Sunday, December 19, 2021

Who Wore It Best, Panto Edition: Snow Crystals Quilting Design on Two Holiday Gift Projects

Can you believe Christmas is only SIX days away?? Today I'm sharing two small Christmas quilts made by two of my favorite clients, Julie and Olivia. Even though I have lots of different snowflake designs in my library, we happened to chose the same Anne Bright Snow Crystals B2B design for both of these projects. However, I tailored the scale of the design, thread colors, and batting choices very differently to complement each project so they are interesting to compare side by side!

Those Trees Throw Quilt: Metallic Thread & Wool Batting

57 x 69 Those Trees Throw Quilt, pattern by Zen Chic Moda available here

For Julie's Those Trees 57" x 69" throw quilt (pattern by Brigitte Heitland for Moda Zen Chic is available here on Etsy, affiliate link), we used fluffy Quilter's Dream Wool batting for its lightweight warmth and fabulous loft. One of the things I really like about this Snow Crystals B2B quilting design is that there's a mix of densely quilted snowflakes scattered throughout the more open swirls, and that variation of density was accentuated by the higher batting loft to create a sensation of depth to this "forest" design.  

Snow Crystals B2B Sized at 14 inches, Metallic Silver Thread, Wool Batting

It really feels like the Earth is covered in a blanket of fluffy white snow. We used Superior Threads' Metallic Silver thread to add that extra element of sparkle and holiday pizazz (tips for quilting with metallic thread: longer stitch length allows metallic thread to reflect light for maximum sparkle, avoid designs with backstitching, and SLOW DOWN!).  

Just Can't Capture the Sparkle of Metallic In Photos!

I paired the metallic needle thread with a 60 weight Glide thread in White in the bobbin. The default row height of 14" was the perfect scale for this quilt without making the stitches too tiny for the metallic thread to handle on the detailed snowflakes. Metallic thread is really hard to capture in photographs but it looks amazing in real life! For those of you who love Before & After photos, here's a picture of Julie's quilt top prior to quilting:

Those Trees Quilt Top, Before Quilting

I love quilting for Julie because her modern minimalist aesthetic means lots of wide open spaces to show off special quilting designs!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Advent Calendar Panel

The second project using this same Snow Crystals B2B quilting design is a Dr. Seuss "How the Grinch Stole Christmas panel from Robert Kaufman Fabrics (still available from a few Etsy sellers here, affiliate link) that I quilted for my client Olivia.  

25 x 35 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Panel, available here

This panel is designed as an Advent calendar project with ornaments that Olivia made separately (not shown) and it's a 24" x 35" wall hanging size. We used a cotton quilt batting with a lot less loft than the Dream Wool batting I used in Julie'e quilt, Glide thread in White instead of silver metallic, and I sized the design quite a bit smaller, much denser. With the same quilting pattern sized at a row height of 8" instead of 14", there's nearly twice as much quilting per square inch.  This is a great example of how the exact same quilting design can result in a loosely quilted, fluffy snuggle quilt or a stiffer, flatter wall hanging depending on how I set the design up in the computer and which batting is selected for the quilt.

White Glide Thread, Design Scaled to Match Printed Snowflake Sizes

I love the way that Anne Bright's drawing style for this panto gives off a mid-century modern vibe that is so similar to Theodore Geisel's iconic illustration style. I wanted the snowflakes swirling around the Christmas tree to look like part of the panel illustration, not like something separate slapped on top of it. So the denser quilting scale and flatter batting both work to give this piece the structure it needs as a wall hanging/Advent calendar versus a soft and fluffy throw quilt, and the smaller scale was also necessary to match the scale of the fabric print.

Panel Loaded Sideways So Rows Quilt Vertically

One other, subtle difference: For the Dr. Seuss panel, I chose to load the quilt sideways so the rows of quilting run vertically on the panel rather than horizontally. Having the swirling snowflakes coming down from the "sky" rather than "blowing" sideways across the design felt more appropriate to me.  Other reasons that I sometimes will load a quilt sideways on my frame would be the direction of piecing seams in the client's backing fabric, or to speed up the quilting process by having wider rows and fewer advances, but only if the quilting design is nondirectional.

Rear View: Snow Crystals B2B Looks Great on Solid Green Backing Fabric

Olivia chose a solid green backing fabric that shows off the quilting beautifully, reminding me that this would be a great design to just quilt on a few yards of red, green, or deep blue fabric for a set of holiday placemats! You know, longarm quilters can quilt plain fabric yardage for you, not just pieced quilt tops. After you get the quilted yardage back, you can cut it up and make anything from table linens to tree skirts and stockings, or a quilted jacket or vest or handbag... Your longarmer will be able to recommend the best batting and thread choices based on your intended use for the quilted yardage.

What Else is New With Rebecca?

Both of my sons are home from college and Christmas preparations are in full swing! The house is filled with the smell of cookies as my husband tries to bake cookies faster than teenagers can eat them (he is losing this battle, and I'm going to have to hide some if I want there to be cookies on Christmas Day). I *think* I'm done shopping and wrapping. I'm tempted to run out for a few more little things but that's probably only because I've completely forgotten about the gifts I bought and wrapped at the beginning of November.  

