Monday, May 16, 2011

The Weakest Link

For me, it is my quilting.
I have utmost confidence--even a little vanity--about my ability to choose fabrics and colors and to assemble them together in a pleasing way (well, pleasing to me). But things bog down after I sandwich together top, batting and backing. I would have to say that my quilting is merely utilitarian and mostly pretty boring. With practice and a willingness to experiment (though just a bit!), I would say it has gotten a *little* better, but I have much room for improvement.
My opalescent quilt that I made in 2007 was the first time that I combined machine with hand quilting. As you see, my stitches are pretty big. This was also the first time that I used variegated thread and I really liked the results.

opalescent quilting

So that led to a second quilt with machine quilting in the ditch combined with hand quilting. As you see, a formula is developing!

quarter log quilting

Then I went a little nuts and decided to do a whole quilt by hand. This quilt has been 'under construction' for about 2 to 3 years now--though I am getting very close to being finished! (My history has always been that things come to a screeching crawl or stop when I get to the hand work.) Again with the variegated thread.

hand quilting

The little quilt I made for the HMQG Project Park challenge was quilted by machine. Nothing innovative here, just overall quilting following the pattern of the patchwork. But look, no ditch stitching!

project park quilting

I made a little sister to the opalescent quilt. I was going to follow The Recipe, but some of the hand-dyed fabrics are done with sheeting and hand stitching through them was like sewing through stainless steel, so I opted to do it all by machine. But again--in the ditch with element outlining. I am starting to even bore myself!

little opal quilting

The galaxy quilt that I just finished is all outline quilting. The "edge-y" thing with this one--I did TWO outlines! WOW! And the trouble with doing outline quilting with the machine is that there is lots of twisting and turning of the quilt, lots of stuffing the whole quilt through the little arm of the machine, and aching shoulders when you are done.

close up

Now my current project: the mustard, blue and grey circle skirt circle quilt. And what am I doing? Well, machine quilting in the ditch, of course! I think I want to add something more, but I am not sure what. Outline the box-y elements and black lines? Add some areas of 'grid' like the background of the main fabric? Or just let the fabrics speak for themselves? I am open for suggestions. Please.

circle quilting


MariQuilts said...

I love big is it?? Are you quilting it all in one or in sections?? I'm just asking so I can actually offer any ideas.

Great post.....I have a tendency to keep doing the same thing over and over again too.

Jenny said...

I love that too!

noga quilts said...

I love your quilt! The colors are great and so is the design. If you feel comfortable with in the ditch quilting, you should go with that, and see if you want to add more outline quilting. It will be much easier once the 3 layers are quilted.

The design will "tell" you wether you need to add more quilting, and where.
Good luck with that, can't wait to see the whole quilt!

Rachaeldaisy said...

Such a great post, and I know how you feel. The quilting part is where I let myself down. I like your out line quilting and always love hand quilting and it's so lovely to some of your past quilts!! Okay how to quilt The present quilt? I love this quilt, just had to say that. I like your the of outling the geometric shapes in the fabric!

Bobbidink Designs said...

It sounds like you are in a rut. Maybe it is time to take some machine quilting classes at a local shop or when festival comes to Houston, to build up your skills in free motion so you have more options in your "toolbox". I also highly reccommend reading Leah Day's blog she has a different quilt design a couple times a week. Very inspiring.
Looking at the quilting on other quilts is good for inspiration as well.
I hope you find your happy place again!

Abby said...

It's interesting to see how your quilting has evolved. I really love the piece you are hand quilting.

cauchy09 said...

oh, these are all beautiful quilts! i do the same thing on everything.