Friday, November 26, 2021

Quilting the Lonely Hearts Club quilt: free-motion and rulerwork

This is the second post chronicling the process of my 2021 Guild Challenge quilt. See Part 1 here.

November 6, 2021: With a week before the Challenge deadline, and a quilt top approximately 70" square... A LOT of quilting needed to be done!

Pin basted quilt top.

Although I had done a digital mock-up of potential quilting designs, the plan for the quilting was not solidified.
Quilting sketch to audition the quilting design.

Free-motion quilting and rulerwork

November 7, 2021: I started in the center with rulerwork frames surrounding the characters in my highrise heart-building. I wanted the characters to seem as if they were seen through windows in a highrise building. Alone in their individual apartments but together in the same building.

Framing the fussy cut images with quilting.

Rulerwork around the fussy cut patches.

Overlapping squares and angles were quilted in the dark values.

Free-motion and ruler quilting in the center section.

Curvilinear motifs were used in the lighter values—to contrast with the geometric angles and accentuate the heart shape. The swirls and bubbles were quicker and easier to quilt than the straight lines around the "windows."

Contrasting quilting motifs in the center section.

November 12, 2021: The scrappy heart blocks were lots of fun to quilt! These were free-motion quilted in an improv style. Each heart had a different doodle design.

Quilted heart block.

Quilted heart block.

November 13, 2021: Various strips between the blocks [sashing] were filled with free-motion zigzags. This is a favorite geometric motif for me. I can pretty much eyeball the zigzags, so I don't mark any of these.

Rulers were used for the radiating lines in the corner triangles and to stitch in the ditch around the heart blocks. 

Free-motion zigzag in the sashing strips.

Rulerwork was also done in-the-ditch surrounding the lettering. I am particularly pleased with the lettering—the improv patchwork, the letter spacing, the whimsical appearance and the rulerwork outline quilting.

A ruler was used to free-motion stitch in the ditch around the improv block letters.

Binding, backing and label

November 14, 2021: I decided a scrappy flat piped binding would be a good complement to this quilt. Leftover strips from the patchwork were used and the binding could be attached by machine (a good thing!).

Strips for the flat piping in the binding.

Flat piped binding, zigzag quilting in the sashing and other quilting motifs.

November 15, 2021: The binding and label were attached the day of the Challenge Reveal... and I know mine was not the only entry that went down to the wire. 

The backing is a 108" wide back from Northcott. The print reminded me of brickwork on a highrise apartment building.

"Alone Together" backing and label.

"Alone Together" label

My First Place Winner

Our guild does a member vote for the Challenge entries. My quilt, "Alone Together," won the 1st Place Award this year! There were 11 entries in the Challenge.

"Alone Together" 65" x 67.5"

Award Ribbons

As a member of the Challenge team that coordinated this program, I also made the award ribbons. We had 4 top awards and all participants received a goodie bag of fabrics, thread, sewing supplies and coupons.

2020-2021 Challenge award ribbons. 

2020-2021 Challenge award ribbons (backs).

Quilt Stats

Threads used for free-motion quilting.

I changed the thread colors quite frequently on this piece. It added to the scrappiness of the patchwork and additional whimsey to the composition. Here are the quilt stats:

  • 40.25 hours of free-motion and rulerwork quilting
  • top threads: 80 wt poly DecoBob [WonderFil Specialty Threads], 50 wt. cotton [Aurifil]
  • bobbin threads: 80 wt. DecoBob, 60 wt. poly The Bottom Line [Superior Threads]
  • the backing fabric is a 108" wide backing from Northcott Fabrics
  • 100 % washable wool batting [Hobbs Tuscany]

Detail of letter blocks. Improv patchwork.

In a final blog post about my Challenge piece, I'll summarize my experiments, lessons learned and the feedback from viewers.

Stay tuned...

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