Saturday, August 3, 2013

Moon Garden, a joyful quilt

I'm calling this one Moon Garden.
Moon Garden, detail
This quilt was an absolute joy to make! It offered me so many opportunities to try different techniques, revisit machine appliqué, cross pollinate new fabric collections, and experiment with exuberant, variegated threads and free-motion quilting designs. You may recognize it from this post.
A variety of background fabrics set off the
graphic black/white appliqués.
The quilt is based on the pattern, Dresden Star, by Edyta Sitar. I opted to use the companion acrylic templates—which, by the way, are the perfect size and shape for Blank Quilting's pre-cut Fabrications strip sets! 

I used the black/white strip collection for the star points/petals and couldn't stop sewing the 3-D Dresden rings... two, three... five, eight! Concerned about the sharp points? With this technique, it's a no-brainer. Even beginners would be successful.
Several background fabrics set off the graphic black/white Dresden stars.
The backgrounds for the appliqué blocks are coordinates from the Dahlia collection by Frances Newcombe [Belly Buttons Boutique] for  Blank Quilting and one of the new colors (pear) from Fusion Illusion.
Free-motion quilting on the setting triangles (in Desiree).
The sashing and setting triangles are from Desiree, a large floral tone-on-tone fabric line. The butterfly border is a focal print—also from Dahlia—while the colorful appliquéd circles, as well as the binding, are Blank's popular Splash blenders.

Auditioning the threads and the quilting designs:
After the top was pin basted, I auditioned threads—40 wt. and 50 wt. variegated cottons—for quilting the Dresden blocks.
Auditioning the threads.
A page from the sketchbook: working out potential motifs on paper is always a good place to start.
Sketchbook page of potential quilting motifs.
The free-motion quilting employed outlining, various fills, tendrils and a stylized zig-zag in the black sashing.
Variegated 40 wt. and 50wt. threads (left) and detail of the block quilting (right).
Sweeping and curling free-form feathers were quilted and randomly interspersed with patches of swirls and bubbles throughout the setting triangles and the borders. An antique gold, lighter weight 2-ply 50 wt. cotton thread (Master Piece (Botticelli) by Superior) was used for this quilting. 
Free-form feathers, swirls and bubbles quilted in
the setting triangles and the border.
Here is a full view of Moon Garden.
Full view: Moon Garden, 57.5" x 75"
Stats for Moon Garden:
Finished quilted size: 57.5" x 75". 22.5 hours for free-motion quilting, 10.5 bobbins. Threads (all cotton): WonderFil Tutti (50 wt.), Superior King Tut (40 wt.) and MasterPiece (50 wt.), YLI (40 wt.) and Superior Bottom Line (60 wt. polyester) for the bobbin. Hobbs Tuscany 100% cotton batting.

On the back:
My latest favorite 108"wide backing is the Sparkle line. (Yes, I am a fickle free-motion quilter when it comes to the wide backings—I like a lot of them.) This warm brown (java) color was a perfect complement to the ocher yellows and spicy red-oranges on the front. The subtle texture of the print—like cafe-au-lait infused with pure vanilla bean—provides interest, but still plays second violin to the quilting.
Sparkle java 108" wide backing. Back view with label.
Here are a few more pics of the quilting from the back (taken at various times of the day and night under different lighting conditions).
Free-motion quilting (back view).
Free-motion feathers, swirls and bubbles (back view).
Free-motion quilting (back view).
Finishing touches:
To finish, this quilt deserved a binding of equal calibre—a flat piped binding—using Splash (coral) with a solid black accent. Along with the label, I think it is a perfect ending [binding] to a joyful quilt. Wouldn't you agree?
The flat piped binding on Moon Garden.
Always put a label on your quilts.

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