Visiting my local quilt shop the other day, The Little Shop of Stitches, I had the chance to talk to Amy, who works there, about her wall quilt she was looking to have quilted. She shared with me a picture of it and, boy, did I ever get excited! I’ve never worked with raw fused applique to date, so getting a chance at this gorgeous quilt was really appealing to me.
I got a practice piece of fabric when I went to visit my Mom and Dad and raw fused some things onto it just to practice. I’m glad I took the time to do that, as I found out a few things: 1. The hopping foot would have to be raised for two layers of batting and 4-5 layers of fused applique. 2. The needle size should be as small as possible for the thread choice (holes become part of the fused applique in the sewing process and the smaller, the better). 3. Lengthen the stitches. This goes back to item 2. Longer stiches mean less holes and a better overall finish. I was off!
I used Quilters Dream Blend on the bottom and Quilters Dream Wool on top. I stitched in the ditch with Superior Monopoly to outline St. Nick, the packages and the candy cane border and candy canes. I knew that the big thing that would shift, if left alone too long, was the beard, so there was no time to waste. I picked out four shades of Glide thread and set out, with many starts and stops, since the beard came in a number of fabric colors and I didn’t want to mix the thread up too much.
St. Nicks face began to bubble up, since it was also fused applique and a rather large area, so I went against my original thoughts and decided to stitch the linework into his face to help bring stability to it.
While that covered over Amy’s fabric painting a bit, I’m sure Amy will weave more of her fabric painting magic and bring some sparkle back to his face. Santa’s hat and packages were addressed and then the real fun began!
The holly leaves were a great place to bring in some definition and I chose a lighter Glide thread to simply give the leaves another layer of color and better definition. That same thread was used for the pebbling. I intermittently installed whirled pebbles to pop just a little more interest into them. I thought this turned out simply lovely.
The last piece to the quilting puzzle was to address the blue dark of evening background. I envisioned the wind blowing and the snow wafting through the night sky. Hence, the whirls and the McTavishing application in a light blue thread, because I really wanted this lovely fabric background to sing. I didn’t look back. I just started to install a large swirl off the mitt and just went at it.
I have to say that I think this sky was the best part of this quilt! Amy picked the absolutely perfect fabric and I really think her and my contributions to this quilt really made for an amazing piece of art.
As usual, I was nervous to get this back to it’s rightful owner, and I was thrilled that she was happy with the results. I am sure that part will get easier with time, but I care so much for what my customers entrust to me and I want them to be very happy with the end result. At 130,000 stitches, I have to say, Amy and I make a great team!
Have a great day, everyone!