Thursday, January 13, 2022

Whig Rose Applique Progress, Christmas Tumbler Top + a Sizzling Star Quilt Finish

Hello, my friends!  How is your January shaking out so far?  Our Christmas decorations are packed away, my sons are out of my house and back at their respective colleges, and I've been sewing up a storm.  I won't get my hands on the first patterns for my Sarah Fielke BOMs until the LAST day of January, so I've been working on the backlog of client quilts in my queue and moving personal projects along so I'll be ready to kick off an Applique-Palooza on January 31st. Today I have two personal projects to share and one client's quilt to showcase.  I'll be linking up with all the usual suspects (favorite linky parties, listed on my blog sidebar).

FrankenWhiggish Rose Applique

Thanks largely to the Medici the Magnificent series on Netflix, I stitched the last of the leaves on my Whig Rose blocks last night.  Woo-hoo!  

FrankenWhiggish Rose Needleturn Applique In Progress

This is the first time I've had all nine blocks in progress on my design wall and I've gotta say, it's looking really encouraging!  The center block is the only one that's 100% finished, but I had forgotten that I had a second block (bottom left) that was nearly finished except for the stuffed berries near the corner tulips.  

Seeing them all together like this, I am realizing that the work already completed is much greater than the work that still lies ahead.

Reverse Applique Tulips In Progress

In my project box where I've been storing all of the parts of this project, I was delighted to discover a ziplock baggie containing six more tulips that I'd already started.  I remembered that I'd adjusted my methods somewhat for the reverse-applique tulips but was fuzzy on the details.  I must have left these clues for myself deliberately four years ago (?!!) when I stopped working on the blocks one at a time in favor of assembly line style (all stems for all blocks, all petals on all blocks, all leaves etc.).  Thank you, Rebecca from 2018!

The other thing I have to show for myself today is way less exciting, even though it's a finished quilt top:

56 x 72 Christmas Tumbler Quilt Top Completed

This is the second of two throw quilts that I cut from a motley assortment of Christmas novelty print fabrics in December of 2020, the first of which was this disappearing 9-patch quilt that I finished fairly promptly in January of 2021.  It was so nice to have a festive Christmasy quilt to cuddle up with while watching holiday movies, and that motivated me to want to finish the tumbler quilt, too.  All I'd done a year ago was to cut out all of the tumblers using my AccuQuilt 6" Tumbler die (affiliate link), then shoved them into a ziplock bag and put them away for a year to "marinate."  Y'all, I know this sounds nuts to some of you, but although I'm going to enjoy having this quilt to cuddle up with once it's finished, it was SO BORING to put it together!  Once I'd laid the tumblers out on my design wall, I could only work on it in fits and snatches, and the only thing that got me through it was listening to Agatha Christie mysteries on my AirPods.  I also own the AccuQuilt 4" Tumbler die and I like the smaller scale of that one visually, but I'm so glad I used the bigger one for this quilt.  Smaller tumblers means more seams to be sewn, after all.  

[NOTE: If you're reading this today, January 13th 2022, and you've been thinking about adding a tumbler die or any other AccuQuilt GO! dies to your collection, today is a great day to do it because AccuQuilt is running a one-day Buy One, Get One 60% off sale on all of their dies and Qube sets.  Click here to take advantage of that promo.  There's also a 40% off sale on GO! Cutters, dies, and cutting mats that runs through the 19th, and you can get that promo by clicking here.  When you make purchases after clicking affiliate links like these in my posts, it helps to offset the cost of my MailChimp service that sends my blog posts directly to your inbox, and I appreciate your support.  Thank you!]

Note to self here: there lots of different layouts for tumbler quilts.  Staggering the rows the way I did here might SEEM easier because no seams need to be matched up, but in actuality, I think the quilt top would have come together more quickly and with fewer pins had I chosen a layout where I could nest the seams from row to row.  The die cut shapes are so accurate, with the little corner dog ears already trimmed away, that there's really no reason to worry about seams not matching.  So, while I like the zigzag/ricrac effect of this layout, I'll probably choose a different layout the next time I make a quilt with tumblers.

