Bitten by the bug. The newest quilting craze. Yes, this quilt has a cult-like following right now, with a new quilted version of it appearing on social media daily. And I am the newest member of this club. Late last week when I had seen enough of these that I could no longer help myself, I ordered 2 panels. Oh, what color to choose?...This Hoffman Dream Big 44" panel comes in 6 or 7 colors, and they are all just as tempting. I chose this one and an aqua flower. I have seen one quilted on facebook that appeared to use a large number of fills from my Dense & Dainty book. I decided I would create my own version. One can never have enough teaching samples, right??...
The lighting is not ideal for a great full shot. Never fear, though, I have a couple hundred closer-ups to reasonably show all of my blunders. I double batted this with Hobbs 80/20 wool-cotton blend and a layer of Hobbs wool on the top. This maximizes the loft and definition from the designs. My initial plan was to use a combination of 40wt and 100wt threads, but when I actually got to it, I only used 40wt. It's too much trouble to switch to the 16 needle each time I want to run the finer thread. Using the heavier thread just meant I had to be neat on the backtracking because all deviations would show.
I often get questions while teaching about my process for quilting. In other words, where do I begin and what is quilted first. The unsatisfying answer is that it varies from quilt to quilt. On this one, however, I opted to baste the entire top first. I run 1/2" basting stitches in rows about 5" apart, creating a grid. This enables me to start wherever I think it makes most sense, and change out thread colors as needed. I chose to begin at the center and work my way outward. Each petal was first outlined, and framed, as shown below. Only after the entire flower was "SID" did I remove the basting threads and start filling each of the petals.
As you can see, I played around a bit. Though the making of class and book samples is sort of serious business (I do want my business to convey the best of my abilities), this is also a time when I believe it is important to relax, let down my crazy need to perfectionista every stitch, and JUST HAVE FUN. There are different width and style frames for different petals. Experimentation can be rejuvenation.
The fills I used mostly come from one of my two fills books -- Dense and Dainty or Beautiful Backgrounds. They are all "freehand" (ie, no computer), but a few of them use the assist of a grid. Some of these patterns never made their way onto an actual quilt, and some of them never made it into the book at all. I had to draw a limit somewhere. OK, there is also one silly feathered petal on the flower. I just had to do it.
If anybody asked me what I thought of modern quilting, I would likely try to run the other way. Most days it makes me feel like a deer caught in the headlight of an oncoming train. Modern and Me just are not comfortably synonymous. Once I get past the notion though that I am quilting designs that convey as modern, it is much easier, and it really is fun. I think part of my mental break with the modern movement is that I don't love that many of the quilts themselves, but I do relate with the heavily graphic quilting. That is what made this quilt so perfect for my mentality. It is a beautiful non-modern flower that I could quilt modern designs in moderation all over.
Clearly, some are full-out traditional. The juxtaposition of combining both styles on one quilt makes my job exciting.
Anybody curious how long this little quilt took to stitch? Would you cry at a ripe 14 hours? I was a bit surprised because I was sure it would be a one day job. I should know by now that I am usually off by a factor of two on my own quilts!
Bamboo and chicken wire (albeit a tad wonky).
Bamboo and chicken wire (albeit a tad wonky).
My center is a little wonky. I need to not be so literal in how I interpret where the petals are located.
It's like a yummy box of candies - one of everything. Basketweave, a spiderweb, tiny hearts and a few bricks.
I love that top center petal. This pattern is so stinking easy to quilt but has the coolest 3-dimensional appearance. The quilting is done with yellow for the center, two shades of peach/orange and 2 shades of pink. All thread is either Superior Magnifico, Glide or YLI polished poly. I tried to switch threads to best blend with the color of the petal. Some of the larger petals have more color variation, so the thread shows more.
Did I mark things on this?...You betcha. I mark with a air erasable pen whenever it is helpful. My eye is decent (the matchstick lines above are eye-balled), but not perfect. The tiers of the bricks are neatly marked so I don't look like a drunk mason quilted them. My current marking pens of choice - Leonis, and I order them from Amazon. They work WAY better than the other purple or blue pens you can buy at a quilt shop. Don't let their small length deceive you.
Here is a fun grid pattern I do on a square grid, this time stitched in a hex grid. Grid designs are cool that way. Many can be quilted on different style grids to create a completely different look.
Last picture...Yup, I used ugly old muslin on the backside. It would not have been my first choice for sure, but (if you can believe this) I just did not have a single piece of anything (besides my silk Radiance stash) that did not require lots of piecing. Sigh... So, anybody who sees this in person can inspect my raunchy backtracking with ease!
Quilt on...and if you have quilted one of these, please leave me a link so I can be further inspired!