Sunday, September 3, 2017

Kaffe Kite Runner -- Quilting Part 1

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.



  1. Beautiful Nancy. Love Kaffe fabric, your design works well with it and your stitching looks so neat and colourful. I'm looking forward to seeing the machine quilting.

  2. I like what you've done with your table runner. I'll be watching over your shoulder to see how the app works for you. Do keep us posted about that part of it. Thanks

    1. Thanks!! I'll definitely keep you posted. I'll figure out how to upload some images so you can see how I'm using it.

  3. The big stitch was the perfect accompaniment! I too am interested in what you think about your app! I look forward to seeing what machine quilting you add to your runner!

    1. Thanks!! I'll definitely let you know about my app.