Quilting for a quilt show
Lately I have been quilting a quilt expressly for a quilt show. All detail has been left to my fancy. I like quilting when I have free rein, but sometimes the idea that it is going into a quilt show makes the job more intimidating.
The fabrics are wild colors and make things pop. They are also a mix of different types of fabric and that sometimes makes perfect stitches hard to achieve. I will admit that perfect stitches elude the toughest critic so I try to do my best even under the pressure of knowing it will be judged and critiqued.
The quilt top is free form art at a level I would never go for in building a quilt for myself. It interests me how people process their ideas. I saw this quilt when it was just four panels of fairies and an idea for borders. The Grandmothers flower garden blocks were strewn about it on the floor so I got to see what was coming. Laura and I went for a day trip one weekend when we had nothing else to do and stopped at a hotel where a group of my friends were at quilt retreat. The maker started tossing the bits and parts on the floor and everyone gathered around and put in their 2¢ worth over what she should do next. At least the piecer gave me lots of time to think about what I might want to do with the quilting.
I did think about what to quilt on it up until I got it in my hands and then realized the batik fabric that was the background was so busy I would have a hard time finding thread that would look good on the busily patterned fabric. Batik is stiff heavily dyed fabric that is very unforgiving. My size 20 needle makes huge holes compared to a regular sewing machine and if any stitches have to be removed, the holes don’t ease back together like normal fabric does. Trying to not make mistakes is added pressure on top of knowing the quilt is going into a show.
I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and got out my handy pile of stencils. I fell back on using a beautiful feather that I could make curl up from the bottom of the quilt to the top, right up the middle. I broke up the rest of the background space and did clam shells and swirls. I chose a thread that was the same color as the fabric so you can’t see the stitching at all on the front. I decided what I really wanted this quilt to do was surprise you when you looked at the back. I think I pulled it off. I hope the judges are equally pleased.