So the other day I told my challenge group about going to a little quilting retreat/workshop with an internationally known free motion quilter and a couple of the ladies asked me to share some of my quilting. So this won't be as much of a blog as it is just a sharing of some of my projects. But if you're interested, feel free to continue on and enjoy some quilting eye candy! (Or, since there are definitely mistakes, maybe it's NOT eye candy! LOL)
Just a very short explanation of what I do as a home quilter, I'll outline a few of the steps in the quilting process.
1. Piecing - cutting gorgeous fabric up into smaller pieces and sewing them all back together again. Yeah, doesn't make much sense to some people! LOL But, that's called making the quilt TOP, or the part most of us see and go ahhhhh at.
2. Sandwiching - Taking that quilt top you just made and putting it together with a backing fabric and a layer of batting between them (3 layers). This step, if you do it yourself, normally takes up most of a decent sized floor. I say if you do it yourself because many people choose to stop after step number one. At that point they take their quilt top to a professional quilter to have them do the rest of the steps, including the quilting (step 3) on a longarm quilting machine. It normally costs more than I can afford, so I have chosen to dig in and learn to do all of the steps myself.
3. Quilting - In years gone by, many people would "tie" their quilts. I grew up going to quilting afternoons at the cousins' and playing under the quilt frames as the ladies tied the quilt layers together. This was a very legitimate way of securing those 3 layers together so they didn't pull apart from use. These days many people choose to either "quilt" the layers together themselves or hire it done by a longarmer. The quilting that I'm talking about here means to actually sew through all 3 layers making a design while you're sewing. Sometimes you'll see flowers, hearts, stars, etc or sometimes you'll just see a "meandering" winding path. Anything is fine as long as those layers are stitched together all over the quilt.
4 Finishing/Binding - Putting a doubled strip of fabric all the way around the quilt, including corners, to cover up the raw edges of those 3 layers and make sure nothing ravels or comes apart. There are a few different ways to do this. Some people just make their backing fabric bigger and then bring the extra fabric over to the front and sew it to the front. My mom has done this by hand for years. I choose to make my machine do the work and sew a separate strip of fabric on using the machine. Either way, the quilt gets FINISHED!
So, now that you know some of that, Saturday I was at a little mini quilting retreat/workshop with Lori Kennedy. You can look her up. She does YouTube videos, has a blog, and has written some books on Free Motion Quilting (step 3). I have done A LOT of charity quilts in the last almost 2 years. My mom is 84 and still likes to make the quilt tops, but she can't finish them off any more. Her fingers just don't have the strength. So we've developed a system where she makes the tops and I take them and do all of the other steps and then we donate them (about 2 dozen now) to the local fire department and even gave 8 to the sheriff for Squad Car Quilts. So I've had a lot of practice with steps 2 - 4! LOL And that's okay. It's a good cause. But, I've gotten very content with my current level and wanted to learn something new, challenge myself, pick up some tips, etc. So off to the workshop I went. We've had some REALLY stressful things happen in our family lately, one just the 2 days before this workshop, so it was really kind of nice to get away and be creative instead of responsive to developing dramas/tragedies.
Here is a picture of some of the quilting we practiced at the workshop. Lori Kennedy kind of specializes in thread/fabric contrast, so we chose bold, solid colors with white thread. Most of the time the quilting would not show this much on a quilt because the fabrics and the designs of the quilt are so pretty that bold quilting threads would just distract from it. But, this design could certainly be used to quilt a quilt - just probably in a color thread that would blend instead of stand out.
Below are some of the projects I've done for our family.
Winter wall hanging for daughter
Table runner I made for our Christmas gift exchange. Our other daughter won it.
Quilt for yet another daughter. You might not see the pattern so easily on this pic, but it shows how you can stuff a queen sized quilt under the needle of a small throat domestic machine and NOT need to hire a long armer to do it! LOL
I had extra fabric from the granddaughter's quilt, so made this Illusion quilt. It's actually the first quilt I've ever kept for myself!
Table runner I had half done for the last 10 years. Seriously. Pulled the thing out last winter and was determined to finish it. Got it done so it adorned my table for Christmas!
That's enough. Y'all are probably bored silly at this point, if you even made it this far. LOL
Quilting isn't for everyone. But I've found that quilting and exercising are both very good stressbusters for me. We have a son with cerebral palsy, a daughter going through a horrible time right now (can't really say much right now about specifics), another daughter with a pituitary gland tumor (brain tumor) that is inoperable, and a grandson born with multiple holes in his heart, multiple surgeries when only days old, has a feeding tube, just about lost him a number of times to various upper respiratory colds / pneumonia, etc. I have a tad bit of stress in my life! But, make the lemonade as you can, right? Or quilt. That works, too!