Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quilting dragonflies (or anything else that tickles your fancy) and Turtle girls in the garden!

Although I'm not completely finished with the centre of the quilt it is stable enough that I can work on the border now. Mom wanted some dragonflies in the border so I did my test swatch to see how they work up.

Test swatch of dragonfly quilting

Once the test swatch was done it was time to dive into the quilting of the border on the Anna quilt. This is the first dragonfly quilted in the swag on Mom's Anna quilt. Yesterday I promised to explain how I did this so that is my topic for today.

These dragonflies are easy to quilt - surprisingly easy! And you can create any motif that tickles your fancy. This is how I did it!

The first step is to decide upon the motif. If you are comfortable drawing free-hand sketch it on tracing paper. You can also use a quilting template or a photograph. Children's colouring books are also great sources of designs. Trace or draw the image on a sheet of tracing paper. Or if you have a design on one of the fabrics in your stash that would make a great quilting design why not trace it?

Once you've traced your motif cut it out being sure to leave at least 1 " of tracing paper all around the motif. I like to make a master template and I trace copies of the master that I will use for quilting. I save my master templates in a binder so if I want to quilt the design again it is there waiting for me. The one caution I would offer is be careful of the marking tool you use. If you use a very soft pencil you can transfer the graphite into your quilting. It is probably best to use a marking tool that is fabric safe and that will wash out or trace lightly with a hard pencil.

Dragonfly motif on tracing paper

Next pin the paper template to your quilt.

The third step is to machine quilt on the lines. I like my stitches to be shorter because it makes the removal of the paper a breeze. You will notice that the head is a little wonky - I was working fast on my test swatch. It will not happen on the quilt - I'll take my time and it will be perfect!

Dragonfly quilted - tracing paper still in place

The fourth step is to remove the paper. If you do this carefully you can remove all of the paper and there will be no little bits caught in the stitching.

If there are bits of paper caught in the stitches use a pair of tweezers to gently remove them or you can use a little soft scouring pad. Lightly rub it over the quilting and it will remove any stray bits of tracing paper. If the scrubber is coloured I would recommend that you test the scrubber on a piece of muslin before you take it to your quilt to be sure that there is no colour transfer from the scrubber.

This is Mom's Anna quilt with the dragonflies quilted and the tracing paper removed.

I echoed around each dragonfly and then stippled (or meander) quilted to fill in the space. It is time consuming but I think that it does look nice so it will be worth the effort!

This is a great method for quilting a design on a fabric that is difficult to mark, a busy print for example. The motif you select can be as simple or as complicated as you choose however one thing I have found is that if there is a lot of travelling (having to backtrack over stitches to get back to a particular point) that this can make removing the paper more difficult. I used this tracing paper technique to quilt some maple leaves in my quilt Owl at Night (you can see it in Gallery). I quilted the outside shape of the leaf and the veins which involved backtracking. If I did this motif again I would quilt the outside of the leaf and with the needle in the down position remove the tracing paper from the centre of the leaf before quilting the veins.

Close-up of maple leaves in Owl at Night

I've got to figure out what to do with the elongated hexagons because tomorrow is Q day for them (quilting day)!

Then I'll do something with the little hexagons in the medallion and finally the outside of the border.  I'm thinking straight lines that run perpendicular to the swag. That or an all over swirly design of some sort. It won't be meandering or stippling - I've had enough of that for a while! I figure another two or three days of quilting and this one will be done, done, done! Well except for the binding but that will be a job for Mom!

There isn't much new in the garden in the way of blooms these days. I was out looking around for something I could shoot for you and who do I see...with one of my quilts I might add? And it is a silk quilt not meant for the outdoors. It was Turtle Girls!

HEY, Turtle Girls!!!

That looks like one of my quilts rolled up under your arm. Where exactly are you going with my quilt might I ask???

You won't believe where there were going and what they were going to do. Tune in tomorrow to find out! Until then, happy sewing!


  1. What a great blog today. Nice work and I am looking forward to seeing you soon.

    1. Isn't it a fun way to create some pretty quilting? Anyone can look like a quilting superstar!