Sunday, May 25, 2014

Redone Fairies Quilt

I acquired this quilt from my client Maureen recently.  She had another quilter quilt it for her.  As you can see it is already bound.  Yes, this most certainly poses some difficulties, but I will tell you how I dealt with it.  The first quilter did not quilt a single stitch on any of the appliques.  Only the outline was ditched.  They were floppy and unattractive.  This is a twin sized quilt, so as you can see, that large girl applique is not small.  It is absolutely beautiful applique, all turned edge.  It was sad to see how poorly it was quilted.
To make matters worse, this quilt had some of the most horrible technique I have ever seen on a quilt. Here's a snapshot of the backside... The tension is attrocious.  The quilter must not have so much as ever looked at the backside.  AND...she used this metallic thread in her bobbin, which is notoriously difficult to work with, with a white/ivory on the topside.   It just made me sick to think that someone put all this work into a top then a unskilled or beginner quilter made such a mess of it.
Maureen initially only asked me to do the quilting on the appliques.  They needed to be stable, plus, she wanted there to be enough decorative stitching to compliment the design.  After receiving the quilt and seeing the back, she allowed me to (gasp) pick out all of the echo quilting around the many appliques, and requilt it. I did all of the appliques first though, so that there was something to help hold the quilt together.  Over 8 hours of pickout was done, even with this terrible tension.  This echo quilting is nearly every 1/4"!  The sashings had their issues, but they had to stay in so that I wouldn't get any pleats and puckers.  Here's a quick look at one block, after the appliques were done, but before the background was redone.
The original background was OK, nothing too special in my sometimes over-opinionated view.  Had the tension been good, it would have been a mute point.  I'd have left it.  I chose to quilt the new backgrounds with a combination of feathers and other elements.  Now, it just sings.  It has movement.  The girl is completely dreamy.
 Some of the fairies got veins in their wings, while others got ones more like a butterfly has -- with more lines.  I tried to let the feathers give them life, to show their flight.
I didn't add an excess of quilting on most of the appliques, but I hope you can envision how loose and floppy they were without anything.
 Here's an example of a fairy with the other type wing detailing.
 The sashings and their issues are considerably less noticeable now that there is more to look at.  I have offered to redo them if the client wants to remove the stitching.  The tension on these isn't so bad, so they won't be a fast job to remove!  The sashings were done via computer, and the quilter just didn't know her system well enough to do then without unnatural breaks in the pattern.
I stitched this with a pale sea green So Fine thread.  It sounds odd, but the batik actually has this shade in it, and it works better than the ivory or white did.
 This is my favorite look.  The quilt is for her grand-daughter, who must love and dream of fairies just as this girl on the quilt is.  She's almost more of an angel than a fairy.
It's a sweet and playful quilt that I am glad I got the opportunity to help revive.  This task is not for the faint hearted, as it really requires knowing how your machine will tension threads.  Since it is already bound, there is not the usual place to confirm you have good tension.  The quilt unfortunately did not have wool batting, as it would have given these appliques so much more poof.  It is sweet and spirited now, and has so much more movement than before.


Leeanne said...

You did a wonderful save. What have done is lovely.

P.S do you know you have that 'please prove you are not a robot' in your comment area?

Unknown said...

Love your feathers!

Michele said...

What a huge task that was to redo but so worth it. It is a shame that the 1st quilter did such a poor job with it and I'm glad that you were able to make the improvements.

Lynette said...

*Nice* save :D