Thursday, 26 June 2014

Vintage Quilt Revival Sampler (Finished)

I feel like I'm working in hyperactive mode on quilts at the moment - I'm enjoying the process as much as always, but I have several deadlines I'm working to so I've been flitting between three different projects for the last month or so. One of these is the class sample I've been working on for a BOM-style class I'll be teaching at Frangipani Fabrics starting in August, based on some the blocks in the book Vintage Quilt Revival. I've been quilting this quilt over the last week or two and finished it up the binding this morning. I have to admit I'm not entirely happy with how the quilting turned out - it's not horrible, but I did learn a lot through the process of quilting this quilt and would approach it a bit differently next time. 


As I said in my post last week, I was really excited about having so much negative space to play with, and had a general idea as to how I wanted to approach it. I knew I wanted to have a few large feathers winding their way through the negative space, so they appear to sit behind the strip of blocks in some places. I didn't really have any other plan aside from that - and I think that was my downfall. I think with this much space to play with it would be better to have a better-than-vague plan. The biggest thing I think I could improve is the placement of the feathers.


Don't get me wrong, I think my quilting looks pretty good on this quilt, I'm just not all that happy with the placement of the feathers and I'm not sure if they work as a design element or not. I think this is the key thing I learnt when I was working on this quilt - that is, how difficult it is to plan out quilting on a large area of negative space on a domestic machine. This may be an issue for long-armers as well, but I found it really difficult to visualise how my quilting was going to look on a larger scale, especially the large feathers. I didn't do any sketching before I started quilting, but I think it would have helped enormously if I had :o)


I think the saving grace with this quilt is that the quilting blends so well into the background (I used Aurifil 50wt in Dove grey for all the quilting), so even though I didn't make the best choices for the quilting, it isn't glaringly obvious ;o)


Regardless of my reservations on the quilting side of this quilt, I really love it. I love the colours (especially as we descend into grey and cold days) and I really like the layout. I'd love to hear your thoughts though - do you think the feathers work? Do you ever come to the end of a project and have things you would do differently next time? I often do, but not as strongly as this time around!

xx Jess


27 comments:

Carla said...

I think it's amazing. All your quilts are so unique and just wonderfully packed with fabrics of all kinds! Love it

Adrianne @ On the Windy Side said...

First off, your quilting is beautiful as always! But since you're looking for some feedback, here are my thoughts. I think the idea of having large scale feathers twining around or sitting behind the blocks is awesome. Genius even. I wonder if that would have worked better if you'd continued the feathers in the negative spaces in the blocks (would be hard to quilt, I know) and then quilted all of the rest of the space with the swirls and pebbles as a kind of background. I really love all the different designs you did in the blocks but I feel like they are competing with the feathers and resulting in a less cohesive look. Perhaps if you wanted to stick with the different quilting designs in the blocks, a background filler like just the swirls and pebbles in the background would have let them stand out more? Also, I just had a free motion quilting epiphany which is so obvious I can't take believe it's taken this long for me to catch on - you ARE allowed to mark your free motion quilting designs first. I am planning to use feathers on a quilt of mine, and I'm going to mark them (freehand, not off a stencil or traced off a pattern), before I start quilting. That way I can mark when I can see the whole quilt, and see how the whole design is going to look, rather than having to imagine it over the whole quilt when it is bunched up in my sewing machine. Anyway, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts on your quilt - it's so encouraging to know that other people find things they wish they did differently with their quilts as well!

Grit said...

Wow...looks so fantastic. You give me a lot of inspiration.
Grit from Germany

Gina said...

I agree with Adrianne. THere's too many different types of quilting on there, gorgeous though it is. Maybe just the one type of filler all through. If I'm doing large feathers I always mark out the spine so I have an idea of where it's going.And as heartbreaking as it is I have been known to rip out a whole quilts worth of quilting if it hasn't worked as I wanted. xxx

Charlotte said...

As a non-machine quilter I am (as always) in awe of your skillz. This looks incredible!

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

The blocks are beautiful and the quilting is incredible! Being totally honest I agree with you that the placement of the feathers doesn't quite work, maybe having more feathers would have been better. I think Adrianne is right and marking would be a good idea. I think I always look at things I could have done differently on quilts but that's part of the journey :)

DanaK ~ WaterPenny said...

I think it looks awesome and cant believe it wasn't on a long arm! I think where it could better for me is a more geometric modern quilting to match the sharp edges in the blocks. The quilting is flowing and romantic and the blocks are modern. But I also like the contrast and think that is compelling too so it does work but that is what popped out to me. Amazing work over all. If this is a couch quilt that quilting will be so gorgeous to snuggle under too.

Patti said...

Sorry that you're a bit disappointed with it, Jess. I haven't tried a large negative space yet, but I can see that it would be challenging to visualize placement of motifs. You are probably spot on in thinking a sketch beforehand would have been helpful. Nevertheless, it is really gorgeous and your quilting is spectacular as always!

Jessica said...

