Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quilting Ranger's Pride

I got to Diane’s this morning and got to work as soon as I got there.  With about 45 minutes total breaks to eat and potty, I got the quilting done in 8 hours.  The machine said I had 4 active machine hours.  I look forward to cutting that extra 4 hours of messing around down as I get better at the designs on the machine.  In addition to the batiks I used for the top and backing, I used a single layer of Warm and Natural cotton batting, a navy blue Superior Threads and Superior Threads King Tut Line #927, De Nile (it is a variegated thread with all the blues to match the top).  The first step was done a couple of weeks ago: marking the quilt top.  I drew out the whole quilt (easy since it was a small baby quilt) in permanent marker on graph paper, then started to doodle in the empty spaces with a pencil and a lot of eraser.  This is what came out of the couple hours I spent on it. 
A close-up shows all the elements in a corner. 
Then I used a Clover Fine Tip White Marking Pen and started to mark the quilt with the designs I put on the sketch.  After one entire block of all the designs, I decided it would be best to just do the triangle swirls and do the flower free hand when I got on the machine. 
Next step was to pin the backing to the frame, then lay the batting and quilt top on top of that and square the top up.  I never really paid attention to this step much with my other quilts and I paid the price (luckily none of them were ever shown in any shows where they were judged), they came out wonky.  The long arm has horizontal and vertical stops so it makes it easy to line the edges up and make sure everything is square. 
Once that was done, the actual quilting begun!  I started with Stitching In The Ditch on all the seams that I drew out in permanent marker on my drawing paper.  These served to divide the quilt even more than the actual colors in the blocks did and also to really frustrate me.  Can’t seem to stitch a darn straight line with that! 
I used a tool called Linda Mae’s Ditch Stitcher and it worked great on the open areas when I stitched my diving lines in the borders. 
The borders I divided up into triangles that I put the triangle swirl in and flowers.  The triangle swirls were an iteration of the original triangle echoes that I drew on the sketch.  I learned in my practice quilting that the echoes were just not time effective since they weren’t continuous lines. 
I also jumped from each triangle to the next rather than clipping the thread and moving to each new spot. 
The triangle swirls were half the brown borders and in each brown pinwheel. 

I also did small and large flowers in the quilt.  The other half of the brown borders were in flowers.   
I used the jumping technique with the flowers too. 
The larger flowers I put in the half square triangles of the dark blue pinwheels.   
 All together the three look pretty nice, triangle swirls, small flowers and big flowers. 
For the filler in the light blue spaces of the blocks I originally had straight lines with hearts at the ends. 
I changed that up a little bit by adding squiggly lines to the straight ones and doubling the hearts. 
I hope it will puff up a little when I wash the quilt so you get some puffiness to the baby quilt to off-set the heavy quilting in the borders. 
The dark blue borders I just did straight lines.   
You can kind of see the variegation in the thread in the straight lines. 
In order to do the straight lines on the long sides of the quilt, we had to un-pin and turn the quilt 90 degrees and re-pin it to the frame.  Took a little bit of tweaking but we got it on right.  Everything looks pretty much like the original sketch, with the few tweaks I had to make. 
I was very happy to un-pin it and take it off the machine! 
Here is what I had looking over my shoulder the entire time – isn’t it cool?!?  Diane took a class where they enlarged a picture of something (in this case a dahlia), changed it to grey-scale, assigned each grey a real color, then translated it to raw-edge appliqué.  She FMQ it on her Juki and I think it looks great! 
This is the BOM for the Santiam Scrappers Quilt Guild for June – strawberry block. 
I just did mine as raw edge and whoever wins the block can quilt it as they like.  Needle turn is still wayyyyyyy beyond me.


  1. Wow, good job. That looks like a lot of hard work. And that machine is huge!

  2. Your quilting looks awesome and how fun to quilt on that long-arm!!! Way cool!!!

  3. Beautiful work! You answered a lot of questions I had about using a long-arm. Do you find it easier to use?

    1. I have been working on that long arm for about three years now and it does get easier as I go along. Still a lot to learn yet :o)