I’ve made a lot of progress on my little silk folk art Chaucer quilt, temporarily titled “Whan That Aprille”. I have completed the central section, embroidered the text box, and assembled the top with the black border, which I also marked. I am waiting on my order of additional black Radiance for the back and while I wait, I have been experimenting with threads and settings for the quilting.
I decided I really like the look of the antique gold metallic from Superior Threads. Now I have discovered that my old Bernina 1230 “Betsy” has no problem with Superior metallics at all, and neither does my little B350 “E-Claire”, but my big old honking “Gibbs”, my Bernina 830 LE has some trouble with it. It’s all related to the tensions of both the bobbin and the top. It’s one of the best features of Gibbs, but also one of the most complex that it allows tremendous adjustment for both the bobbin and the top. I really want to use the big machine to do my quilting so I can use the stitch regulator and the large table arrangement that makes quilting so easy. I must have spent three full quilting days trying to figure out how to get the setup right and the gold thread to quilt without showing up as “tension problems” on the back that judges simply cannot abide. But I finally got it, I think. Here is the setup I have for the black borders that I plan to quilt in antique gold thread:
Silk-Cotton black Radiance for both the top and the back
90/14 Superior titanic top stitch needle
Superior 100 weight silk thread in the bobbin
Top tension 2.0
Bobbin thread for embroidery, but tension is loosened two clicks to the left (there is a special tool for this)
Bottom layer of batting is a thin polyester from Quilter’s Dream
Top layer of batting is Hobb’s wool.
Now yesterday I had no problem with this. Both the top and the bottom looked absolutely even. Today I had a few spin out loops on the back, but I think it is because I got overly confident and started sewing too fast. So I slid the speed control to the left and slowed way down with no more problems. My other two machines will not sew that fast. It just needs time to make it right. I have successfully quilted one of my five little practice mug rugs. I plan on finishing up four of them and sharing them with some of my friends that I owe mug rugs to. I will use them as practice painting samplers also, since I am planning on painting the border designs.
Sew what else have I been doing while waiting for the backing fabric? I have been rejiggering my quilting plans for the rest of this year and beginning of next year. I put them on my website (did you know I also have a website)? I have also started updating my quilt show list I keep there, but I figure that will take me a few more weeks to complete. I’ll let you know. Anyway, here is my “current projects” list (actually it’s my current plans list, but I like the feel of “projects” as opposed to “plans”…seems more like I’m making lots of progress. 😉
- Whan That Aprille: A folk art applique, embroidery and beading experiment. I combined this with the illuminated manuscript project. This is a silk and silk/cotton/Radiance quilt. The main center section is complete, the black border is pieced on and marked, the text box is successfully embroidered and pieced in. I am ready to make the sandwich and begin the quilting, but I decided I needed considerable experimenting, testing, and practice before I do this, and have put together five small mug-rug sized practice pieces for this purpose. I estimate completion of this quilt by 1 August.
- **NEW** First Flight: New blue print based whole cloth quilt based on Wright Brothers’ Line Drawings and an applique/embroidery rendition of a plane in the center. Mostly designed, although not patterned out yet.
- Volcanic Fire with Flying Things: Erupting volcano with dark mountain, smoky orange sky and fiery volcanic lava…in the near orange sky there will be a fight between phoenix and dragon in hopefully magnificent colors. This was inspired in part by my recent storm-at-sea quilt “Waiting…” in which I placed a rocky lower border. I enjoyed making that border and it made me think of volcanic rocks. It was also inspired by my work on “Sky Horse” and I decided the phoenix or dragon should have a large component of Angelina Fibers and crystals as part of the applique.
- Peppered Ikebana: This will draw from old Japanese Sashiko for the background, and will have a Japanese flower arrangement in the foreground. I am planning on making this largely with Pepper Cory’s shot peppered cotton fabrics, both free motion machine quilting and Sashiko large stitch quilting, and a combination of applique and machine embroidery for the flower arrangement. Remember, I have my fourth year flower arranging certificate in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana that I got in Japan and I want to use that in a series of flower-arrangements on quilts.
- Flower appliques and embroidery: I am using Beth Tatum’s beautiful flower pictures to design both in-the-hoop appliques and embroideries and out of the hoop free motion embroideries as a joint quilt with her (my DIL). Working on applique designs.
- Jazz On a Crystal Night: A stylized nighttime city scene with musicians silhouetted in tall building windows and doors. The music stream will be floating out of the windows and doors to the sky where it “explodes” into “fireworks”. This quilt will have a lot of crystals. Set in the 1920s.
- Light in an Ancient Forest: Very dark forest with great old character and large wonderful trees. Coming through the trees is a beam of sunlight that lands on the floor of the forest highlighting [something] in full of color. The something may be an ancient ruin of church with the light coming through the stained glass or a small patch of colorful flowers. There may be a woodland creature or two peaking out from behind some of the trees. 🙂
- Perspective in Silk: Second in series of perspectives in thread drawings…I will do this one on silk with colorful threadwork. This may become the start of a series on American monuments or something else.
- Zephana’s (my mother) Gifts: Using my mother’s unfinished hand-crocheted lace I found in her workbasket after her passing for embellishment and a key design component, this quilt is in her memory. I will use a background of linen and silk fabric.
- Dragon Dress for Competition: Black quilted silk sheath dress with flared skirt, will have appliqued trapunto dragon wrapped around the dress. This is for competition and will include machine embroidery, hand embroidery, Angelina Fibers, crystals, beads and sequins. I just have to figure out how to make the dragon wrap so it looks right.
Sew Happy everyone, and what are you working on or planning now?