Friday, July 16, 2021

The Pieced Whole Cloth Quilt, Part I: Q-Matic Loves Karlee Porter Designs (and So Do I)!

OH MY GOSH, you guys -- I have died and floated off to quilting heaven!!!  Look what I started quilting yesterday for one of my clients:

Karlee Porter's Bailee E2E Design, Quilted on Bernina Q24 with Q-Matic

This quilt is a gift for my client's 80-something-year-old mother, who says she "always wanted a white-on-white quilt but she could never have one because she had kids and pets."  So my client pieced a very plain quilt top from large squares of assorted white and ivory solids and textures, and told me that "the quilting needs to be the star."  Now, in case you are wondering what is the best way to become my Best Friend Forever, it is DEFINITELY by telling me that my quilting gets to be the star of your quilt!  💕

Setting the Design Up in Q-Matic

When I purchased this particular design for my collection, I didn't think I'd ever actually stitch it out as an edge-to-edge design like this.  I was thinking I'd stitch single repeats of the design motif on plain alternate blocks for custom quilting.  The level of detail in this design is insane and it would be completely lost on a print fabric or busy piecing.  But I think it's perfect for a fancy white quilt that you would want to keep away from pets and children, don't you?  

Entire 56 x 71 Quilt View on Q-Matic Screen

Other Bernina Q-Matic owners might notice that I only have the first two design repeats of that row selected and queued for stitching in that photo above.  That's because this is a vastly more complex design than a typical pantograph, and when I tried to stitch an entire row of four repeats at once, the Q-Matic got hung up in processing with the little circle spinning and spinning indefinitely.  Easy fix -- I canceled out, ungrouped the pattern, and then queued up two repeats at a time.  Then Q-Matic was able to process and get ready to stitch in just a few seconds, like it would with any other design.  When you do it this way, the machine will stop after each pattern repeat, and you just press the button to start the next one.  Not a big deal at all, and I can also see where this method would be handy for any panto design that needed to align really precisely from one row to the next and you were having shifting/distortion from the stitches drawing up the actual quilt -- stitching each repeat individually, you could use Markers in Q-Matic to slightly stretch or shrink each pattern repeat within your pantograph row to align perfectly with the points that need to match on the previously stitched row.  I'll be experimenting with that in the future, for sure.

HOWEVER...  This design is taking an absolute eternity to stitch out.  Thank the Lord, the quilt is only 56" x 71" and not a King size!  Each row of this design is taking approximately two hours to stitch out, and the entire stitching time (not counting the time it took to load the quilt, set up the design, advancing the quilt and basting the sides between each row) will be around sixteen hours.  It's taking so long because the design is both very detailed and complex (the machine slows way down to precisely stitch the intricate designs inside the petal shapes, for instance) and it is also very dense stitching.  I'm burning through about 230 yards of bobbin thread alone (460 yards total, counting needle and bobbin thread together) every row or row and a half, and it takes a long time to put that many stitches in a quilt.  You might be wondering whether that's going to make this quilt stiff, but I doubt it.  My client's mother lives in Texas so we're using Quilter's Dream Bamboo batting, a blend of bamboo, silk, cotton and Tencel fibers that is much softer than any other batting I know of, and I'm also using 60 weight Glide thread in my bobbin with my 40 weight Glide top thread to further reduce the tendency of a heavily quilted quilt to stiffen up.  I am going to need to order more white thread when I finish this quilt.

One Last Look!

Zoom in on that picture so you can OOH and AAH over the stitch quality.  The stitches look just as amazing on the back side.  I am so, SO happy with this machine!  Of course, it's not MY machine, because MY Q-Matic computer robotics is still backordered because of the microchip shortage affecting the Dell touch-screen computer that runs the whole shebang.  So I've moved into my Bernina dealer's shop temporarily and I'm using the demo Q24+Q-Matic to quilt any computerized quilting in my queue that will fit on their 8' Small size frame (about 71" max on the shorter side of a quilt top).  The Queen size quilts in my queue are waiting patiently for me to get the Q-Matic installed on my own Q24 in my home studio, where I have the 13' Large frame to accommodate anything up to 120".  And so, even though I had planned to show you how that vintage repair quilt turned out, it's going to have to wait for another blog post on another day.  I need to get over to the Bernina store and get back to quilting.  I'm used to working on quilts at whatever hour of the day or night suits my fancy in my home studio, but my dealer's store is only open from 10-6 PM!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre


UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland 


Jenny said...

Wow! Your quilting really is the star, it looks gorgeous. said...

Holy molies. . .those are absolutely beautiful stitches!!!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, what an amazing quilt. I can't even imagine doing something like that by FMQ! It's going to be stunning. Take care.

Gretchen Weaver said...

The quilting is beautiful, the mother will be so thrilled! What a wonderful gift! Does she know about it or will her daughter just surprise her? The variety of neutrals in the background will look great. What do you do while the machine is stitching away? Do you have to watch it every moment or can you sew something while it's going? Happy stitching!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Wow, that is so gorgeous!

Gwyned Trefethen said...

Can you hear my exclamations of delight. What a lovely gift, lovingly enhanced for someone who always longed for a white on white quilt.

Sandy said...

Exquisite -- just exquisite, Rebecca Grace! I'm drooling ...

Vicki in MN said...

It's a beauty!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Thats really cool that now that she doesn't have pets and kids all over she can have the quilt of her dreams

Preeti said...

Make up your mind woman. Is it pieced or is it wholecloth? Never mind that. Your quilting is exquisite. I just noticed that Julie of GA sent her Positivity top to you for quilting love. I am sure it will be beautiful. Big Hugs.

The Joyful Quilter said...

SEW nice of them to let you use their machine while you wait for your computer system, Rebecca!!

Nancy said...

She has no idea ! Im flying to Dallas in a day and surprising her with it.

Nancy said...

I picked this quilt up today and these photos don't do it justice
It is insane beautiful ! Thank you Rebecca and I can't wait to give it to my mom