So, took the final product to the front loader Tuesday afternoon - watching your own creation go round and round in those front load washers is so mesmerizing; I don't think I'll ever tire of it. It's kind of like watching fire or ocean waves... Anyway when it came out of the dryer it looked fantastic. It is a little smaller than it was supposed to be for some reason, but still big enough for double bed size quilt or queen/king topper, with enough to hang down a fair amount on the sides, quand-même. Huge quiltiness is showing up in all its glory thanks to the laundering, despite the dark fabrics, and in the pix yesterday at the park with Andy you can see the quilting much better than before. Because of my mom's Ornery Genes I am going to make you page down...
Speaking of the quilting, now some blab (i.e. TMI for most of you) about that rationale...
Firstly, the new quilting foot deserves Big Mention here. It kept the little gathers that happened on the '06 quilt from happening on this one. It's really quite ingenious and deceptively simple. The little teeth you see help pull the fabric on top just like the teeth (really, feeder dogs) in the face plate of the sewing machine help pull fabric thru from below. Normally you don't need anything besides the feeder dogs but these extra feeders help a lot with extra thick stuff so that both the upper and lower surfaces are going thru evenly. The coolest thing is that the white lever you see on the top right is how it all works. I couldn't figure out how something mechanical would be able to work on my machine if it wasn't made to take a quilting foot. I couldn't figure out how it would be able to move. But that lever moves the quilting foot's feeders as it rests on the little screw that sticks out to the side of the sewing machine needle. The needle arm moves up and down and this lever moves up and down with it, moving the feeders! Now you have WTMI, not just TMI, but seriously this is the coolest thing ever!
ANYway... I didn't want to quilt it too elaborately lest it both detract from and be overshadowed by the elaborate piecing design. I divided the main part (sans border) into thirds. The middle I did diagonal quilting both directions to make that big center piece interesting and quilty. I was going to do diagonal quilting just one direction, then, on the other two thirds, upper and lower, one in one direction and one in the other direction. However, I kept thinking that was kind of boring and even tho I didn't need the quilting really to go with the piecing design I did think that it was a little too counter to the logic of the piecing. Also, frankly, it is always easier on machine (at least for someone of my limited experience) to sew from the center out. That way you don't have to keep shifting the quilt so much. (Added MUCH later for added clarification: this all pertains to people like me who are too strapped for either cash or space in their homes for a nice big quilting machine - all my quilting is done on my standard Singer; this means that your quilting is always limited by how much fabric will physically let itself be mashed or rolled to fit in the space between the needle arm and the upright part with the controls on it. Still there is plenty of quilting that can still be accomplished!)
So I decided to have the quilting seams come out towards each of the four corners of the quilt instead of just one direction diagonally all across. This still kind of meshed with the center since the center is two-directions anyway, plus it really worked well with the piecing design since it's kind of a starburst effect with the pieced colors spreading out from the center fabric.
This is what the top and bottom thirds look like from the back. You can see the quilting seams pretty well, slightly overlapping in center, but going out towards the corners, upper left and right. (The vertical and horizontal seams are the initial quilting - I first did a seam on each big piecing join and around the border to stabilize everything.)
On the border, I did partly in-the-trough quilting for the little 9-patches, and in between sometimes I did two long quilting seams from 9-patch to 9-patch and sometimes I continued doing little seams outward, across the border, perpendicular to the edge of the quilt. Some may call it indecision; I prefer to call it whimsicality, which philosophy was further embraced on the corners, each of which I did a different way. We'll have to check later with Jessica and see which one she thought most fun. Personally it made me giggle each time I finished one. I might consider having it become my little Susanquilt signature move: crazy corners!
One last shot, with me in it. I promised Andy I would post one of me since he took really good pix of me (those of you who know me best know I NEVER [think I] take good pix so that's saying a lot). Oh, and honest, I didn't plan the outfit to match the quilt, altho I am quite in love with my new green t-shirt.
So there. Another summer quilt project complete. I have box and plastic to get it all ready to ship first thing tomorrow. I have another couple of quilt ideas and am actually thinking of continuing to work on them during school, at least off and on; we'll see. It's kind of silly to take so long with the summer ones but I guess I'm easily distracted. I think all told I really only put a good 2 weeks into this one - or maybe 3. I'm really very very pleased indeed. A few concessions to the gods here and there, like a few 9-patch edges which don't exactly line up, or a few places on the back where you can see the sewing machine having a little crise, but which Jessica has promised not to look at too closely :). Anyway this turned out truly wonderfully if I do say so myself, and it really wasn't hard to do at all. The biggest problem really is that it has made me even keener to find a sugar daddy who will pay me to bake and quilt and blog and...
Creating is good!