And meanwhile, I'm still working through the backlog of clients' quilts in my queue, trying to get caught up! I'll be making some changes in 2022 to ensure a better balance between personal and business quilting: I will no longer accept vintage quilts for repair and I no longer offer binding services. I will be limiting the number of quilts in my queue to a number that doesn't make me hyperventilate when I see them all waiting for me in the closet, too! These changes will be better for me, so I don't have to feel guilty about working on my own projects when so many clients' quilts are waiting. It will help me to better serve my clients as well -- I won't be scheduling jobs so far out, and that means I can be a lot more accurate when predicting when your quilts will be ready to go home again.  

Since I'm already booked through the end of February 2022, I'm only accepting new quilts from my existing clients right now. I'll begin accepting quilts from new clients again once I'm caught up. The best way to find out when I am ready to schedule quilts for new clients again is to subscribe to my email newsletter and/or follow my social media accounts.

Finally, thank you to everyone who commented and responded to my previous post about the Sarah Fielke BOM projects. I'm still in the process of responding to all of you individually! The advice I got was all over the place with no clear winner and I still haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm leaning towards signing up for all three projects and making a Frankenstein version that combines my favorite elements from each quilt. Stay tuned! I'll be linking today's post with my favorite linky parties (see links in my blog sidebar).

This is probably my last post before Christmas. Wishing all of you a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday season with your loved ones, with plenty of time for stitching!


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I think what you say about business/personal quilts make so much sense - I was wondering how you would ever be able to do your own quilts - one does need to draw a line in the sand and then stick with it so you will be happy and it won't just become work. I think it is different for those that only want to quilt - but you like to construct as well and that is important to you for your creativity
Merry Christmas - and yes better hide some of those cookies - I stick the in the freezer under some other things so they aren't seen

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Your explanation of how you picked the size and motif for the quilting was really interesting, thank you. Have a happy holiday season.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

An interesting post, I did enjoy reading about how you decide on the quilting. Do some of your customers come to you with plans already or is it always a collaborative decision? And, I agree with your business/personal balance comments. I had a small patchwork shop for 3 yrs with another person, we never drew a wage, but worked hours & hours in the shop, late nights, weekends, sending out regular newsletters {this was before blogging days, etc.}, attending as many quilt shows as possible. And... I fell totally out of love with quilting along the way! In fact after we closed down the business, I went back nursing and didn't sew for over 10yrs! Stay safe and happy holidays.

Bonnie said...

Interesting to see these two quilts together. It's a great design. Thanks for sharing your thinking on the whole choosing a pattern, size and thread and batting. I suspect your design background really helps with this business. You definitely need to consider your personal quilting time. There is only so much time available and some of it you should be able to play too. Hope you can catch up soon... but also do a little bit of personal sewing too as you get all caught up.

Sandy said...

It's really amazing how different -- even in photos -- the two quilts look, just because of the different scale you used! I think you're wise to limit how many quilts you take in so that you can leave time for yourself, your own projects, and just to breathe normally. Best of luck, and Merry Christmas to you and your family. :)

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

Beautiful Rebecca! I love the metallic thread with the first one, and how you turned the panel quilt in the second. I often turn quilts this size, but mostly to save time! Wishing you and your family a joyous and Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Great quilts! Have a wonderful time with your family this week. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

piecefulwendy said...

I hope you and your family have a lovely, joyous Christmas and New Year's, Rebecca. Both quilts are fantastic, by the way!

Rebecca said...

Its pretty bad when a quilting panto has you wondering which quilt you can make to use that lovely pattern!!!
Love the movement and scale and how you used it on 2 such different quilts!!!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Love seeing the snowflake panto on both quilts and how you changed them up for the end use, Rebecca!!! Good thinking on your business/personal quilting schedule. Merry Christmas to you and your crew!!!

Darlene S said...

What beautiful and fun quilts so perfectly quilted. Your quilting just makes these quilts sparkle. Gorgeous. I'm glad your sons are home for Christmas. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas. And don't run out of cookies!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Beautiful quilts!
Ton quilting est magnifique, quels beaux motifs ! Légers comme la neige, on dirait des flocons qui tourbillonnent dans le vent.
Joyeuses fêtes en famille !

Peacemeal said...

Flipping the coin on fav use of this panto - not fair - BOTH ARE FABULOUS. I've put it on my favs list for my next quilt. I know what you mean about binding - my quilter never has done that but means I have to do it for me AND all the people I recommend who somehow feel I am responsible. Sigh. LOL. Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen said...

I love seeing the panto on two different quilts. With your expert eye, you made it work differently but perfectly for each quit. I do love the way a snowflake landed on the Grinch's hand. Good luck keeping the boys fed. I grew up in house with 4 brothers; the struggle is real. Good for you for figuring out how to manage things better for you personally and professionally. It seems to be the thing a lot of long arm quilters struggle with. I don't think waiting for your robotics on the new Bernina helped you, but starting off the new year right, will make it a big success. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

The Joyful Quilter said...

That panto looks great on both quilts! Best of luck on finding a better balance between personal and client quilting, Rebecca. The changes you've implemented are sure to help!

dq said...

The quilt pattern you chose for the tree quilt is spectacular!! You are just so good!