|Embroidery Disaster Saved by Free-Motion Quilting!|
So, back in April I spent something crazy like 6 hours embroidering this enormous Jacobean bird design, only to have it shrink up and pucker when I attempted to press the finished piece from the back side? (I have a theory about that, by the way -- I had layered a piece of unwashed muslin beneath the silk shantung prior to embroidering for extra stability, then trimmed away the excess when the embroidery was complete. I think the muslin backing shrank when I ironed it).
|Ruined Embroidery Project, Ripe for FMQ Practice|
I decided to use this ruined embroidery project for FMQ practice, to see whether I could quilt out those ugly puckers and ripples between the embroidered areas. I spent several hours yesterday and today working on Diane Gaudynski's February 2012 feather tutorial, and I could not be more thrilled with the results. I have admired Diane's machine quilting, and the machine quilting of her students, for years, and I own both of her wonderful books. Still, I've not felt up to the challenge of trying to quilt feathers until now. This is the first time for me just sitting down at the machine and quilting feathers over and over again. They're far from perfect up close, but much better than I ever thought I would be able to do. And, thanks to the FMQ challenge, I now know that my quilting skills WILL get better and better, the more I practice. If I can do this, ANYONE can learn!
So yes, I was able to quilt out all of the puckers in this embroidery design, and what's more, I managed to quilt some passable feathers and lumpy-but-acceptable pebble background quilting. I have long struggled with both of those designs and have been practice-doodling feathers on my iPad for months. Wahoo!
Can you believe this is the exact same project as the ugly wrinkled mess in the previous photo? I almost threw this away! Now I like it so much that I have to come up with something to do with it. The finished piece is 16" x 20." Any ideas? I suppose I could just square the edges, bind it, and call it a "mini wall quilt."
|I'm Quilting Feathers!|
I attempted several different feather styles, but even though the traditional, backtracked feathers are supposed to be the most difficult to quilt, those were the easiest for me -- probably because that's the way I've been doodling them. However, I was NOT doodling the stem correctly, so all of my stems are a bit wonky.
My fabric is a glitter-flecked silk shantung layered with Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting and muslin backing. I used #100 silk thread in the needle and 60/2 Mettler cotton embroidery thread in the bobbin, with a size 60 Microtex needle, tension reduced to 1.50, and BSR stitch length set to 1.5.
It even looks cool from the back, see?
So now that's one more down, and only four more to go.