Hi all -
This week I've been working on my January entry for QuiltShopGal's 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge. For this challenge, we needed to make something with a heart for Valentine's Day. There were 3 options and I chose the one with feathers filling the heart.
I decided to use Dupioni silk for the heart since I just love the shine of silk. Luscious! And I decided to use a double batting -- Quilter's Dream wool on top with Warm and Natural cotton on the bottom. The wool gives it a wonderful puff and the cotton gives it some stability. I ironed a piece of fusible light weight interfacing on the back of the silk to stabilize it and then sewed on some borders to frame the heart.
To draw the heart, I got out a piece of tracing paper bigger than I wanted for the heart. I folded it in half to get a center line and then used my flexible curve to draw a nice, smooth half-heart shape. Then I just folded the paper on that center line and traced the shape to the other side. This was the first time I've drawn a heart this way. It worked really well and I'm very pleased with the results. I then traced the heart onto the silk with a blue erasable marker and drew the spines for the feathers free-hand. I thought about just sewing the spines free-hand, but I decided that this would be safer and give me more even spacing on the feathers.
Then it was time to quilt the heart. When finished, I removed the blue lines with Blue Line Eraser. This product erases the lines immediately (unlike water where you have to soak it or the lines keep coming back) and doesn't stain, even on silk. Here is the quilted heart:
It looks pretty good from a distance. Here it is a bit closer:
I like my feathers on the outside curves, but need to work on the inside curve feathers. I can never figure out how to fit the plumes nicely in those areas so I need to look at some more books to see how others do it. Luckily, the feathers I don't like get lost in the design so I still like it.
Now onto the background quilting. To highlight the heart a bit more, I echoed around it in the fuchsia thread then again in the fine silk thread. Then, to stabilize the quilting, I ditched around the border and echoed that in the silk thread. Now I had to pick a background fill. That's always hard for me. I hem and haw until I finally just force myself to get started. I decided to make up a background fill for this one (although I'm sure others have used this, too). I wanted curvy lines to control puckers since the background was so puffy. I wanted something to contrast with the feathers, so I decided to use curvy lines to divide the background into sections, then fill each section with lines parallel to one side of the shape. Here's how it looked while I was quilting it:
I think it's so cool to see how the quilting controls the puff as I go along! And I didn't get a single pucker on the front. This is ridiculously dense quilting. The lines are about 1/32" to 1/16" apart. But boy is it flat! Here is a picture showing the background quilting design:
I love how this background fill turned out! The curvy parallel lines give it a McTavishing look, but it has a griddy look that gives it good contrast to the feathers. Finally, I just quilted echo lines around the border and finished the pillow:
I just need to get a pillow form and I'll be done. I put a zipper on the back because I like that better than an envelope finish for a pillow. I find that with an envelope finish the pillow form keeps popping out of the back of the pillow. Maybe I'm too rough with my pillows!
On a non-quilting note, I thought I'd share the friend we met on our walk yesterday:
Can you see her hiding behind that bush on the other side of the stream? It's a female moose enjoying the morning solitude. I never would have seen her if Lance (my dog) hadn't pointer her out to me. He stopped on the trail and just stood there quietly staring at her. He does this stop and stare thing all the time and there's never anything there so I ignored him at first. But this time he kept staring a lot longer than usual so I looked over and there she was. Thank you, Lance! Both for pointing her out to me and for being a polite boy and not chasing her! (Moose are known to attack dogs without provocation, so I was very glad that both of them decided to just stare!)
That's all I have for now. I hope you are all having a great week!