Hi all -
I've started quilting on my Kaffe Kite Runner table runner. For me, deciding on the quilting design is always the hardest part. To help with this, I recently got an iPad Pro (in the beautiful rose-gold finish, of course!) and bought the Graphic app. This app is a drawing app much like Photoshop. I can take a picture of the quilt and then pull it into Graphic and draw different quilting designs until I get something I like. It has layers like Photoshop so I can put different parts of the quilting on different layers and turn them off and on to decide what I like. Time will tell whether this helps or it ends up being a time sink where I just keep trying things and can never make up my mind!
Before doing anything else on this table runner, I did my usual stitch-in-the-ditch quilting with invisible thread on all of the seams between the patterned fabric and the solid to stabilize everything. Then I did a basting stitch around the perimeter to stabilize that edge. The basting stitch holds the edge in place, but is easy to remove if I find that I have some bubbles in the fabric that I need to push to the outside of the quilt.
Then I used my iPad and Graphic app to design the first part of the quilting. I concentrated on the main solid areas and chose a quilting design that I decided to quilt using big stitch hand quilting. The first step was to draw the quilting lines on the quilt using water-soluable marker:
Then it was just a matter of doing the quilting one stitch at a time:
This is my first project using big stitch quilting that wasn't a class project just to try the technique. I used a size 5 pearl cotton and started with a John James size 22 chenille needle. I was having a lot of trouble getting the needle through the quilt in some places and was having a lot of hand pain from squeezing the needle like a vise to try to get it through. So I got out a needle grabber (a little piece of rubber like the old jar openers we used to have in the kitchen) and that helped a lot! I still had some trouble getting the needle through the quilt in some places, but with the grabber it was then a cinch to pull the thread through. I had gotten some new needle grabbers that fit over your finger tips so you don't have to keep picking it up, but when I tried those they didn't grab the needle enough so I was having to apply too much pressure with my thumb and was back to the hand pain so I went back to the old-fashioned needle grabber. I also tried a couple of different needles to see if I could find one that would go through the sandwich easier. First I tried a John James size 24 chenille needle, thinking that the smaller needle would pierce the fabric easier, but it didn't make a big enough hole so it was harder to pull the thread through. Then I tried a Sullivan's size 20 chenille needle and that worked a lot better for me. It was still hard to pierce the fabric in some places, but it was better than the first needle and I had an easier time making sure that the stitch went all the way through to the back with that needle.
Then it was just a matter of stitching and stitching until I finished all of the main motifs. I soaked the table runner to get out the blue marker so I could see what it looked like before continuing on. Here's the full table runner:
And a detail shot:
Next, I'm planning on doing some machine quilting to go along with the hand quilting and I've taken pictures of what I have so far on my iPad so I can start figuring out what will go in the other areas. This is how I generally work with the quilting. Decide on a piece, do it, then decide on the next piece. This works well for a lot of things and keeps me from getting completely stalled on my projects, but I do need to do more stepping back and trying to design over the whole quilt some times so that I can try to create more secondary designs and quilting that enhances the entire quilt rather than small areas of the quilt. But I think this method is working just fine for this piece.