After joining the rows together, I trimmed the right and left jagged edges straight, staystitched the top 1/8" from the raw edges on all four sides, and found a deep green holly print fabric for backing in my stash that I seamed and pressed so it's ready to go when I finally get around to quilting this one.  Then the quilt top and backing got bagged and put in the Quilt Purgatory Closet behind all of my client's quilts that are waiting patiently to enter Quilting Heaven!

Client Project: Hoffman's Crystal Prism

One of my favorite recent finishes is this beautiful Crystal Prism that I quilted for my client Mildred.  Isn't it gorgeous?  (THANK YOU, Rita and Linda for helping me to identify the pattern!).    This was a laser-cut kit available a few years ago, designed by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero for Hoffman  Fabrics.  I tried to find a link to include but it looks like the kits are sold out everywhere and the pattern is not available, either.

Mildred's 90 x 90 Crystal Prism Quilt

Originally Mildred thought this quilt "needed" custom quilting, but we ended up choosing an edge-to-edge design instead for a number of reasons.  

Crystal Prism with Echo Swirls E2E and 50 wt So Fine Thread in Silver

Quilting for clients is a lot like being a celebrity stylist.  Um, WHAT?!  Hear me out.  No matter how gorgeous your Hollywood superstar client may be, everyone has their best features that you want to accentuate and a flaw or two that you want to camouflage so they can hit the red carpet (or the quilt show!) looking their very best.  If you want your client to dominate the headlines the day after the awards ceremony, you want to dress them in something that plays up their best features, disguises their minor imperfections, AND it has to be something a little bit exciting and unexpected, different from what every other actress was wearing.  See what I mean?

I am sharing this quilt with you for two reasons: First, because I think it's gorgeous -- Mildred did a fantastic job and I'm really pleased with how the quilting turned out.  But I also wanted to share this one with you because I have had so many clients apologize to me when they drop off their quilt top, saying things like "I'm sorry my work isn't perfect like your other clients' quilts that I see on your blog."  Oh my gosh -- NO ONE's quilt is perfect, not one single quilter ever, not mine, not my clients, not anyone else's clients.  Seriously!  This quilt is such a great example of that.  

Mildred is an experienced, highly skilled quilter who is comfortable taking on complex projects.  Her workmanship is of the highest caliber, but she's still a human being like the rest of us, and so are the pattern designers who write the instructions.  When I was searching online for someone who still had this kit available for sale, I ran across a thread in the Missouri Star forum where a number of quilters were reporting that they had received "miscut pieces" in their Crystal Prism kits -- infuriating since the whole reason you'd buy a laser-cut kit is so the pieces would fit together perfectly!  Maybe Mildred had some of those badly cut pieces in her kit, too.  For whatever reason, she had some difficulty getting the pieces of this quilt to fit together in various places that resulted in some minor ripples and fullness in certain parts of her quilt top.  

Minor Celebrity Flaws: Fullness Ripples at the Star Points Before Quilting

Had I custom quilted this with SID (stitch in the ditch), that would likely have accentuated and drawn attention to those problem spots.  And then, subjectively, I felt like custom quilting was just too obvious and expected for a giant star quilt (like sending Scarlet Johansson to the red carpet wearing the same dress as three other actresses).

So here's how I "styled" Mildred's Crystal Prism quilt with my quilting:

  1. Quilters Dream Wool batting.  The higher loft of wool batting really helps to disguise any areas of a quilt that have unwanted fullness.
  2. Patricia Ritter's Echo Swirls edge-to-edge quilting design.  This quilting design was perfect for two reasons: the dynamic pattern of dense, spiked swirls adds even more energy and movement to the dramatic patchwork design.  But those dense swirls also worked functionally to suck up fullness issues to where they literally disappeared and even I can't tell where the problem spots were now that it's all been quilted out!  Swirls are like the Spanx of quilting.  ðŸ˜„
  3. So Fine 50 weight quilting thread in color Silver.  The danger in quilting an edge-to-edge design over a quilt top like this one would be for the quilting design to detract from the patchwork, like thread scribbles going back and forth over the star.  That would have been especially true if I'd followed the conventional wisdom of matching the quilting thread to the color of the background fabric (black, in this case).  Instead, I chose a thread that would stand out against the plain black background while blending into the vivid batiks and solid white fabrics in the star.  So Fine is a thinner, lighter weight and less conspicuous thread that is great for blending and disappearing when you want to see quilting texture rather than quilting stitches, but it's still strong enough to power through the many thick seam allowances in this quilt top without breaking.

