This is going to be a picture heavy post today. More often than not lately it seems i’m doing a lot of “custom” quilting. What that usually entails is a few different designs in different places on the quilt, some quilts more intricate than others. This quilt happened to be my favorite type of custom quilting, the kind where a client says “Do whatever you want! Surprise me!” We talk a little about the density and where they would like designs, but otherwise it’s left up to me what ultimately goes on the quilt. When Oona and I first started talking, I had some general ideas right off about what would be quilted in the pink flowers, and two or three ideas for the spiderweb shapes between, but I wasn’t absolutely certain about the background until I started quilting.
Giant swirls along the borders just seemed the right thing to do, but I knew that wouldn’t fill the larger borders of this quilt (which by the way is Meadow by Lizzy House, she talks more about this on her blog and it was interesting to see how she’s decided to “release” this pattern when I went to find a link for it). After I had the swirls I decided the vertical lines to the edges of the quilt would be just the thing, and then swirl and pebbles just seemed the right thing to fill in around the main prints of the top.
I love how the feathers turned out in the pink petals. I arched the bottom petals around the circles to try and make a connection of a circle when viewing from the back.
The part I had the hardest time deciding on was the center circle quilting. Oona had taken time to fussy cut bees for each of the circles and I didn’t want to do anything that would detract from that, but at the same time I needed to be quilted to match the density of the rest of the top. I finally settled on a circular petal, which you can see much better on the back of the quilt, in the next photo.
It can be very difficult to balance different color threads front and back. I am sure some longarmer somewhere can achieve this, but I’m only ever able to occasionally have success. Because of the nature of the machine moving back and forth across the top and the tension changes from seams to different fabrics, balancing can be tough when you’re a perfectionist. For this quilt I used a grey that matched the fabrics on the background so that you saw more of the texture and then I switched to a white for the print fabrics. It blended on the front, but viewed from the back you get an unexpected treat. Of course with that contrast of white on grey you also notice any mistakes….like the two petals that were missing from one of the feathers. It seems I ran out of thread, replaced the bobbin, got distracted, and then didn’t restitch those two petals. I was mortified when I was going through the photos and realized I didn’t catch that. I roller all of my quilts when i’m done quilting, this not only helps me get off any lint from the batting, but it also lets me inspect the quilt closely before it’s boxed up and sent home. I’m not sure how I missed this. Just a bit of “full disclosure” to let you know i’m not perfect, and as hard as I try to let nothing slip by me, i’m still human. Oona was more than gracious when I contacted her about it after looking at the photos to do this post. She said it took her awhile to find it and after showing it to countless coworkers and friends no one had spotted it either. *Phew* At least it wasn’t glaringly obvious.
I had a great time quilting this quilt. I had it on the longarm for about 2 weeks, but I always looked forward to working on it. The grey background and pink petals were free-motion quilted, the lines in the spiderweb shapes were done with rulers and the circles in the center were quilted with the Statler (that’s the computer connected to my machine). I love that custom quilting can involve all of these things. I enjoy ruler work for precise lines without the hassle of dialing them into my computer, but I also love using the computer to give me exactly what I need done when I don’t have the skill or patience to do it myself. Of course, free-motion quilting is always a joy. I’ll leave you with a few more photos of Oona’s beautiful quilt. I had a blast working on it, and i’m so glad Oona contacted me to help her complete it. It was such a fun quilt to quilt on! Honestly, a free-motion quilters ideal quilt.