Friday, September 18, 2015

Designing...A Glimpse into My Process

So, I am getting ready to load this quilt next week.  I can't find a real pic of the quilt, so this is an EQ7 rendition, and it is pretty dang good at match on the colors.
Several weeks/months ago I drafted up this "idea" for the quilting.  I design my show quilts so many different ways.  I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet for electronically drawing on photos of actual quilts, but at this moment, it is under a pile of stuff on my desk.  This is a common theme in my life.

Sometimes, the unsophisticated approach is simpler.  It really all depends on the day.  There are benefits to all my methods.  So, I thought that I knew the major motifs that I would be using, which means that the next logical step is to mark the quilt.  It has been ages since I have quilted a quilt with deeper colors and for lack of better name, obnoxious prints!  I do this type of quilt weekly for clients, but not so often for myself.  Don't get me wrong, I love the texture that prints bring to the quilt, but there are definite drawbacks when you actually want to transfer a design, and see it!

I am posting this post because you won't believe the number of emails I receive asking me how I mark this and that.  Do I free hand it all?  Do I have a computer?  Do I use a light box?...Well I have all but a computer, and these tools are helpful, but my biggest issue on this quilt (besides what in the world should I quilt) is how in in the world do I mark it so I can see it!  Print and dark fabric are hard.

Let's start with the easier areas...the center

This is kind of a no brainer, since the fabric is light.  I used a water soluble blue pen.  It is a judgement call if it is better to mark as you are quilting the quilt, or before you load it in this case.  I find that if I can see the entire center medallion (it is 30"), it will yield a more symmetrical result. Besides, I wanted the radiating ray lines to be marked.  Those are a total pain to do as you go and get them neat.  I am battling time with my blue pens, as it is very humid here still, but I believe I will be ok.  If not, something should be visible by the time I get to the center in a week!
This is one of the squares of the same color fabric.  I have chosen a rope template.  I will fix up that corner when I get to it, and the quilting within this area will be free handed/unmarked.  I like the rope as it kind of ties into the mariner's star theme.
One of the harder areas to mark happened to be one of the easier areas for me to design.  The green fabrics I chose have an illusion of being sort of solid, but in actuality, there is enough print to drive you blind!  The "scrappy" green area surrounding the 4 corner stars has this swirly design which starts at each corner.  Many of the green fabrics show the white SewLine pencil adequately, but some of them are down right difficult!  I prefer to use something that I don't have to physically erase later, but that is not in the cards this time.  The blue pens just DO NOT SHOW UP!!  My hope is that this swirly, scrolly design will tie these areas to the similar design I used for the center nicely.  That is the "plan" anyways.

The outer red border is getting an insane but lovely stitching treatment.  I want to sew this in a visible color thread, which complicated the design a bit (or slows me down !).  I hoped for a design I could quilt without marking, but I opted for the overlapping look, and marking is really the only method.   
 The quilt is destined to get a large scalloped edge.  You know me by now -- I love curved edges!  I marked it before quilting so I know where it is.  I also marked off these wedge-shaped areas (template out of manila folder) because I plan to quilt them differently.
Just so you know I am human, I can honestly say I don't know what the heck thread I will use on most of this.  I have no clue what color, or what weight.  I am anticipating picking stuff out if I don't get a plan fast.  Dense fill work will be/should be stitched in fine thread, and I have silk thread in each major color of this quilt.  Not sure if I have enough, but I have a cone!  On the flipside, though, if you want to use thread to tweak the color of the background, silk is a hard and expensive way to do it.  It is better to go with a heavier thread like 40wt.   As you see above, I am still playing with the design of the green triangle units of the outer border.  Just when I think I have a clue, I realize I have no idea what I am doing!!

That is what makes designing the quilting both fun and challenging.  I like to have quilting that transcends the piecing -- quilting that basically ignores the piecing and paints a different story.  This needs to be a connected story to the theme and style of the quilt, but being different is just fine.  Just painting designs within the lines is, well, boring.  Time will tell if this quilt is a bore or not :-)

On a different note...
I got fantastic news from AQS earlier this week.  My Bouquet Royale quilt has won the Best of Show at their Chattanooga show!  I an completely blown away.  Surprise, shock, joy...every emotion.  I really wish with all my being I could be there to see it and to talk to people at the show, but it is not in this weekend's cards.  None the less, it is one heck of a grand paycheck for the week!


Vicki W said...

Congratulations for sharing your process and congrats on the big win!

Joy said...

Congratulations on Best of Show! What a beautiful quilt. I would also like to congratulate you on your first place for Autumn's Surrender in the Wall Quilt - Longarm category.

Heritage Keepsakes said...

Congratulations on the win!! And thank you, for another great informative post. Watching you work through the design quilting process is really fascinating.

Mary said...

Thank you for posting this information. I had no idea.

WAZOO! Quilting said...

I saw your quilts in Chattanooga, and was ,again, inspired to up my game as a longarm quilter. I love quilting, and found it later in life, so have to work faster to take advantage of the second half of life! Thank you for your inspirational blog and your willingness to share your process. I'm a fan!