With the quilting completed, the quilt lays flat and square and the piecing appears to be perfect. The patchwork star and glorious batiks are the center of attention, and the quilting design is just like that perfect gown that makes an already-beautiful (but imperfect) movie star look like a million bucks.  

Ta-Done!  Echo Swirls E2E in So Fine Silver Thread with Dream Wool Batting

Any of you reading this who are feeling discouraged about something they've been working on that isn't coming together perfectly, today's post was written for YOU.  We all want to put our best foot/best photos forward on social media, but please remember that perfection is an illusion that we can strive for but never achieve.  When your quilt is finally finished, you will have trouble finding those points that don't quite match or whatever ripple or flaw looks enormous to you when you're in the thick of making it.  Whether you send your quilt to me, to another longarmer, or quilt it yourself, it's going to be awesome and you're going to look at it and think "WOW, I can't believe I actually made that!!"

Alright, folks, that's all you get from me today because the quilts are calling me from my studio!  In the next week I'm planning to move forward with more of those reverse appliqued tulips for my Whig Rose quilt and perhaps make another block or two for my Retro '80s sampler quilt.  Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Stitching, everyone! 

28 comments: said...

Your Whig Rose quilt is fabulous. Isn't it amazing how projects progress when you spend time working on them? I keep finding that amazing on my projects! LOL Kudos to get your tumbler project in the queue for quilting! It is a fun pattern That Sizzling Star does sizzle. Your choice of an all over swirly design worked well!

O'Quilts said...

All stunning...great job Rebecca!!

Pamela Arbour said...

Your FrankenWhiggin quilt is outstanding! You don't have much more to do unless you have borders with applique. Your 2021 finish on disappearing 9-patch was perfect without borders. I like your tumbler block as well. I will have to check out my leftover Christmas fabric to see if my scraps are large enough to do those. Thanks for sharing in detail.

Mary said...

Another great and informative post by you, and I almost spit my coffee out laughing when I read “Swirls are like the Spanx of quilting.” I had to write it down in my Quilter’s Planner! I will definitely remember that when I need a little extra smoothing done with a future project. Your Whig Rose blocks are looking great, and it’s wonderful when we find out that we are further along in a project than we had thought. I also enjoyed you thanking Rebecca from 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing your 2022 appliqué sew-along projects. I took an online appliqué class from Sarah during QuiltCon Together that was a lot of fun. She is a great teacher. Have a great day, Mary.

piecefulwendy said...

Your Whig Rose blocks are beautiful. Mildred's quilt is absolutely stunning. Nice work, both of you!

Sandy said...

That Whig Rose quilt is absolutely gorgeous, even while not quite finished! I really liked your explanation of why you chose to do the all-over design on your client quilt (stunning!); it makes perfect sense. I just wish I had the "eye" to be able to see how to quilt my pieces; I'm currently in my all-too-familiar state of waffling over how I want to quilt my current piece. LOL!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Wow, that Kaleidoscope quilt is stunning! Great job quilting, love the stained glass look that Mildred achieved.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Love that 2018 Rebecca left such great clues for this years rebecca!! she was so thoughtful to you ;-)
I like the tumblers!!! I think they are so fun to look at!!

Barb said...

beautiful opening quilt! love the pieced backgrounds.
So much great inspiration!

Darlene S said...

Beautiful quilts. I love the Echo Swirls E2E on the Kaleidoscope quilt. Great choice, just draws the eye in to admire and enjoy.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Beautiful Crystal Prism!!! It's true that often times, only the quilter knows for sure!!! And we're not telling! Great progress on your Whig Rose, too!!!

grammajudyb said...

