In an effort to move and cover things in the living room, to prepare for the sanding that is about to commence in the sun room, I moved a stack of quilts --- and felt a guilty pang and a longing for simply sitting and doing some hand quilting.
My poor old Jane Stickle quilt variation called “In The Pink” has sat and sat and sat since winter, because it has been too hot ((Or I’ve been too busy)) to sit at it!
We had a storm roll through last evening, loud thunder booming, rain pounding, wind blowing---and I turned my back on my quilting room in the basement, and settled in for a long evening with some Law & Order, some Criminal Minds – my thimble, needle, and thread. It was a great evening for hand quilting the lazy curves of Baptist fans across these little blocks.
I shared a picture of my progress on the Quiltville facebook page last night…and some questions were raised!
Missy, it depends on the quilt. Many quilts don’t need marking at all…if I’m cross hatching through squares or doing straight lines, I can either aim and shoot, or use 1/4” masking tape as a guide. If I’m doing 1/4” outlining within the patch, I don’t mark at all, I just eye ball it.
There is a tutorial on free-hand fans up in the tutorial tab at the top of the blog, but this quilt is more formal feeling, so I am using a template for larger graceful even fans, and a small chalk wheel to mark. If you are going to mark at all, be sure that you mark lightly and that the marks will come out.
There is a lot of controversy on blue pens. If I use them, I mark as I go, and spritz with water to remove marks as soon as I am done quilting that area. I don’t use the purple disappearing ones, can’t trust them! And in this humidity, they are gone too fast! LOL!
I've also been asked why the binding is on the quilt already.
I don't bind the edge UNLESS I am quilting from the outside in, as with doing baptist fans. Fans go from the outside edge, working in toward the center, so once I've done the first round around the quilt edge, I bind. It gets rid of that batting mess and protects the edge of the quilt. You DO have to baste really REALLY well when doing this method --- because quilting from the outside in can push excess fullness into the center, and you don't want that -- not ever! BASTE BASTE BASTE! I baste by longarm machine, doing a super huge meander with a fairly long stitch so it is easy to remove as I hand quilt.
These are the 4.5” finished blocks from the Jane Stickle quilt drafted by Brenda Papadakis in her book Dear Jane. This is my 2nd Dear Jane quilt – I was teaching the blocks at a local shop around 2003, and I needed class samples, so a second quilt was started. I changed up the setting by doing the quilt in only 3 colors ((Pink, brown, and one shirting print background)) and drafted the storm at sea sashings and cornerstones to fit the blocks. It finishes about 100” square, so I decided NOT to add the pieced triangles ((They wouldn’t fit right anyway because of the addition of the sashing))
Here’s the first one! It hangs on the wall behind my longarm machine…I used black for the sashings and the alternate triangles. I made the sashing wider because I wanted to use it on a bed ((The original quilt is NOT that big….)) and that meant I had to add a strip around each triangle in the border to make them fit the quilt. It was a challenge!
I started it in 1999, and if you want to read more about it…you can go HERE!
I can’t believe it’s been that long – but time flies, you know?
Here’s a close up of the hand quilting on that one…at the time I started it there WERE not that many Civil War type fabrics, and I just dug through my scraps for anything that looked “old fashioned” that was the color I wanted. These are the scraps that have come through MY quilting life, you know --- so each one is a memory of another quilt I made along my own journey.
And since we were talking quilt marking at the beginning of this post….I used a chalk pencil to mark my feathers on the black fabric…..and I quilted in the black areas with red thread! Why not! I’ve always been just a “bit” of a renegade :c) You can see the faint remnants of the chalk still left as I was finishing the scalloped binding.
I know so many quilters who WON’T start this quilt because they worry over their own lack of perfection. BE SERIOUS!! If you saw the original quilt ((I have, it hung in Houston and I was instantly in love….mid 90’s before Brenda’s book came out)) you’d see that Jane’s work wasn’t perfect either. Her blocks were not even all the same size! Just do it. I learned so much from sewing these little blocks!
I’ll be teaching at the Vermont Quilt Festival next year --- and I am so hoping that I can spend some time with Jane Stickle's quilt again ---
And on to Pam’s Assumption!
I used regular “cut it out with a template” machine piecing and hand piecing – I used "rotary methods" to simply cut and machine piece some blocks. I used paper piecing, needle turn applique, reverse applique, any thing I could come up with to get these blocks done. Some of the machine piecing required set in “y” seams. Some of the blocks I redrafted to work with the paper piecing or other techniques. It really makes you use your brain to how YOU are going to accomplish the task. These quilts have been my greatest teacher ever---
((And in answer to your question, I think that hand pieced quilts CAN be machine quilted, and machine pieced quilts CAN be hand quilted! Anything goes!))
So back to our title of “Callous Control!!” One thing that a hand quilter never ever EVER wants to do is LOSE her callouses! And over the past several months while this has sat idle…I lost mine! Which means, that after about 4 hours of hand quilting bliss last night, my fingers are sore on my “under hand”. I think I over quilted last night! So – I might have to just piece hexagons instead this evening.
And before you tell me that there are “under things” like sticky tabs and under thimbles and stuff that helps….I’ve tried it all. Nothing serves me as well as a good quilting callous. I have to feel the tip of the needle as it comes through to get the stitch I want – believe me…I’ve tried!