Friday, February 05, 2010

The Sky is Blue.....and so is the quilting!

Darn it! I always get the order of the photos backwards! So, from the bottom to the top, this is what is happening: (Please start at the bottom of this post and work up to the top)

5. Blocking the quilt
Laid out on the floor of the shed (to become studio) here is me smoothing the wet quilt to flatten it. This is the first time I have ever blocked a quilt and I was amazed at how much some areas of the quilt wanted to shrink in relation to other areas. The tightly quilted areas really pulled in, while the less heavily quilted areas didn't. The result, once smoothed out was a wavy line on the border. For this art quilt, I did not pin the sides out, just letting it take its own shape. I will trim it straight once it is dry, in a couple of days. Then I covered it with a clean sheet (there is a clean one underneath as well) to let it dry. I know this quilt will hang really well now and I am really glad I had the courage to do it!

4. Soaking the quilt prior to "blocking"
After three days of solid quilting, the quilt comes of the machine, and has a preliminary trim to get rid of unwanted fabric from the backing. Then I folded it and filled the laundry tub with cold water. It was amazing how much water it soaked up! A light spin in the machine, and then.....

3. Textural variation in the quilting
This can be a real challenge, I found. I was getting very settled with quilting the long flowing lines of the waves and sand and sky, so up close it was fun to work with lots of little circles to represent the sand at the feet of the children.

2. Using a spy glass to "see" the quilt from a distance
These are great! I raced out yesterday morning to buy one - I have been wanting one for ages. These are the things you have inserted into your front door to see who is on the other side. It gives you a sort of fish-eye view and when you look at your quilt it is as if you are a long, long way away. This is very reassuring for long arm quilters, who tend to look at everything as if it is under a magnifying glass. This quilt is not a traditional one, and it is meant to be seen from far away, and then closer, like a painting.

1. Quilting the Quilt
I used one of those "hospital" type trays on wheels so I could look at my visual diary while I was quilting the quilt. After a while I didn't really need it, but it helped me sort out in my mind the broad areas needing quilting. I placed a sheet of acetate over a photo of the quilt thus far, and drew some general quilting lines on it with a permanent marker. This was good to do, as once the quilt is on the machine it is easy to get get lost as so much of it remains unseen whilst working on a small area. The other page has a print from the original photo, for more detail.

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