Sunday, January 23, 2022

Wild Animal Kingdom, Quilters' Edition: A Wolf, a Lion, and a Realignment Tip for Tricky Pantos

Good morning, friends!  I'm so excited that I can finally share this incredible Wolf Abstractions quilt with you, pieced by my client Mary who blogs at Quilting Is In My Blood.  Isn't this amazing?!  Mary made this quilt as a surprise 50th birthday gift for a dear friend.

60 x 65 Wolf Abstractions, pattern by Violet Craft available here on Etsy

Mary used the Wolf Abstractions foundation paper piecing pattern designed by Violet Craft to piece this stunning quilt.  You can find the pattern on Etsy here (affiliate links).  I suggested 40 weight Omni matte polyester thread in Cream so the thread would blend into the fabrics in the wolf's face and contrast softly with the dark gray background fabric.  The batting is Quilters Dream 80/20 and the quilting design is Sound Wave by Jessica Schick.

I suggested the Sound Wave design because already I'd seen it quilted on a blue version of this exact same Wolf Abstractions quilt on the Urban Elementz web site where I purchased the quilting design:

Sound Waves on Another Wolf Abstractions Quilt, Photo by Urban Elementz

On the blue version that someone else quilted for the Urban Elementz photo, I loved how the Sound Wave design looked on this quilt.  But when I set the design up in my computer for Mary's quilt, I scaled and positioned the design deliberately so that the deeply curved lines would follow the contours of the wolf's face, making him appear more three-dimensional.  I love how the quilting lines landed to shape his muzzle, jowls, ears, and even the contours of his eye sockets!

Here's a "before" shot of Mary's completed quilt top:

Mary's Wolf Abstractions Top, Before Quilting

And here's how it looked when I pulled it off the frame:

60 x 65 Wolf Abstractions Quilted with Sound Waves Design

So, for those of you reading this who might be new longarm quilters, I thought I'd share a quick tip for an easy way to realign an edge to edge design like this one that is all curves and has no obvious realignment point.  For the rest of you, let me explain -- When you're long arm quilting with a computer, it's not as automatic as you might think because the computer is like a blind assistant who can't actually see the quilt it's working on.  You set up the design in the computer and it sews out as many rows of the designs that it can reach between the bars of the quilting frame, but then it stops so you can advance the quilt (rolling the already quilted part up and pulling the next unquilted section into the reach of the machine).  

After Every 18 Inches or So, I Have to Advance and Realign the Quilt on the Computer

Once you've moved the quilt on the frame, the computer has NO idea where the previously stitched lines are on the quilt because the computer can't see!  Before you start the machine sewing again, you have to move the needle to a specific, identifiable point on the last line of quilting that was stitched, and then click that exact point on the computer screen in order to get the new stitching spaced properly with the previously stitched portion.  Realignment is like when you walk into an unfamiliar shopping mall and you find that map that says "YOU ARE HERE," except that your quilt is the shopping mall and your computer is the one needing to figure out how to get to Nordstrom.  It's usually best to select a sharp point or intersection of stitching somewhere near the center of the quilt for realignment, but a design like Sound Waves doesn't have any points at all.

Using Painters Tape & Q-Matic Markers to Realign an E2E Design Without Points

When I've quilted as much of the pantograph design that fits in my available workspace on the frame, but BEFORE advancing the quilt to a new section, I stick a little piece of blue painter's tape down onto the surface of the quilt.  Here, I've placed the tape in the exact center of Mary's quilt, at the top of the last curved line of stitching.  I moved my hopping foot directly over the piece of tape, placed a Marker in Q-Matic corresponding with the position of the sewhead, and then used the single stitch function to pierce a hole in the painter's tape.  

Realigning to a Previously Placed Marker on a Curved Stitching Line

Now there was a specific point on my actual quilt on the frame (the hole in the painter's tape) and a specific point in the virtual quilt on the computer (the Marker I'd placed on the screen when my machine needle was directly over the needle hole on the quilt).  After advancing the quilt on my frame, I just moved my needle back over that piece of tape with my red laser dot landing precisely over the needle hole, and realigned the computer to the corresponding marker on the screen.

Realigning to the Hole in the Painter's Tape

In the first example, I've placed my painter's tape and created a marker in a point that is on the stitching line, but you can just as easily realign to a marker placed between stitching lines as shown below:

The important thing is that you place the Marker on the computer screen and sink your needle through the painter's tape while your sewhead is in the exact same position.

So, there you go -- I'm a day late and a dollar short, but if Kathleen's Tips & Tutorials on the 22nd linky party is still open, I'll link this post up there!

