Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Epic adventures in FMQ

A few weeks ago, I started quilting my Aviatrix Medallion and then everything came to a stand still when I got sick. I started feeling much better this week though, and I've gotten back into quilting with a vengeance - and I have progress to share!! It's nice to have energy again - this quilt weighs a tonne with all the seams and due to the sheer size of it (80" square), so the last thing I felt like doing last week was wrestling with this ;o)

I actually started quilting this a few weeks ago - I started out by ditch stitching around all the tiny diamonds in the centre block, and then matchstick quilted some of the white diamonds to make the birds pop. It's impossible to capture the texture in photographs, but this block feels amazing when you run your fingers across it. I didn't want to complicate the centre too much, so I free motion quilted straight lines radiating out, using the seams as a guide.


The half square triangle border is pretty simply quilted too - ditch stitched, and then straight lines through the lighter value HSTs. Up to this point, I thought I'd use Aurifil 50wt in Dove grey (my go-to quilting colour most of the time) for the whole thing. It blends beautifully into the soft grey Cotton and Steel crosses and contrasts just slightly with the white background.


Once I'd ditch stitched the next border however, I decided I wanted to start using coloured thread on the coloured sections. I'm being pretty careful about ditch stitching to keep this quilt square as I move out through the borders, not an easy feat on a quilt this size. Totally worth it though, as I'm removing most of the basting pins during the ditch stitching, which is freeing me up to go a little nuts with the more complex quilting. The other handy thing about having ditch stitched around each block is that I can quilt each of the colours (ie blue then pink then red etc) and only change threads between each colour, rather than between each block.


Once I'd finished quilting the strip border, I sat down and did a bit of sketching to figure out how to quilt the x plus blocks. One of my favorite parts of the border above are the quilted geese in the lowest border, so I decided to continue that theme by quilting geese into the 'x' parts of these blocks. I quilted out all of the 'background' first using dove grey thread, creating gems between the blocks. And now I'm going back to each block and quilting them with a coordinating colour. I've matched my thread colour to the middle value in each colour group - so it blends quite well into some of the colours, but contrasts with the lightest and darkest fabrics. A little bit scary (and requires a LOT of concentration), but totally worth it. I'm delighted with how this border is progressing. I'm not doing any marking for this either - I did for the first block and then realised I could do it by eye reasonably easily :o) 


I'm not going to lie - this quilting is taking a looong time (around 30 minutes for each block), but I put so much time and effort into the piecing, I figure it's worth time and effort with the quilting. Quite a few people have commented about how much patience I must have - I guess I do, but I enjoy this kind of quilting so much and the result is absolutely worth it, I think! I will go back and quilt the skinny border before the x plus blocks too - I just haven't decided what to do yet.


I did want to clear up a few things in this post too - I've had a few no-reply commenters recently who assume I quilt on a long arm. I don't. All of this is done on my domestic Bernina. Yes it is hard on the shoulders, but I stretch a lot and take regular breaks. I'm a firm believer that it is possible to do pretty much anything on a domestic that you can on a long arm (except perhaps really large scale quilting where you just can't manipulate the quilt effectively or see where you need to go next). I'd still love a long arm one day, but I'm content with what I've got and I'm happy to work within the limits of a domestic machine.

Apologies for the epic and slightly preachy post, I hope you're all having a fabulous week!

xx Jess

PS Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!!

28 comments:

Nance said...

Wow, wow, wow, and wow! From your colors, to your prints, to your piecing, and now your out of the ballpark quilting. This is one fabulous quilt. I hope that you plan on entering it into a show when you have it all done. I also hope that you can still move when you have it all done. Absolutely awe inspiring.

Beth said...

OMG love this! I loved this before the quilting but your quilting is absolutely amazing! I love that you do all of this on your domestic machine as well. This quilt is on my want to make list and now even more so!!! LOVE!! Such an absolute inspiration. I agree with you on the long arm comment too. Thanks so much for sharing all your details too!!

Sherry VF said...

Beautiful quilting work! I agree with you about the pros and cons of domestic machine quilting. Large motifs are frustrating but stitching in the ditch and then quilting in sections is a good strategy.

pennydog said...

