This week I finished Beach Quilt VI. See the other Beach Quilts or links here, if you care. This wasn’t on my list for this month, but the last one sold quickly, and I was dying to use up these scraps. And I have just about done that. I’ll have to go in a different direction with the next one.
I expected to frame the scrap blocks with aqua and khaki solids, but that didn’t work, and I like the low-volume results from these fabrics. I might like this better than the last one, but I’m not sure.
The quilting is all free-motion “waves” in Superior’s Living Colors (507) with very little marking. I think this kind of linear quilting is much harder than working on one area of the quilt at a time. I studied the quilt for a while, wondering if I would like some kind of motif in each block, but I really like the wave effect, so I bit the bullet. Every time I reposition my hands, there is the risk of a weird stitch that spoils the smooth lines. The harder I tried to hold the quilt still as I started up, the worse it was. I found if I kept my hands lightly on the quilt, or lifted them completely, it worked better. Good practice, and it turned out well.
We talked some on Twitter about whether it is necessary to stitch in the ditch to stabilize the quilt before doing more elaborate quilting. I almost always do. I started years ago with Harriet Hargrave’s Heirloom Machine Quilting (1995!), and she told me to stitch between all the blocks first, so I do. I really think that first, “behind the scenes” quilting gives the quilt structure and allows me to focus on the quilting design without worrying about shifting or wrinkles. Had I not done this first, I’m pretty sure this diagonal quilting would have stretched and wonked this quilt into a mess. I use fine thread that really disappears into the ditch, usually Superior’s Bottom Line (50 wt.). I guess this is similar to Aurifil’s 50 wt.? I use my walking foot. On this one, I went back and free-motioned in the ditch in the corners inside the frames where the wave stitching didn’t catch them. All this “structural quilting” enabled me to make it look like the only quilting was the widely space groups of waves in the showy thread, yet it’s still all tidy and tight.
I’ve also used water-soluble thread when I didn’t want to spoil a secondary design with stitches between the blocks. I did that on Disappearing Pinwheels. It controlled the puffiness while I quilted, and then didn’t break up those diamonds after it washed out.
Krissi assisted with this photo shoot. We’re linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.