Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As the Needle Turns

This took 10 years to quilt! I put it away for years at a time, but finally finished it late last year. It is a Smithsonian reproduction of a antique baby quilt. It was very fun, until a water bottle spilled in the bag it was in and erased the marking, and stained it from the hoop. After avoiding it for years (too painful), I remarked the corner and soaked it for 2 days in oxy-clean and presto - a finished quilt.

It's about 36" square. I know it took 10 years, because I quilted 2000 around the center square.

I also quilted the initial of our family members, B, R, A and H in the upper corner of the pomegranate blocks. In mine, I also quilted a sparrow, which I have used in many, many quilts. It's fun to switch out a design motif and it's a great surprise for those who notice it.

I'm really enjoying hand quilting on my Olympic Eagle. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Several people were interested in the eye-ball quilting so I thought I'd offer a few tips. I in no way intend to sound like an expert, these are just things I've picked up over the years of hand quilting.

Load the Needle -
The toughest stitch is the first, and when you load the needle the chances of going straight are much higher. Sometimes you can see the seam allowance underneath and follow that as well. If you use a good thimble you can really shove it in past the first stitch or so and I use a office finger, inside out, to grab it and pull. I can do a side of these diamonds in 2 loads.

Watch where you're going, not where you are-
I like to keep my eye on the distance from the seam I'm following, rather than the line I'm making. My mother once taught me to watch where I wanted the cup of coffee to go onto the table, and not the cup of coffee....it's pretty good advice.

Quilt Straight Lines
So what I mean here is, quilt all the lines going one way, then turn the hoop and go the other, then turn and cross the lines. You may have a little thread waste, but the lines will be straighter. When you turn a sharp corner you can often pull the thread and make it a little rounded. Also, end a row in a down stitch. When you do turn, start with the space then the stitch, again this helps things stay straight.

In case you are wondering, I like Gutermann thread, a size 9 between, a big 18" hoop and Quilters Dream Request or other very thin cotton batting. On the Olympic Star I'm using Fairfield Cotton and it's very nice. I also wash my quilts afterward to get the good crinklage that we like in the old quilts.

So let me know if this is at all helpful or you have other great hand quilting tips - I'd love to hear them. We can always learn a new way of doing things.

So here is a little quilting from a project I did several years ago. I did a real sampler of quilting designs and this is my signature corner. It is great fun to quilt in surprises and here are a few.

Here is my signature double line quilted and the year 1998.

A heart and a pair of scissors.

And a bumble bee, a motif I often use on signature blocks, and that I have tattooed on my right foot.

After surviving the great Nor'easter of 2010 and being out of power for 36 hours, I now have the cleanest refrigerator and the freshest food I've had in years. I'm not sure when I'll invest in eggs and meat, maybe tomorrow.

When will coco grown into those paws and all that skin? Who knows. She is a pooped out pup after a long walk.

Great Give away - The Queen on Creativity, Karen is having a great give away here: Sew Many Ways


Sue-Anne said...

Your handquilting is amazing! I love your little crib quilt! Thanks for the demo on the handquilting and Coco is just the sweetest little thing, sitting still for the photo.

Karen said...

Your hand quilting is very well done. I like that you made some changes and creatively personalized the reproduction for you & your family.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful hand quilting and isn't Oxy a wonderful product!! Good safe on the one.

antique quilter said...

great post!
oh love seeing the hand quilting , what a beautiful whole cloth quilt.
Yes my refrig received a make over too.
my freezer has 3 things in it right now,
so weird!
I can't believe how big Coco has gotten wow!!!!

Janet said...

The hand quiting is wonderful to see and I'm impressed by what a straight eye you have, loved the tips and must have a go at the no marking method. Coco is growing by the day.

Crispy said...

Your 10 year quilt is just beautiful!! I'm so happy that all the stains came out. Thank you so very much for the tutorial on eye-balling. I'm definitly going to try this when I pick up my row robin quilt again. I also need to pick up an office finger, thanks for saying that you use it wrong side out :0)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely hand quilted quilt, I too have one started a few years ago and must try and finish it. It is called Welsh Beauty.
I hand quilt without a hoop, lap quilt and teach this method as I have never been able to quilt with a hoop.


Lori said...

The wholecloth quilt is amazing!!
Great quilting tips as an old dog can always learn new tricks:)
Coco is adorable!!

Meredith said...

Thanks for sharing your hand quilting photos and techniques. I love hand quilting. I do enjoy hand quilting with wool batting.

Jan said...

Truly lovely hand quilting! The little surprises are a real treat.
A friend of mine has a degree in weaving/textiles. She says that hydrogen peroxide is exactly the same as the Oxy products - basically just a mild bleach, and takes out stains just as well. May be worth a try?

Ann Champion said...

Good for you for getting out that wonderful little wholecloth quilt and finishing it up! Oxyclean is a wonder product.
I really enjoyed seeing the close ups of your fun quilting motifs too.
Your quilting on the star quilt is really coming along nicely. I love quilts that can be quilted by eye and don't have to be marked.

What a cute puppy! :)

kym said...

Beautiful quilting on the crib quilt! Hand quilting is so beautiful and relaxing to do.

Mary said...

Wow - no power for 36 hours. I saw Ridgewood on the national news - a tree through someone's bedroom ceiling. It looks pretty bad there.
I didn't know that about quilting all the straight lines at once. Makes a lot of sense. I need to do more hand quilting!
Love the Coco!

QuiltSue said...

Your quilt is beautiful. Isn't Coco growing fast?

Jenni said...

Your hand quilting is amazing. I want to learn, and have had a bit of a go but I can't get the stitches right on the back. Too small usually - any tips? I'm trying to get into a class, and I've ordered a book this week so hopefully I'll be able to do it one day.
I love the look of those chocolate coloured hoofs!

Lynda said...

Thanks for all the tips. I'm not really a hand quilter, but I do a bit, and now it will be better! Also, the little cot quilt is gorgeous - and a finish!

Jeannette said...

I really enjoyed the tips and your quilting!!! I am a beginner and can really use all the tips, thanks! Coco is so sweet!

Browndirtcottage said...

Wow....you must be so proud with your finish...your quilt is Fantastic!!!
I really enjoyed all your quilting tips you shared....thanks so much!
When you mark your quilts...how or what do you use to mark them...???

Jan said...

I'm forwarding your excellent tutorial to two young new quilters who are struggling to get the hang of this. Thanks!!

Taryn said...

You are a really good hand quilter! I cannot decide whether to be inspired (glass half full) or hang my head in shame (glass half empty). It was inspirational either way.

Kathi D said...

Wow, that is a beautiful quilt! I haven't tried hand quilting, but I have long intended to--and your demo gives me hope!

Rose Marie said...

Beautiful handquilting and jawdropping gorgeous crib quilt!