I LOVE the feathers idea! You've inspired me to think of all different ways FMQ can ripple across a quilt, so thank you! Sometimes things aren't quite as I imagined in the beginning, too, but I learn to love them over time for the most part. Quilting is such an important part of all of us so I can totally see where you are coming from. I think it came out just beautiful!

Heidi said...

My first thought was what a gorgeous quilt and I wouldn't rip out a stitch.
But as you asked...I think Adrianne has made some good points for your next large negative space
Anyway, this is really a beauty and if you can't bear to look at it... send it my way ;-)
Thank you for this great inspiration

Beth said...

I saw the pictures first and thought wow that looks amazing! I love the feathers and wonder how to add them to a modern looking quilt and I think it totally works. When I have done feathers I have marked the spine as well and find that does help. I have done a sketch of my plan the time I had a lot of space to quilt. Your quilting always is inspiring and amazing and you learn from each quilt you make.

Sandra W said...

To try out the design--hang your quilt and cover it with a layer of thin, clear plastic (like what is used on tables) and draw the design with an erasable marker first. Then you can map out the design and placement.


If you're up to it--you could fill in the feathers with more quilting and maybe they would disappear and make the quilt more cohesive.

Renee said...

I think it works, though I completely understand your concerns with it. When I'm quilting large spaces I lay my quilt out on the ground and draw a few guidelines with an erasable marker or chalk so I don't get "lost" or off track once it's on the table.

Serena @ Sewgiving said...

I love all the different types of quilting in this quilt and the placement of the large feathers The feathers do stand out because everything else is quite densely quilted so they draw attention to themselves (and a little away from the bright block designs). What if you quilted a spine down each feather petal/leaf/thingy to embed/anchor them a little more? They will still stand out because of their scale, which is a good thing :)

Anne said...

The quilting is fabulous.

Farm Quilter said...

I agree with Serena - the scale of the feathers compared to the rest of the quilting is a bit off. You could also quilt smaller feathers inside the large feathers - I've seen as many as 3 feathers inside one another. As a longarm quilter, I can only see the part of the quilt between the bars, so I will draw on my quilt with chalk or blue pens at least some guidelines for quilting large spaces. I also have a piece of quilters plastic (with blue painters tape around the edge) and a piece of plexiglass that I will put on top of a quilt to try out designs before I quilt them. Funny, but the quilt I am currently quilting will have ribbons of feathers between other block quilting - not the negative space you had, but the backing of this quilt is muslin so everything will show very well...so I will be working smaller feathers with lots of curls to them! However, I think you did a great job on the quilting and I like all the different quilting designs you used in the blocks!

Pauline Perry said...

I am glad that you love your quilt it is gorgeous. Beautiful work and lovely design. Coming to the end of a quilt - or any project actually - and thinking of things you would have done differently is called learning.
Pauline

perry94022 at hotmail dot com

Pam @ Quilting Fun said...

I love it and think it is stunning!

Nicky said...

I think you are being too hard on yourself Jess! It looks lovely though I have the same problem myself on my domestic machine - not being able to see ahead. Marking may be the answer.

I have a similar quilt to do and am prevaricating...

Heather @ Winding Bobbins said...

It's amazing and unique and I'm continually impressed by your skills. It takes a lot of guts to incorporate so many different quilting motifs in one project and have it work. You're inspiring!

Cille said...

The feathers work great :) you know, I think that we all finish our projects thinking that we could have done some small detail better or differently and that's part of the motivation to start a new project... Thank godness :)

Katy Cameron said...

The individual elements are great, just not entirely in proportion to each other. I think you're definitely on to something about the perspective on a domestic machine though, it's very different than on a long arm - maybe you need to sketch on some guidelines to fit within before starting on the domestic when you have so much negative space?

Michele said...

Well I do like it but so understand your thoughts. The one tool that I learned about that might come in handy next time is a clear vinyl table cloth. You could put it over a large area of the quilt and doodle some ideas.

ipatchandquilt said...

Love the quilting, love the feathers. I might have chosen a different lay out for the feathers, like more asymmetrical.
The quilting and the blocks are seperate design elements and i would really play on them being different. Now the blocks and the lay out of the feathers are symmetrical.
Anyway, your quilt is another masterpiece,
Esther

Willit Neverend said...

I think it looks fine, but I can relate to the feeling. It really frustrates me when I come to the end of a project and do something I'm not happy with.

Sketching is probably a good idea. Have you considered drawing out your quilt designs onto the quilt before quilting?

If it were my quilt, the only thing I would have done differently would be to have the same quilting pattern continue onto the negative spaces of the blocks (although I would have only thought of the in hindsight).

If you are worried that the feathers are too 'open' (not quilted as heavily as the rest of the quilt), you could add an extra line or loop in the middle of each 'branchy' bit. I love the pop of colour on the grey background, especially the brighter colours.

moira said...

can't really add anything other than I think it's fab #obvs

nicole said...

This is just absolutely gorgeous Jess! The negative space is awesome and i love all the fabrics you've chosen for the blocks. As for the quilting, i think it's fantastic!