I’m so happy to let you know I had time today to get the top and the backing fabric loaded on the longarm! The batting will be a challenge as the large rolls of Hobbs are stowed away in a guest room closet. A closet that is quite inaccessible because boxes and boxes and boxes of “1st Floor stuff” are piled in front of the door. “Where there’s a will there’s a way” said someone famous. Sometime tomorrow afternoon I plan to put on a hard hat and steel toed boots and retrieve that batting!
This quilt top has been long in the making. Years ago mom and I saw an inspiration piece handing in a long closed quilt shop in Liberty, Mo. We both began furiously making our own quilt blocks. She finished hers a long time ago and oh how I love her quilt! I love the vintage linens, I love the piano key border and I love the quilting she did on this piece:
But I didn’t want to duplicate her work so I branched out. While our projects are remarkably similar, they are also unique stand alone pieces. Here’s my quilt top draped over the longarm:
For me this is a sizable piece, 85×92″, I usually work on much smaller projects.
The border is a custom swag. Sounds impressive doesn’t it… If you’ll scroll back a few blogs posts you’ll find a detailed tutorial on how to make a Custom Swag and you’ll know it is easy-peasy! Try it! Your quilting friends will be impressed. It’s up to you whether or not you tell them how straight forward it is…
Each of the vintage linens used in this project was cleaned, pressed and if necessary, trimmed to size. The beautiful piece below was once one end of a dresser scarf. If you look again at mom’s quilt you’ll see the other end of the scarf near the center of her finished project. This block shows how the decorative trim can be part of the quilt block. Only the top of this linen piece is incorporated into the quilt block seam.
The block below shows how the entire linen is stitched to the surrounding fabric strips.
And what’s not to love about having a “sewing helper” during block construction! If you don’t remember from previous posts, this is Winston, our beautiful and wonderful and very vocal House Panther. He is carefully eyeing those silver scissor snips, making sure they don’t wander off…
I created all the blocks in a “helter-skelter” method. “Oh, how hard could it be to get everything to fit together?” I said to myself as I started this project. I will NEVER ever use this crazy “fly by the seat of my pants” construction method again.
Do I have some favorite blocks? Oh yes and here are a few:
Here is how I began to work with the blocks. Needless to say, things got moved around a lot!
Since I put the longarm in my sewing room I don’t have a good space for my portable design wall. In the picture below I have it propped up on the longarm table. It actually worked quilt well! You may also see that I’ve used 2 vintage quilt blocks with the embroidered pieces, the hexagon flower (think Grandmother’s Flower Garden) and the on-point green and yellow basket block. Looking over this quilt top I see dresser scarves, pillow cases, doilies, quilt blocks, antimacassars and dish towels. Some of my “negative” white spaces, once quilted, will feature vintage crocheted butterflies. At least that’s the plan right now.
Again, a few pictures of some of my favs:
How did I decide what fabric strips go where? All the fabric strips are cut 1 1/2″ by width of the fabric. It was just an audition process based on the colors of the vintage embroidery designs. I did use all reproductions by the way.
The top right block, a dresser scarf made by my maternal grandmother.
Once I was comfortable about the block placement I began measuring to determine the sizes of bleached muslin needed to “fill in the gaps”. Like I said earlier: NEVER AGAIN!
So it’s on to the quilting! I will double batt this project using both Hobbs Heirloom white 80/20 with their Poly Down on top. I will get the entire quilt stabilized by stitching in the ditch in every seam before I begin the exciting process of decorative hand guided free motion quilting longarm.
I plan to use white WonderFil Deco Bob (80 weight) in the needle and a white poly 60 weight in the bobbin. If you haven’t tried this fantastic thread, give it a try! I love it! If you’re planning to attend the IQF in a few weeks, look for their booth, #1634. I don’t know what they will have as a “special” but earlier this year in Chicago they had a “buy 6 for the price of 5” booth deal. Stock up!
I’ll keep you posted in my longarm progress! Until then, Happy Quilting and Blessings to You!