Good morning, lovelies! After my little R.B.G. block detour, I returned to the cheater cloth panel that I'd loaded on my long arm frame for IntelliQuilter practice. Feeling comfortable with resizing and distorting block designs to fit less-than-perfectly-square quilt blocks, I decided to practice laying out and sequencing some E2E (Edge-to-Edge) designs. Oh my gosh, you guys -- I LOVE how my APQS machine stitches these designs out with R2D2 (yes, that's what I've named my IQ) doing the driving instead of me! Smooth feather curves, crisp points, and perfect circle bubbles with beautiful stitches on the top and bottom of the quilt, no matter which direction the machine is moving.
This particular E2E design is called Aphrodite Grande from Urban Elementz. It's an E2E because this type of design is intended to cover the quilt from edge to edge, irrespective of the piecing lines, borders, etc. It's a lot faster way to finish a quilt than treating individual blocks, sashings and borders separately, but it also has the advantage of being very evenly distributed quilting method that retains the loft (and therefore, retains the warmth) of the batting better than heavy custom quilting. E2E quilting generally results in a soft, drapable finished quilt, too, even if the quilt top is heavily pieced to begin with. So there are lots of reasons to choose an E2E design for a quilt besides just the wallet-friendly price point. E2E quilting is great for bed quilts, baby quilts, charity quilts, etc., and there are literally thousands of designs to choose from. Now, this E2E design and most others like it are available as paper pantographs for use with non-computerized long arm machines. With lots (and lots!) of practice, some quilters become quite good at following the quilting design on paper from the back of their machines using a laser pointer to guide their machine along the stitching path. After a few years of trying that, I've discovered that following paper pantographs is not my superpower -- especially not designs like this one with lots of circle details and tightly nested rows of quilting. I'm excited about being able to vastly expand the number of allover designs that I can quilt out reliably.
|Aphrodite Grande E2E on Practice Panel|
But there are more advantages to computerized E2E quilting designs compared to following a paper pantograph pattern by hand. If purchasing a paper pantograph pattern for Aphrodite Grande, it comes in one size/pattern density only -- with a 12" row height. With a digitized design in IQ, I can stretch any design bigger or smaller, changing the density of the quilting to make the scale of the quilting design more appropriate to the scale of the pieced blocks, or to adapt the design to my (or my customer's) preferences for lighter or heavier quilting overall.
|Setting Up a Computerized E2E Pattern on IQ|
Yet another thing I am loving about quilting computerized E2E designs is that, instead of having to keep my eyes on the laser light to follow a paper pattern at the BACK of the machine, I get to be right at the front of the machine where I can see and supervise the actual stitching when the computer is involved. My hands are free to work in any fullness or "personality" that a particular quilt top may have, as well, whereas if I was quilting a pantograph from the back of a quilt that had "C-cup blocks," a pleat or two might get quilted in those areas of excess fullness.
|Stitching Out My Aphrodite Grande E2E Design|
Other cool things about the IQ screen in the photo above: When I set up an E2E design, or any kind of computerized quilting design in IQ, it tells me how much thread the design is going to use in yards ("Remaining Length: 16.1 yd" in the above photo means 16 yards of top thread and 16 yards of bottom thread are required to stitch the remainder of this practice quilt). It also tells me how long the whole thing will take to stitch out (excluding the time it takes to stop, advance the quilt on the frame, and baste the edges). I have two speed settings that I can adjust, the regular Speed that is set to 2.0 inches per second for this pantograph, as well as a Details speed that I've got at 1.6 inches per second for this design. I can also program IQ to pause or "Dwell" at the sharp points and other intricate details ("dwell points") of a design, and fine-tuning Speed, Details speed, and Dwell enables IQ to sew even the most intricate, complex designs with accuracy and precision. So very cool!
|Speed and Details Slowed down for Intricate Block Design|
In this photo, you can see that I've got IQ slowed down to 1.3" per second regular speed and slowing to .9" per second for this Willow block design. I also have Dwell on the highest setting (3), which I learned NOT to do because it caused too many stitches to land in the points, creating knots where the machine was pausing too long. I got better results with Dwell set to 1.