With practise it's all possible, even quilting with rulers on a domestic machine :) A longarm just makes designs flow easier, its easier on your body and allows you to quilt for longer and finish faster I guess. This is looking great; on that skinny border I'd probably do what you did on the last one!

Zenia Rene said...

Glad you are feeling better. You do an outstanding job of quilting on your domestic! To think that I would be able to do this someday seems impossible! I've gotta get practicing! Bravo Jess!

Crafty Coffin said...

Wow, really amazing and inspiring - I especially love the geese you've quilted into the blocks!

Liz said...

Looks fantastic! I can't believe the detail you've got in each block, and I can't wait for the final big reveal!! It's going to be a treasure, for sure!

Renee said...

It is so gorgeous already! I love the ghost geese!

elizabethdee said...

I'm sorry you were sick, and glad you are better. And grateful to you for showing us the brilliant quilting you are doing! I was sure you were going to do something extraordinary with your wonderful Aviatrix quilt top, but you have left me just about amazed. Amazed!
Thanks, too, for discussing your process . It's illuminating (opposite of preachy), not to mention inspiring. I'm applauding wildly!

mnms said...

What a beautiful quilt! Thank you for sharing it and for taking the time to walk us through what you did in each section. It is beautiful and very inspirational.

colourclothandcatnaps said...

Just lovely. The colours are glorious and the quilting is divine. You must have so much patience!

mc said...

Wow your quilting just gets more amazing with each project!

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Wonderful quilt, and your quilting is, well, spectacular! I enjoyed reading about your processes too.

Farm Quilter said...

Fabulous quilting!! This is a gorgeous quilt!!! SID is easier on a DSM then it is on a longarm, but there is no way I would wrestle a quilt through my DSM! It is so much harder to keep the wrinkles from the backing with basting a quilt to quilt on a DSM...I could never get it right!! Your quilting is wonderful and I have so much admiration for anyone who can quilt on a DSM! If I didn't have a longarm, I would quilt by check :)

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl said...

The birds pop out wonderfully in the center with the quilting you chose and I love the ghost geese! It is looking great, and what an awesome feature by Aurifil, too!

Sarah Francis said...

Hi what a beautiful quilt. I am new to quilting and have started hand quilting as not so proficient on the machine. What quilting thread would you use for hand quilting and would you use one with a glaze. I've been told recently not to use a wax/glaze thread as it damages the fabric. Finally where can you get this quilt pattern from. Many thankks

Kate said...

Gorgeous quilt, beautiful quilting. Even more so since you are not on a frame.

Swedish Scrapper said...

I've just been so ticked to see your progress for this on IG! I love how tactile your quilting looks. Worthy of this fabulous medallion!

DeborahGun said...

This was an amazing quilt top before you started quilting it Jess, but you have just taken it to another level - stunning!

saroy said...

Came over here from Freshly Pieced and WOW, this is absolutely stunning! So glad I found your blog. :)

Kaitlyn Drinkwater said...

Stunning! I love what you did in the outside colored border. Kat @ katandcatquilts.blogspot.com

Kaitlyn Drinkwater said...

Stunning! I love what you did in the outside colored border. Kat @ katandcatquilts.blogspot.com

artsycraftsyivy said...

Fantastic, Jess! What an inspiration you are! :)

CosmopolitanQuilter said...

Beautiful. It's inspiring to hear that you don't use a longarm machine for quilting. Definitely something for my little Singer and me to aspire to!

Melanie said...

That's lovely work! (I am still piecing mine)

Wendy said...

Wow, this is stunning. You quilt so beautifully. I especially love the geese in the x+ blocks

V. said...

Absolutely stunning...your center color selection and surrounding borders are perfect....your quilting is inspirational, especially on a DSM. You give me hope ....which Bernina model do you use?
V.

Shasta Matova said...

Your quilting is just awesome, and I appreciate that you take the time to explain your thought process. I quilt on my domestic machine and I am not nearly as good as you are. I wind up doing the simple things most of the time, but I would like to do more complex quilting someday. I think my hold up is just deciding what to quilt where.