been within shooting's distance of finishing it for 2 days, but really was getting bored and found any number of excuses why I needed to to other things! It is now off the frame, and is getting all the quilter's marks removed (a big task for a dark blue quilt!).
The client really loves this quilt and wanted it custom quilted. She showed me a picture of it done in a magazine, same fabrics and all. Thankfully, I talked her out of the disgusting microstippling on all of the ivory basket blocks. I just loathe excess stippling. It has no place as a filler on a custom quilt, when that is the primary detail quilting that will be seen.
As you can see, all you really see is where the white areas are quilted. I chose to freehand feather where the magazine had stippled. It has so much more visual interest, and ties into the swirly-whirly feathering done on the outer border.
Now, I know that if this were my quilt, I might have not chosen a backing fabric any better than this person did. Mind you, the quilt is lovely, and it is made from really nice blue fabrics (the ivory muslin is a choice I don't follow, but then). She selected the backing from exactly the same fabric as the border. It seems fairly logical, until you think about what that custom quilting might look like.
On a piece with such stark contrast (ie., dark blue and white), I will use a bobbin that matches the top thread. I cannot bring myself to use blue and white together because that is just asking for a mess if even the slightest mistensions happen. This makes the blue quilting very neat, and the white quilting the same. As it should be.
Now here's where the mess happens. The back is the busy, navy print. All the detailed white quilting shows as white on the quilt back. I have not had predictable success with monofilament threads and tensioning them so I didn't think seriously about using it . Maybe I should spend a few days playing. I really don't like the back whatsoever. IMHO...(and my opinion is rarely humble as you know) - this quilt would have looked infinitely better with a tan or rose or even sage green solid or very small print backing. The navy is really awful.
Hopefully the owner won't be quite as offended as I am. The back was really pretty, and all of that texture would have shown so beautifully on a more solid (and lighter) backing. Live and learn.
May you learn a thing or two by reading this blog about all of the goofs that we see in this quilting world! BTW, this client is a local person, not affiliated or aware of my blog. I wouldn't post opinions about your quilt that were derogatory if I knew you'd read them :-) I do try to educated quilting clients before they send/bring quilts to me if they do not yet have their backings, so this is purely a case of being too late to do anything differently.
If you are in the Maine area, don't forget that the Maine Quilt show is this weekend!


Sewing Junkie said...

The top is beautiful the way you quilted it. The back as you said is to bold and big of print to show off the quilting. I tried to use the same bobbin thread and top thread and on a lighter background the darker threads weren't appealing to me. I have been working on piecing a darker top and wondered about the bobbin being a different color than the top worried about tension. Valid remarks about the choices we make for our quilts. Chris

Yvette said...

That was really helpful in choosing my backings.

Another gorgeous quilting job! I will be contacting you next week about sending another.

Vicki W said...

Another beauty!

Rhonda said...

You did a great job with the custom quilting. I think your client will love the results; one, because she asked for this specific type of quilting and two, she wanted that backing....she will love it!!!

bingo~bonnie said...

love the flowers you added above each of the baskets. :) and I do so love reading your honest observations and pros and cons of each quilt. I really do learn a lot of things from you- that I would have never even thought of before. thanks! ;)

Love from Texas! ~bonnie