That's the block I was working on in the photo above. I have a collection of coordinating blocks and border designs in this Willow set and I really love it. It's what I'd consider a "transitional" feather style because it can work equally well with traditional or more contemporary quilts.
|Willow Block 4 Design|
|Willow Block 1|
Isn't that pretty? But back to those E2E pantograph designs. Remember that I said I can change the scale of the designs to make them more or less dense? I can also use that feature to shrink a pantograph design way down and use it as a background fill for custom quilting, like "behind" an appliquéd or embroidered area in a quilt top.
|Willow Block 1, Stitched on Practice Panel|
|Shrinking an E2E Design Down as a Background Filler|
That's what I've done in the photo above. This is an E2E digital design called Dewdrops that, in the paper pantograph version, has a row height of 12" just like the Aphrodite Grande pattern I showed you a few moments ago. But here, I've shrunk Dewdrops all the way down to a row height of 1.75" with a pattern density of 5.73. The triangular boundary that I've filled with the design is a partial on-point quilt "block" from my practice panel that I mapped out with my machine needle so that IQ knows exactly where the edges of the block lie on my quilt.
Next, I used the same technique of moving my machine along the edge of the area where I didn't want stitching to map out a No Sew Zone for IQ.
|No Sew Zone Created so Filler Doesn't Stitch Over Star|
I'm not 100% pleased with the background filler yet to where I'd put that on a real quilt, but I found some additional educational resources that will help me to get better results with it next time. Same thing with my first attempt at programming the computer to quilt circles in the sashing -- I found that it was faster and easier to just grab my 1/2" Pro Pebbles acrylic template (available from Lisa Calle here) and quilt them by hand with the ruler. For now, as far as custom quilting is concerned, I feel pretty comfortable delegating some of the block and border stitching to R2D2 in conjunction with hand-guided ruler work and free motion quilting.
|Ruler Work Sashing + SID, Computerized Block + Background Filler|
But meanwhile, I have a few real quilt tops patiently waiting for E2E quilting and I'm looking forward to picking out the perfect design for each of them. And then, don't hold your breath, but maybe I can get my Ginormous Pineapple Log Cabin quilt top turned into an actual finished quilt on my bed soon, after all these years! Remember this one?
That's actually an EQ8 rendering I created by tiling a photo of the first block I finished piecing, repeated and manipulated in the software to "preview" the way the finished quilt would look with borders and everything before I invested the work of actually making all of the blocks. Here's what the actual finished quilt top looks like, draped over my 12' quilting frame, so you're actually just seeing half of the quilt top in this photo:
|Computer Rendering of 120 x 120 Pineapple Log Cabin Top Waiting to be Quilted|
Each of those pineapple log cabin blocks has 97 pieces and the strips finish at just 3/4" wide, so this is a VERY heavily pieced top. It weighs a ton. In fact, that's why I don't have a photo of the entire finished quilt top to show you. I was afraid that if I had my husband and son hold it up by the top border, the weight of the quilt top might cause the center to rip away from the border!
|Actual 120 x 120 Pineapple Log Cabin Top, Draped Over 12' Frame|
At first I was leaning towards a very traditional Baptist Fan quilting design for this 120" x 120" monster, but I really liked the way that Aphrodite Grande E2E design looked when I stitched it out on my practice panel:
|Aphrodite Grande E2E on Practice Panel|
An allover, updated feather design sprinkled with pearls like this one might be just the thing for my pineapple log cabin quilt, preserving the loft and warmth of my wool batting, without any thready buildup or stiffness from backtracking. Hmmm... Decisions, decisions! Too many choices is a good problem to have! To all of you in the United States, have a wonderful (and safe!) Thanksgiving this week!
PSST!! I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!
By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you! My turnaround for edge-to-edge quilting is currently running about 2 weeks, and you can click here to find out how to book your quilt with me.
Tuesday's To-Do List for the Week of Thanksgiving:
- Finish getting another tumbler charity top kitted for my mom to piece
- Quilt at least two pediatric outreach tops for donation through my guild
- Bake pumpkin pies, cook Thanksgiving for our small gathering (just immediate family)
- Christmas decorating on Black Friday!
That should be MORE than enough to keep me busy for the next week or so, don't you agree? I'll be linking up today's post with the following linky parties:
Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué
Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Free Motion Mavericks with Muv and Andree