The second client's quilt I'm sharing with you today also features "wildlife."  My client Olivia pieced this sweet machine appliquéd baby quilt using the Zoey's Zoo pattern from Sassafras Lane Designs, available on Etsy here (affiliate link).

40 x 54 Zoey's Zoo Lion Quilt, pattern by Sassafras Lane available here on Etsy

The Zoey's Zoo pattern my client used contains four different baby quilt patterns, the Lion shown here as well as a Fox, a Penguin, and a Bear.  If you're interested in making this quilt and your local quilt shop doesn't carry the pattern, you can find it on Etsy here (affiliate link).

We chose the Ba-Da-Bing E2E design for Olivia's lion because we loved the playful vibe and the way that the angular shapes in the quilting design echoed the rectangular appliqué shapes of the lion's mane.

Ba-Da-Bing E2E in Glide Buttercup Thread, Quilters Dream Cotton Batting

For Olivia's baby quilt, I chose Glide trilobal polyester thread because its sheen matches the thread Olivia used for her satin stitched applique.  The color I selected is Buttercup, chosen because it blends into the lion fabrics but stands out subtly against the background fabrics.

Any of the Points Marked in Red Would Work Well for Realignment

Circling back to our discussion about realigning computerized quilting designs -- Ba-Da-Bing is a much easier pantograph to realign properly when you advance the quilt because it has nice, sharp points in the quilting design that you can use as reference points for realignment.  Much more beginner-friendly for those who are new to computerized quilting!

Here's a Before Quilting shot of Olivia's lion, for those of you who enjoy comparing the Befores and Afters:

Olivia's Lion, Before Quilting

It's such a cute pattern to begin with, but I think the quilting design makes it even better.  Not that I'm biased or anything...  😎

Olivia's Lion, Quilted with Ba-Da-Bing E2E

I'm afraid I have ZERO personal quilting progress to share today, as I've been trying to power through as many client's quilts as possible.  My Sarah Fielke Block of the Month patterns for January should be available for me to download in about a week, and I want to be able to dive in as soon as I get my hands on them!  I'm linking up today's post with all of my favorite linky parties, listed in my blog sidebar.  Thanks for checking in with me and have a great week!


Bren Holmes said...

Rebecca, you are magic at selecting just the right design and thread to showcase each quilt. Every single one is amazing.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Nice job on those client quilts, Rebecca! No computer, but same basic premise for panto realignment on my "old school" longarm. :o))

Sandy said...

Even though both of these quilts are wild-animal themed, they're so different and both gorgeous. I love the surprised look on the lion's face and the penetrating eyes on the wolf. Even though I don't have a longarm and do all of my quilting on my domestic machine, I found your placement tip very interesting. Someday I may do computerized (embroidered) quilting, and it seems to me that your tip could be helpful.

Karin said...

Oh, that’s stunning 🤩 Love the quilting design you chose.

Gretchen Weaver said...

The quilt tops were fun but your quilting just turned them into masterpieces, great job! Happy stitching!

Anne-Marie said...

Ba Da Bing is perfect on the baby quilt!

piecefulwendy said...

Both quilts are fantastic - so fun to see Mary's! I'm sure she loves it. Thanks for sharing your tip on the E2E. I'm going to forward your post to a friend who might find it helpful. said...

Love the contours in the wolf. He does look three dimensional and the second client quilt is totally cute! You are right on about realigning the quilting pattern after advancing the quilt. Pointy quilting patterns are easier than smooth lines! I've found I need to pay close attention to ensure the point I chose is the same one that I'm aligning when it comes to looking at it on the computer screen! Technology!!!

Mary said...

Rebecca did an outstanding job on my Wolf quilt for my friend, Laura. I am amazed at all the thought and problem-solving that transpired to create the best possible quilting outcome. I will definitely be sending more quilts to Rebecca!

Rebecca said...

Thank you sooooooo much for posting the pattern name when you have the information!!

Kathleen said...

Wonderful hints for moving that longarm. I do something similar but I like the tape idea. I am so glad you did this and linked up to #TTot22, which is open until the end of the month. Thanks for joining in on the party!

Darlene S said...

Both are absolutely stunning quilts, but the FMQ you added to each is perfect and just makes them pop. That wave pattern must be a real challenge to match for edge to edge quilting, but it really makes this quilt spectacular. Gorgeous quilts and quilting.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Oh mais que c'est beau ! J'adore les vagues sur le loup, et ce quilt pour bébé est adorable !
Well done!
Thank you for sharing these beauties, and linking up ;)

Preeti said...

Oh Rebecca, how do you pick quilting design for such an extraordinary flimsy. Scared, excited or just in panic mode - what if something goes haywire. YIKES. In the end, lovely work as usual. I miss you. Hope we can chat sometime soon. Big hugs.