Monday, May 6, 2019

OMG (One Monthly Goal) for May: Quilt and Bind Mission Impossible Graduation Quilt, Due in 20 Days

Okay, you guys -- I think I know how I want to quilt Lars's graduation quilt.

Quilting Plan du Jour for Mission Impossible
I was doodling different quilting options on top of the quilt top image on my iPad last night with one of my drawing apps, and this is the one I liked the best.  It's all straight line ruler work, and I'm fresh from taking longarm ruler quilting workshops with both Lisa Calle and Judi Madsen last week so even though this is a reach for me skill-wise, it *SHOULD* be doable.  

I was drawing my quilting ideas in yellow so I could see them, but I will be quilting them either with a deep eggplant Aurifil 50 weight thread that matches the background fabric exactly, or else with a Signature Threads variegated purple King Tut thread that has slightly lighter shades of purple.  Here's how I drew this design, and how I will be marking and quilting it (unless I chicken out):

Straight Lines Coming From Block Corners to Create Diamonds
First I just drew a diagonal line through each block from corner to corner, skipping over the flying geese.  In real life, this will be a straight line made with a ruler, and I would mark it on the quilt first and then use a ruler to guide my hopping foot as I stitch over the marked lines. I added another line just inside those diamonds for separation.  That line will be maybe 1/4"  or 1/2" inside the first diamond.

Diamonds Filled with Vertical Lines
Then I filled those inner diamonds with vertical straight lines.  I'm not sure how far apart those lines will be yet -- maybe 1/2"?  I want the rings of flying geese to come forward visually, so the background needs to be quilted more densely than the geese.  Again, to ensure my lines are perfectly straight and perfectly lined up above and below the geese, I'll be marking the lines first and then guiding my hopping foot with a longarm ruler as I quilt along the marked lines.

Horizontal Straight Lines Added in the Chevrons
And finally, I added horizontal lines in the chevron areas between the diamonds.  Those lines will be spaced the same as the vertical lines, premarked and quilted with rulers in the same way.

I doodled lots of different designs before settling on this one.  None of the curvy quilting designs did it for me -- I like the way the straight quilting lines set off the curved piecing without competing or diluting their impact.  But I'm a little nervous about quilting this and not 100% sure of the best way to tackle it.  I know step one is always to stabilize the quilt by stitching in the ditch wherever possible, but my quilting design won't allow me to stitch in the ditch along all of the seamlines, just the ones I've marked in yellow in the photo below:

Same Design in Purple "Thread," Yellow Lines Indicate Stitch In the Ditch
In this version, I redrew the quilting design in purple for a more realistic idea of what the quilting will look like on the actual quilt, and so I could easily see where I am stitching in the ditch along block seamlines.  I'll print out these sketches and bring them to the studio so I can refer to them while I'm quilting.

Here are my questions and quandaries:

What Thread Am I Using for All of This?

Ideally, I'd like to use purple thread for all of the background quilting on the purple fabric.  However:

  1. My backing fabric is printed with a Bible verse that I want to be legible.  Will all these purple lines of quilting obscure the backing text too much?
  2. For both of the curved seams on the arced flying geese, the purple fabric is the high side of the seam, not the low side.  But I'm going to have to travel in that ditch to get from one straight line to the next as I'm quilting the background design.  I was originally planning to stitch in the ditch on the curved seams with monofilament that would disappear on the yellow fabrics and hide any wobbles (I'm still on my learning curve with stitching in the ditch along a curved seam).  Do I just double stitch all of those straight lines in the purple background so I never have to travel on yellow fabric with purple thread?  If so, the 50 weight Aurifil might be a better choice than the heavier 40 weight variegated King Tut.
  3. When am I actually doing that curved stitch in the ditch -- before or after the background quilting?
  4. I also bought some gold metallic thread that I was thinking of using for some accent quilting in my flying geese.  Do I dare???

What About My Backing Fabric?

As if that's not enough to think about, I discovered that Spoonflower printed my backing fabric off grain:

Tearing Spoonflower Fabric on Grain Reveals a Crooked Print Job
So I need to decide whether I think I can cut my backing fabric crooked to make the writing appear straight on the back of my quilt, without creating a problem with diagonal wrinkles and pleats happening on the back of the quilt or a quilt that wants to revert back to straight grain, crooked writing after it's been quilted and bound.  

The good news is that, despite the scary care instructions from Spoonflower, their water-based inks do appear to be very colorfast even when their care instructions are disregarded.  I put swatches of the custom printed fabric in both hot tap water and BOILING water for 15 minutes with no visible dye bleed into the soaking water, and then squeezed the wet swatches between white paper towels and again, no dye transfer onto the white paper towels.  So I'm proceeding with unwashed backing fabric (my quilt top is made of all unwashed Kona Solid fabrics and the Spoonflower fabric is printed onto Kona Solid white fabric as well).  

Anyway, this is my One Monthly Goal for May and I only have 20 days from today to be completely finished with it, as in quilted, labeled, and bound.  Wish me luck!

I'm linking up with:
·      Midweek Makers at

·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at


Robby said...

Sounds like the backing is your biggest problem. Wish I had a clever solution for you. You'll surely do a great job quilting and any wobbles will likely go unnoticed by the recipient. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I love your proposed quilting design! The straight lines really play well with all the curves of the piecing.... I think you have a winner!! Looking forward to seeing the end product....
Sandra B

Preeti said...

Oh my goodness, you could have warned us, Cheeky!!! So much handsomeness in one picture. I can barely take my eyes off from the screen. Such a good-looking family!!!
What do I know about quilting designs? I try to "finish" with rapid straight line quilting and walking foot is not just my friend, It is my life-saver. So here I am rooting for you and Lars on the completion of this labor of love, gorgeous, so much care and thought in every step of this quilt that you are making for him!!!

Patty said...

This will be fabulous! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.

SJSM said...

Wow! That will be gorgeous. Not being a quilter but knowing a bit about thread, have you considered the So Fine 50 weight line from superior Threads? There is also the bottom line 60 weight. In looking I saw a new thread to me, the MicroQuilter. It says 100 weight to disappear in the background in micro quilting. That sounds as if you would be quilting forever. It might be good for the stitch in the ditch part.

I like your plan and know you will make this all come together beautifully. Twenty days requires a lot of micro goal setting especially if you need to work, run a household and practice your music. You can do it as you are great at focusing on goals.

Laura said...

Wow! I like your plan! This will be a fab quilt!

Shar said...

I think that your quilting plan is perfect. All the straight lines accent the circles and will make them pop. Your diagram of stabilizing looks pretty good. I know it would be better to be able to sew all the way from top to bottom and side to side without stopping, but I think it will be stabilized enough. Maybe quilting the outside of the circles in the middle would be the second step. I think once you get started, your brain will kick in and see what steps to take. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.

chrisknits said...

Love your plan, no clue on the questions! But I am reading any answers you get. Can't wait to see it finished!

Gretchen Weaver said...

I like the quilting plan. I'm sure the first block or two will be the most challenging. Once you've got the pattern down, you'll be able to fly along quilting.

dq said...

The quilting will be perfect. I am old school and have never thought to use a doodle app to pick a quilt design. I will have to try it.

Susan said...

Oh I love the quilting design you came up with - absolutely perfect! As for the backing, I think I'd take my chances and make the lettering straight. It doesn't appear to be off my too much. Good luck!