Friday, October 26, 2012

The Quilting: Garden of the Sun God

By now, you may all hope I am done talking about this quilt. To an artist, the piece they have just finished is always the best work they have ever done.  In time, this may change, as it's success or lack of changes my opinion of the work! But for now, it is one of my best.

Detail of quilting at the base of papyrus
Now the quilting has begun. This is the most exciting for me, because all the time and effort I have put into the fabric selection and embroidery pays off. First, I detail all the pieces using monofilament thread in the top and bobbin. Don't cringe.  I have been doing this since the 1980's and it has been successful for me. When monofilament thread is used in the correct way, it will be your best friend. Outlining and stitching in the ditch are two of the best uses no one will ever see it!

Quilting detail of the pond
Next I pull out all my decorative threads and quilt all the empty or negative spaces.  This is what I'm doing when I feel that I am dancing on the quilt. The texture in the quilting brings the subjects to life. This has become an intuitive process for me, because I have been a machine quilter since 1988. This is why I wrote a book on machine quilting--my variety of course.  It is spontaneous, unstructured and informal.  There is too much stippling and feather making on quilts today, and that doesn't work for me. So I wrote Dancing with Thread so others might feel free to experiment with my ideas and techniques.

Quilting detail on the fish and border
I love quilting little scales on fish.  Using a pastel variegated thread, I detail the face and fins first, then use a little clamshell stitch to create the scales.  Without doing lots of detailed fusing, I just use a hand painted fabric, quilt it up, and it becomes a rather life like fish.

Once the quilting on the interior of the quilt is complete, I work on the outer border. After some looking in my notebook of quilting ideas, and looking at earlier quilts I decided to use half a coneflower on the inside edge. They are evenly spaced out along the seam. I used a silver or a white pencil to mark the outlines of each one. The flower has a spiral in the center, and there is random stitching filling the rest of the border. A bright red variegated thread #832 Rainbow, worked beautifully on the various reds in the pieced border.

Allow me to express an opinion here. One of the sad things I am finding in the quilt world is that more and more people are handing over their quilt tops to someone else to quilt.  By doing this, the quilt is no longer the work of one artist! And.....they are missing the most satisfying part of the quilt making process.  LEARN TO QUILT SO YOU CAN COMPLETE YOUR OWN QUILTS.  It's more fun!

Ann Fahl


Heather said...

That fish face is amazing!

Danih03 said...

Your quilt is beautiful!The fish is awesome! It reminds me of an Oscar. I agree with your last statement! Years ago, I so wanted to learn to quilt. What was stopping me was the quilting itself. I had it in my head that I would have to have some huge setup, like a longarm, or one of those big room size quilting hoops. I didn't want to go through all of the trouble of piecing only to have someone else quilt it for me. Finally, In the last year, I have learned to FMQ on a domestic machine. I'm like, where has this knowledge been all my life???? Finally, I'm a quilter!:)

Anonymous said...

Quilting is my favorite part of making quilts!

Mary said...

I could not agree more on quilting your own quilts. I want what I make to be entirely mine from start to finish. I love having the freedom to adapt my designs as I work on the quilt.