The Courtship, a Small Quilt From a Vintage Linen Pillow Cover.

The Courtship

Using a lot of pictures I’m going to take you through the process of creating this small 24×24” quilt.

I started with this darling pillow cover, white on white hand embroidery and slightly off-white tatted edging. I bought this piece in an antique shop in Chappell Hill, Tx., brought it home and removed the damaged back, laundered and pressed the piece and set about deciding how to use it in a small quilt.

I knew I wanted the finished piece to be square and I’m starting with a rectangle so I had a few design challenges ahead.

With a finished 24” square as my goal I laundered, starched and pressed a 32” piece of bleached muslin. Using a black Frixion pen I marked registration lines dividing the fabric into 8 equal sections, the outermost lines marking the needed square.

My next step was to fold the pillow cover in half both horizontally and vertically and pressed to create a crease. Now back to the bleached muslin. I lined up the horizontal and vertical lines which was easy to do because of the sheerness of the pillow cover fabric.

With all edges and the center secured with straight pins I sewing machine basted the pillow cover to the muslin.

While it’s hard to see because I’m using Deco Bob 80 weight white thread, I did baste at the edge where tatting is attached the pillow cover.

I designed a Swag Template after dividing the width of the finished project by 3. I like the look of odd rather than even numbered motifs. I’ve traced around the template again, using a Black Frixion pen.

Let me say a little bit about Frixion Pens. You either love them or you hate them. I love them. Yes, I’ve had a few times where using them on a dark fabric resulted in ghost lines, yes I know that freezing temperatures will bring them visually back and yes I know that the ink/gel remains in the fabric forever. I still choose to use them in certain situations and accept that nothing in life is guaranteed, including my quilting experiment projects.

Do you utilize these super handy Drafting tools? These plastic(?) templates are made in a variety of great sizes.

So I’ve reached the point where I have both the top and bottom swags drawn, their connecting circles are in place, the side curved lines are partially hidden by the tatting and the general swoop or curve on the anticipated quilted feathers have been sketched in.

If you look closely at the right side of the bottom swags you will see an arrow. I mark in all sorts of “quilting shorthand” notes when I’m working on a piece. It really helps later when I say to myself “hum…what was I thinking about doing here…”

Here’s a better picture where you can also see I’ve indicated on both the bottom and right side that my measurement is for a 24” square piece.

Just a closeup of where I’m intending to quilt feathers. By drawing a loop at the end of a curve I get a visual heads up of where I plan to stop quilting and head back down the curve to feather the other side.

Just a quick picture of the top of the project. Look at the center swag. There are 2 arrows, one at each end. This is a signal to me that the feathers will meet up and stop at the center.

So it’s time to begin the actual quilting…but I have a problem. I cannot see the edge of the white embroidery on the white sheer fabric laying on the white bleached muslin. I tried by quilting around the girl but it was very difficult and I had quite a bit of quilting to pick out and redo. Frixion pen to the rescue. I outlined all the remaining embroidery and having the black line to follow made all the difference in the world.

Once all the outline quilting was complete I began stitching the feathers.

With the feathering complete on both sides it’s time to think about the area between the boy and girl.

While I’m still mulling over the center of the piece I move on to the top and bottom and can you see that I changed my mind about the swag bumps? I revised the swags to have a soft curve instead.

At this point having quilted veins in the feathers on the swags I decide to do the same to the feathers around the boy and girl.

The straight vertical quilted lines are 1/4” apart.

It’s time to tackle the undulating feathers on both the right and left side. Using the blue painters tape I am able to hold the tatting out of the way of the quilting.

With the sides complete it was time to make a decision about the center. A quilted feather heart seem just the thing. By the way, by now you can see the boy is no longer surrounded by the black Frixion pen markings. Using my little Clover wedge wand iron I made the ink disappear. That little wedge iron worked perfectly.

The heart is quilted and next came the crosshatching. Here’s how I feel about crosshatching…love the look, bored to pieces executing it.

And just like that, it’s ready to come off the longarm. The total time spend quilting was 12 hours. I’m just going to show you a bunch of closeup pictures here:

Can you see I’ve beaded just the tip of every vein in the feathers? I’ve used a tiny Celon white size 15 bead.

You know, White is actually very difficult to photograph! These last few pictures look like I’ve used light blue or lavender quilting thread…it’s white.

I used 2 layers of batting: Hobbs 80/20 white and their Tuscany Poly. The needle and bobbin thread is Deco Bob white (color number 104) 80 weight by Wonderfil Specialty Threads. The back fabric is Moda Classic in white. Finished to include the binding the piece measures 24” square and I spend a total of 12 hours doing the quilting.

Once the quilting was finished but before I applied the binding I hand stitched down the outside edges of the tatting.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog! I so much enjoyed the process of creating this piece, let me know if you have questions.

Blessings and of course, Happy Creating!