Nine patch block made of nine patches
I quilted plumes of feathers and I wanted each block to have plumes that radiated from the centre. I knew what I wanted an marked the spine of the feather as a curly queue on each of the blocks mane up of nine patches. I've drawn up a diagram of the quilting plan. Some of the curly queues started an the bottom edge of the block in the centre and some started in the corner of a block.
Nine patch block made of red nine patch surrounded by half square triangles
I decided to stitch in the ditch around the half square triangles and then stipple the area between the triangles and the outer edge of the block. I use my free motion foot for stitch in the ditch and stippling. As I was stippling I noticed that when my shoulders lifted there was tension and that tension translated into a lack of control which resulted in curves that are not as smooth. So if you feel your shoulders lifting, drop them and relax or look for a place to stop with the needle down and take a quick break. And if you haven't tried stitch in the ditch with your free motion foot I encourage you give it a go. Personally I get better results with that foot than with a walking foot. And here .
I purchased Cindy Needham's Craftsy class Design It, Quilt It: Free-Form Techniques and one of the things she recommends is stitch in the ditch in every seam or as Cindy likes to say "every stinkin`seam"! This is boring and time consuming but it does produce great results and the quilting is much more enjoyable. I tried this technique out on half of my blocks; I stitched in the ditch in every seam, even the little nine patch seams and I used Superior Monopoly on top and Superior's The Bottom Line on The Bottom. Both are light weight threads which means I was able to backtrack on seams I had sewn in order to get to the next seam and there is no thread build-up. I have to say that it was much easier to quilt the nine patch blocks made of nine patches if they were entirely stitched in the ditch. A lesson previously learned now relearned! If you are looking to improve on your machine quilting I highly recommend Cindy's class. You can watch it as often as you want and you can replay sections as often as you want. Craftsy classes go on sale fairly regularly so keep your eyes open!
Hopefully Cherry Blossom will be finished in the next two to three days and then I'll work on the pattern for those who are interested. It has been a fun and easy quilt to make. It looks complicated but in fact it was very easy to make. I am so happy with the quilt and I'll have a few tips for you to help you make your own version! Tip number one is don't go buy any fabric - work with what you have and when you run out, add another fabric. I ran out of my white on white print so I added the off-white with black dots and it added some dimension and depth to the quilt! For those of you who have just started reading my blog here is a picture of Cherry Blossom unquilted.
Phew - lots of words! How about some garden pictures instead?
Yellow loosestrife close-up
Gooseneck loosestrife (should bloom soon)
Angel trumpets (they are huge and they are fragrant at night)
Bee at the balsamAnd finally, a fly! Now I know I've shown you plenty of bugs recently and that's because there are plenty of them and they are an important part of the garden since the pollinate the plants and they are hors d'oeuvres for other critters. I am showing you this picture of a fly because I think the colours are spectacular and that they would make a beautiful quilt. Look at the soft greens, emerald, golds, turquoise and rust. Fabulous! Inspiration is everywhere if you just look!
Until I post again, happy sewing!