Anlichan’s birthday present: the quilting

Quilting!  Finally, the long-awaited final post.

Quilting, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is the hardest part for me.  Piecing rarely fazes me (except when I’ve measured incorrectly, which happens…far more frequently than I’d like).  Quilting is a different animal.  Of course, I’ve known how to piece for years and years – my grandmother taught me to sew as a little girl – and quilting is something I only tackled in 2007, and even then with trepidation.

Part of the difficulty lies in what, exactly, to quilt.  The rest is a lack of practice.  I rarely make anything for myself – the last piece I made for myself was an apron, which of course I didn’t bother to quilt – so whenever I’m quilting it’s on a present for someone else.  I don’t have a lot of free time between projects to practice my quilting skills or try out new stitches.  If I’m trying something new (which I always seem to be), it’s on a gift, which adds pressure.

For Anlichan, I had several ideas about what I wanted to quilt.  First, I wanted to simulate the grain of wood in the “pews.”  This was easy.  I quilted straight lines in brown thread along the strips of fabric representing pews.

I wanted to use quilting to highlight certain features and enhance others.  I quilted an outline around each of the stained glass windows on the side walls, to highlight them.  Then, I quilted diamonds on the walls.  I think of them as harlequin diamonds, but I don’t know if it counts as that without the color variation.  I used a dusty rose color, after much deliberation – I’d wanted something very close to the cream shade of the fabric and I didn’t have any thread that matched the cream to my satisfaction, so instead I went for a light contrast.  (I should add that I own dozens of spools of thread, but I get very picky when it comes to matching colors, so even though I had several choices of white/off-white/gold, not one was quite right.)  I think the effect is really pretty.

Diamonds quilted onto the walls

Note: I used a water soluble pencil to trace lines one inch apart in approximate parallel to the edges of the stained glass windows.  They aren’t perfect but, as I said, I really liked the effect.

Next, I quilted the blue side aisles at the front of the church, below the large stained glass windows in the section of the church that would be side altars (in my head).  I wanted a blue that matched one of the darker blues in the Hungarian print I’d used.  I approximated as best I could – I believe I used a navy color.  I quilted lines radiating from the innermost bottom corner on both blue patches.  (So far, you may realize, everything I have quilted is a straight line.  Straight lines are my quilting specialty.  The difficulty I have actually sewing in a straight line does not deter me from this, as quilting in anything other than a straight line frequently results in much worse results.)  In the center aisles, the one between the pews and the one before the altar, I quilted lines that crisscrossed in the center and radiated to the corners.

The blue lines radiating out from the corner

The effect on the back (you can also see the pink diamonds at the bottom)

I kept the altar simple.  I outlined the cross in gold (an inner line and an outer line) and left the rest unadorned.

The altar piece (I cropped this from a larger picture, so hopefully it's not too blurry) - I'm not sure if the inner line is quite visible, since it blends somewhat into the fabric.

The most advanced quilting I did was on the two large stained glass pieces.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, I’d planned to have them be mirror images with symmetrical quilting, but instead they ended up being the same and therefore I decided to quilt them differently.  I’d bought myself a book of more advanced quilting motifs, where you quilt one motif and then a second on top.  (I am not describing this well.  The book is called “Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy,” by Eva A. Larkin.  I recommend it; I was nervous about quilting more complicated patterns and I found the instructions simple enough that I was able to manage the look I was going for – more or less.  I did, however, pick patterns that did NOT involve curved lines.)  I chose two motifs that struck me as similar and quilted one on each window.  The trick, as I said, is to quilt one motif and then the second, with one on the vertical axis and one on the diagonal.  Now that I look at my pictures, I remember that I didn’t do two motifs on both of them.  The stained glass on the right has an inner and an outer motif quilted.  The glass on the left only has one motif.  I had sewn an inner motif and, disliking it (due to a quirk of my sewing and/or piecing, it wasn’t symmetrical), I ripped it out.   The thread I used is the kind with graduated color – gold, green, purple, and blue – so it matches my fabric choices (but, depending on what color the thread is at any given point, sometimes it contrasts and sometimes it blends).  I’ve used this thread before, in a runner for my parents (among other pieces) – and I also used some of these fabrics in that runner.

Close up of the quilting on the left stained glass window (note: picture was taken upside down)

The right stained glass piece (also cropped from a larger photo - I'm sorry it doesn't show up better)

The back of the right stained glass piece - the quilting shows up (slightly) better here

That completed my quilting.  I sent the wall hanging to Anlichan several months late (three? four?) but she forgave me.

A final shot of the whole wall hanging:

The completed wall hanging

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One thought on “Anlichan’s birthday present: the quilting

  1. Pingback: Musings on quilting inspirations | Habibi Homemade

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