Thursday, 4 February 2016

Quilting Progress - Christmas Cherry


For some reason, I decided that I wanted to finish (hand) quilting the giant star in this quilt by the end of January.  Perhaps it's because that's the latest I felt I could be working on a Christmas project which doesn't necessarily shout Christmas from across the room and, like my penguin cushion, it would have to go away at the end of January.  Or perhaps it's because I like to think that there's a slim possibility of having this finished by the end of the year (oh, to sit binding it while watching a film on Christmas Eve - that would be wonderful!).  Anyway, no matter my reason, I decided to see if I could make a decent fist of it and set to with lots of telly to catch up on and an increasingly bent needle.

It's been a while since I last showed this quilt in its entirety as it's hard to photograph due to its size (78" x 110.5", I think) and it's a bulky and heavy quilt, particularly when you add in the brushed cotton backing so I struggle to lift it high enough to get it draped over a fence.  That's why all the photos of it as a finished top have been taken inside!  For those of you who don't have memories like elephants a dog an Archie who has been promised a biscuit, here's what the quilt looks like:

Christmas Cherry quilt layers, about to be tacked

By last Christmas (the one in 2014, not the one in 2015!), I'd quilted just over half of the horizontal arcs and the finish line wasn't in sight.  This year, for some reason, the quilting has gone a lot faster.  The only thing that's changed is the position of the light I have on when sewing (it's now behind my right shoulder rather than my left) and I can't believe that's had much of an impact so I'm putting the new-found ease of sewing smooth(ish) arcs down to Christmas magic - from the first arc I quilted this year (well, I picked it back up in November, but you know what I mean) I could tell things were going to move along faster as I was doing far less pulling out in order to get a smooth curve, which was quite a relief as I remembered it as being a complete pain to quilt!

Here's how it looked when I wrote my current FAL list - you can see that all the horizontal arcs (although, confusingly, they're vertical in this photo!) have been quilted and I've made a start in the other direction:

Christmas Cherry

And here's a (night-time, sorry about that) quilting photo:

The pattern is starting to emerge!

I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to find somewhere to keep quilts when I'm hand quilting them as they need to be kept close by (there's no way I'm going to fetch it from upstairs every time I want to work on it!) but I have a small front room so there's nowhere to keep it where it doesn't get in the way.  In the end, I happened across a perfect solution and I don't know why it didn't occur to me before:

I've found...
A friend had a washing basket going begging and gave it to me.  It's the perfect size to 'store' a quilt in progress and is easy to carry!  The tin with my needles, thread, etc. is under the quilt and the hoop slots down the side.

I've managed to take a few photos but I'm afraid they're not very good (a big quilt combined with inside light and a very tired me (with especially tired arms) doesn't make for good photos), but they'll have to do!

Quilted star

If you look closely peer at it, you can just make out the orange peel quilting.

Quilted star

My next step (later this year) is to machine quilt the background - I'm going to quilt (unevenly spaced, I think) straight lines (in white thread) echoing the angles of the star and then more straight lines going round that inner border.  I'll go back and add in hand quilted lines between some of the lines in a variety of colours - I think I have red, orange, yellow, pink and green.  Then I'll need to decide what to do with the rest of it, but it'll probably be a mainly machine quilting with a bit of hand quilting thrown in.  I'll be asking for ideas when I come it, never fear!

I used perle 12 (Anchor 400 - dark grey) and an embroidery needle (a number 9, I think) for the quilting.  Initially, I marked the lines with a hera marker but then swapped to a white chalk wheel for most of the fabrics and a pink Sewline ceramic marker for the rest - I didn't test the pink but the quilting covers it well (and I marked it lightly) and I think a scoop of Vanish in the first wash will get rid of any marks which haven't rubbed off by then.

Quilted star

You can see that the arcs aren't perfect, nor are they identical, but the overall impression is what I was aiming for, so I'm happy!

Quilted star

I forgot to take a photo of the back once the whole star was quilted, so just look at the top half of it in this photo and imagine the whole star like that!

Three-quarters quilted

Despite his protestations, I think Archie is going to miss having this quilt around all the time:

I quite like this quilting lark...
I don't mind this quilting lark...
...but not when I'm upstaged.
...but not when it's upstaging me. 

He can't quite understand why the camera isn't always pointing at him, though!
I don't know why you're bothering...
I don't know why you're bothering taking photos of that thing when we all know I'm the star of this show.
See?
See?  I knew it was me you wanted.  And that quilt didn't even remember to put a biscuit quota in its contract, how daft can you get?

Thanks for popping in!  I think I'll be back on Saturday to share another four Summersville blocks, unless you're all bored of seeing them?  Just say and I'll stop!  Or do a giant post with the remaining 28 (29?) blocks and finish you all off in one fell swoop!  What say you?

20 comments:

  1. Absolutely amazing!! Gorgeous quilting and I love the idea for machine quilting and then adding some coloured quilting by hand.

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  2. It's beautifu. tiny even stitches. It was a very long time since I hand quilted. You are great patient.

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  3. I do love beautiful hand quilting, and there's nothing at all wrong with yours. I don't believe it should be so inhumanly perfect that it looks machine made, and a little unevenness gives it humanity. I hand quilted my big one without a hoop, I had it rolled up on the dining table, with just the area I was working on unrolled. I found that gave enough tension, and it saved all that faffing around with moving the hoop from spot to spot. I do love your storage solution, though, very practical! Can we have Summersville bit by bit, please?

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  4. I'm loving seeing your progress on this beauty. Your hand quilting is so neat and I love the idea of some machine quilting and hand quilting in the mix for the back ground.

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  5. Looking at this quilt I've got a serious case of wanties. It's so lovely. Your hand stitching is amazing.

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  6. Your hand quilting is amazing. This is a beautiful quilt :)

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  7. Wow no wonder it is taking time those stitches are so small! I agree with Archie though - he is the star really and if only the quilt had arranged a biscuit quota I'm sure Archie could have helped eat them! I vote for both - bit by bit and all at once!

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  8. Wow no wonder it is taking time those stitches are so small! I agree with Archie though - he is the star really and if only the quilt had arranged a biscuit quota I'm sure Archie could have helped eat them! I vote for both - bit by bit and all at once!

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  9. Loving the orange peel quilting! And it's so perfectly even too! Quite an undertaking though, you are right to just do a bit now and then! Genius idea putting it in the wash basket! Jxo

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  10. Very nice! I love mixing machine and hand work. I'm sure it will be amazing.

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  11. How fabulous! Such a cheery cherry Christmas quilt! Your quilting is perfect and will be worth every minute no matter how long it takes.

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  12. As always Helen, your quilting is perfection. I can't imagine taking on a job like this, it would take me forever. The orange peel design is very effective, and with the contrast of lines on the background it's going to be gorgeous. Look forward to seeing it done.

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  13. Such a beatiful quilting! And I do love Archie and his cookies.

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  14. Your quilting is awesome, it looks downright perfect to me. I like your machine quilting plan and I would just machine the rest and then you can add in some more hand quilting too afterwards, even after you bind it, if you wanted to.

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  15. Thankyou for all that description. . . .and lovely photos.
    Your words bring it (the struggle of quilting) all alive ..and your quilting is quite something else. Such perfection.
    Youd better lock this quilt up when finished! Dont show anyone or it'll go missing!

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  16. That is a stunning quilt! Xx

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  17. That is a stunning quilt! Xx

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  18. Can you tell me - am I still a no-reply blogger!?

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