Saturday, August 19, 2017

Feather Study 28 Finished & Another Facing Method

Hi all -

Sorry for the long absence! I had other stuff going on and just hadn't gotten a project to an interesting point so I didn't have anything to post about. But now I have another finish so I'm ready to share! But I finally finished my Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry quilt, so today I have something to share. Yea!

Just to remind you, I started this quilt in a class in Houston several years ago. It's Caryl's Feather Study 28 pattern and here is the finished top:

(It's from a kit, so I can't take credit for the beautiful colors.)

Since it's a small quilt, I just used spray basting to make the quilt sandwich. I didn't want it to be puffy so I sandwiched it with a single layer of Warm & Natural cotton batting. I started off by doing stitch-in-the-ditch with invisible thread to stabilize everything. When I do SID, I stitch every seam that defines a line that I want to emphasize in the quilt. For this quilt, that meant that I stitched all of the seams that make up the feathers and their stems, but didn't stitch the seams between the background pieces because I wanted to unify the background. Since it's invisible thread, I can't show you this quilting in pictures.

The first visible quilting I did was the stems. I wanted to make them look rounded so I quilted them with C shapes:

I think that worked pretty well. My next quilting was in the foreground of the feathers, where I (not surprisingly) quilted tiny feathers:

And for the backgrounds of the feathers, I decided to use matchstick quilting:

I think it all looks pretty good together. The background was harder for me to figure out. I wanted to imply motion with the quilting -- I wanted the fronds to wave back and forth. I decided to start with echo quilting just on the left side of each frond. My thought was that this would be like the echo-like lines you draw on one side of a moving object in a cartoon:

I wouldn't be able to tell if this works until I finished the background quilting. The final choice was the background quilting and that was a really hard decision for me. I knew that it needed to be very dense since it had to be at least as dense as the foreground quilting. And I wanted lines that were somewhat horizontal to show the back-and-forth motion of the fronds. I didn't want it to be simple matchstick quilting since I'd already used that in the background of the feathers, but I wanted it to feel like the matchstick quilting for cohesion. I finally decided on wavy horizontal lines following the motion of the quilt. I started by drawing some registration lines with blue water-soluable marker to try to keep the lines in each background section looking like they were continuous. I added some flame shapes periodically to help me fill in spaces and to add some interest and some swirl to the motion. Here's what a little section looked like:

You can see the registration lines that I used. Here's the whole thing:

I love the look of it, but I'm not sure that I succeeded in making the background lines look continuous. It was really hard for me to follow the registration lines rather than making my background lines perpendicular to the edges of the feathers.

Now it was time to finish the edges. I decided to do a faced edge because I didn't have a good fabric for a binding and I thought it would look better without a frame anyway. I've already done a tutorial on one facing method, but I decided to try something slightly different this time.

This time I was going to do each border as a separate piece. That would allow me to understitch the edges. I started by sewing strips to the sides that were slightly shorter than the sides:

Actually, I started by sewing one side and then decided to sew twill tape around the edges because the side was trying to stretch as I sewed it:

I wasn't sure how the twill tape would work with a faced edge, but I figured that it couldn't hurt. So it was after sewing on the twill tape that I went back and sewed on the second side of the facing.

And then I realized that I had made a mistake. For this type of facing, the shorter sides end up underneath the full top and bottom, which means that the top and bottom pieces have to be sewn on first. Duh! So I had to do some unsewing, which included unsewing some of the twill tape that was put on after that first side.

Frustrating, but almost anything can be fixed! So, I sewed on the top and bottom strips:

And then sewed the side strips back into place:

Now it was time for the understitching. To understitch, you fold the facing piece over, leaving the raw edge of the quilt in place, then stitch along the edge of the fold, stitching the facing to the quilt edge. This makes it easier to get a clean edge when you fold the facing to the back.

It was harder to understitch the top and bottom. Basically, I folded the facing over the best I could and understitched just the areas I could reach, leaving the corners without understitching. It doesn't hurt anything to have spots that aren't understitched.

I then just clipped the corners, turned the facing to the back and hand-stitched it down:

I haven't figured out how to get the corners perfect yet, but I still really like how it turned out:

And here are a few more close-ups of the quilting. I'm not sure why the color is so far off in these pictures:

I added the hanging sleeve:

but haven't added the label yet. I need to decide on the name of this quilt, but I'm leaning towards Fronds. What do you think?