A variety of quilts to peruse here. It is nice when you realize you are closer to the finish line than you thought. I made a tumbler quilt a few years ago, 2.5" ones. It was an "exercise in perseverance". I didn't think I'd ever have enough to make a lap sized cuddle quilt. But I finally did! I like the staggered setting of yours.

Vivian said...

That IS a beautiful feeling to have more behind you than in front of you! It shuts up the little kid in your head that constantly asks "Are we there yet?". Those applique blocks are stunning! And you're doing needle-turn?!? You go girl! The quilting on Mildred's quilt is gorgeous and I would not have expected the choice of the Silver thread but it really works. We are all discouraged when we are on top of our work but when we step back or wrap the quilt around us or hang it on the wall, we then appreciate the beauty of creation in all its forms!

Gwyned Trefethen said...

You are a quilt stylist, Rebecca. The swirls of varying sizes and the silver So Fine thread are not just excellent choices, they are proof positive of your extraordinary skill to take a beautiful quilt and elevate it.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

I love your roses! Et quelle bonne idée de garder quelques tulipes inachevées pour te rappeler le process !
Bravo pour les quilts terminés ;)
You did a great job choosing the proper quilting design for this gorgeous quilt.
Thank you for linking up this week with TGIFF ;)

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Your applique is breathtakingly beautiful. You are like a master with it already. Wonderful and interesting projects. I love following you!

Carol Andrews said...

Rebecca your WhigRises are coming along. It is going to be an incredible finish.
The Kaleidoscope quilt is Crystal Prism, a kit by Hoffman

Marie said...

So happy to see FrankenWhiggish moving along- this one is going to be a beauty. And what's not to love about discovering that you are further along than you remembered?

Sylvia@Treadlestitches said...

Thanks for explaining how you work with your clients' quilts! And I love seeing the Whig Rose blocks, they are absolutely amazing. The Christmas tumbler is so cute, and might inspire me to make yet another tumbler quilt. Good luck with Applique-Palooza!

Janis Barnett said...

Your Frankin Whiggish Rose quilt is beautiful, can't wait to see it all finished.

Nann said...

I came to see the Whig Roses and stayed through the Christmas Tumblers and then to Crystal. First, I love the varied backgrounds for the applique that add so much interest. Second, "motley assortment" of Christmas fabrics is what I have. (I tidied up that part of the stash last week and thought again that I ought to reduce that collection. Thanks for the design idea.) Third, thank you for walking through your quilting decisions for the magnificent Crystal Prisms.

Sharon Kwilter said...

Wow, I love your applique blocks. I am going to have to go look for that pattern and put it in my someday queue.

Bonnie said...

It is gorgeous both the piecing, the quilting and the end product. Wonderful job. But oh this comment: "Swirls are like the Spanx of quilting." I love it. It sure put a smile on my face this morning. Thank you.

The Joyful Quilter said...

LOVE your festive holiday Tumbler top, Rebecca, and those closing remarks about perfection on social media!! Mildred's quilt turned out beautifully. Any ripples just melted into your quilting stitches!

Quilter Kathy said...

Your applique blocks are just stunning!
Thanks for linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Your client's quilt is a star, and your quilting as always compliments it perfectly. Congratulations on getting the tumbler quilt together. Nothing harder than sewing something you find boring! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

dq said...

OH wow! Once again your machine quilting is astounding!! The pattern gives it so much beautiful movement!

Your applique' blocks are phenomenal! I love that each quarter of the square is a different fabric - totally my style!!!

Cute Christmas quilt as well. You have definitely been busy!

Jay said...

I had to laugh when I read your comment about how boring the piecing of tumblers is. I agree! I've tried to soldier through the one I started 3 years ago, but just can't do it! I realized early on that lack of variety in the fabrics I have already cut out is part of the problem, but by far not the whole of it. At some point, I'll cut more tumblers and find a long, engrossing book on audible or a good TV series to binge on Netflix. Until then, all those tumblers will be "marinating" in their box. It could be awhile.