Saturday, May 7, 2022

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming: Linda's Exquisite Traditional Quilts

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of the mothers, grandmothers, sons of mothers, and daughters of mothers out there!  The last few quilts I've shared on the blog have been modern or contemporary in their fabrics and patchwork design, and I love those styles.  But I also adore really precise, well-executed traditional patchwork in timeless reproduction fabrics.  Fellow Charlotte Quilters' Guild member Linda Dassenko excels at traditional patchwork and I was delighted when she brought me two of her masterpieces for quilting.

Linda's Everyday Patchwork Sampler

Linda's 52 x 60 Everyday Patchwork Sampler

After seeing the Baptist Fan design I quilted on Cathy's quilt last year, Linda thought it might look good on her Everyday Patchwork Sampler and I wholeheartedly agreed.  While we often think of edge-to-edge quilting designs as only suitable for modern quilts, the Baptist Fan edge-to-edge design has been a staple of hand quilters for hundreds of years.  Originally, quilters would mark the Baptist Fan design on a quilt as they went along, using a string knotted at regular intervals and a pencil or piece of chalk, like a swing arm compass.  Each knot on the string corresponded with one fan arc.  This resulted in an allover quilting design that was fancier than just quilting along the patchwork seam lines, but still quick and easy enough to execute for utilitarian quilts.  Since the Baptist Fan design has been so popular throughout so much of the United States for hundreds of years, it's an excellent option for machine quilting traditional and reproduction quilt projects.

Ready For Her Close-Up: Look at Linda's Perfect Little Flying Geese Points!

Of course, I did not use knotted string or pencils to quilt the Baptist Fan design on Linda's sampler -- I resized the digital design to complement the scale of Linda's piecing and stitched it out with my computerized Bernina longarm machine.  I used So Fine 50 weight matte thread in color Mushroom (this post contains affiliate links) for the sampler quilt to minimize overstitched areas in the design and to ensure that the texture of the quilting design is what you notice, not the machine stitching.  The batting for this one is Quilters Dream 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend.

When I quilt the Baptist Fan design on quilts that have a more contemporary aesthetic, I usually will center the quilting design on the center block or center seam of the quilt top.  However, I deliberately avoid doing that with traditional and reproduction quilts.  When you see a hand quilted Baptist Fan design on an antique quilt, it's never centered -- that's because hand quilters would mark the design onto their quilts a little bit at a time as they were stitching, starting at a side and working their way towards the center as they stitched.  Sometimes you'll even see a gap near the center of the quilt where the fans don't meet up quite right.  Off-centering the Baptist Fan design on a traditional reproduction quilt gives a more organic and authentic look to the finished quilt and makes the computerized machine quilting less rigid and incongruous.

Here's what Linda's Everyday Patchwork Sampler looked like prior to quilting:

Everyday Patchwork Sampler Prior to Quilting

Linda's Paisley Parade Medallion Quilt

Next up for your quilty viewing pleasure is Linda's 56" x 56" Paisley Medallion quilt.  Although she initially envisioned custom quilting for this one, we ended up choosing an edge-to-edge design because as gorgeous as this is, it wasn't a quilt that was super special to Linda to warrant the higher investment of custom quilting.  As with her sampler quilt, this medallion is pieced as close to perfection as a human quilter could possibly achieve.  Notice how precisely that paisley feather printed border fabric is centered and aligned on all four sides.  

Linda's 56 x 56 Paisley Parade Medallion Quilt

We knew that the quilting wasn't going to show up well on the busy prints in this quilt, and we wanted the patchwork and the gorgeous fabrics to be the stars anyway.  We chose a beautiful backstitched feather curl design called Buttercream Feathers.  This is a VERY slow-stitching design due to all of the backstitching, but the feather designs without backstitching that sew out faster have a more contemporary, less formal vibe that would not be as appropriate for this quilt.

Buttercream Feathers E2E

In contrast to the Baptist Fan design that was thoughtfully NOT centered on the quilt top, I took a lot of time and care in setting up Buttercream Feathers for Linda's medallion quilt, customizing the design to fit the patchwork as closely as possible.  One feather curl is centered in each of the outer border blocks, both vertically and horizontally.

Stitching Buttercream Feathers on Linda's Paisley Parade Quilt

Although the quilting is hard to see when you look at the entire quilt from a distance, I love how those traditional backstitched feathers look, landing on each of the border blocks just like this:

Backstitched Feathers Quilted in So Fine Thread, Color Putty

I used So Fine matte 50 weight thread for this quilt as well, but in color Putty this time since it blended with the fabric prints better.  See how inconspicuous the backstitching is with this thread?  I love using So Fine on traditional quilts like this one.

And here is the bit I am most proud of, because an edge to edge design on the long arm begins stitching at the top of the quilt and you work your way down.  The quilt begins to draw up as you're quilting it, so it's hard to predict exactly where the center block of a medallion is going to end up when you're mapping it all out on the computer ahead of time.  Partly because Linda's quilt was so well-pieced and flat with no "personality problems," partly because the quilt wasn't enormous, partly because I was lucky (but also because I did some planning), I was able to center one repeat of the feather curl right on top of the very center block of the medallion.  

One Feather Curl Motif Centered on the Central Medallion Block

Not sure I could repeat that trick if I had to, but I was delighted to have pulled it off this time!  Although the quilting design isn't super dramatic on the front of the quilt, it looks fabulous on the dusty blue homespun-type backing fabric:

Buttercream Feathers, View From the Back Side

We used Quilters Dream 80/20 with this quilt as well, and my apologies -- I neglected to take a "before" photo before I started quilting this one.

Linda's Charity Churn Dash Cuddle Quilt

This last quilt is one that I didn't even know was Linda's until after I quilted it.  The Charlotte Quilters' Guild we both belong to has robust outreach program supplying handmade quilts to NICU, pediatric, and cancer units at our local hospitals.  Some guild members make donation quilts from start to finish, some just piece the tops for others to quilt, and some just like to put the bindings on.  I try to quilt a few of these each month when I'm caught up with client commitments.

Linda's Churn Dash Cuddle Quilt with Eye Appeal E2E

Linda told me afterwards that she'd started this quilt top in a workshop -- and that she wished she'd kept it after seeing how I quilted it.  ðŸ’“. If she just said that to make me feel good, it totally worked.  I'm sure the family who received this quilt was thrilled to wrap it around their little newborn in the NICU.

Eye Appeal E2E Stitched in Glide Thread, Color Wheat

Even when it's a charity quilt, I always try to choose a design that complements the style of the patchwork and the fabrics in the quilt.  This particular quilt was interesting because it was all churn dash blocks, but some were traditionally pieced, others had "wonky" piecing lines or Drunkard's Path units curving their normally straight corners, and the overall layout was asymmetrical.  Yet the fabric prints were fairly traditional florals and peppermint stripes.  I chose the Eye Appeal quilting design because it's a modern take on a traditional orange peel/pumpkin seed quilting design just like the patchwork is a modern take on a traditional churn dash quilt.  I also love the playfulness of this design and the texture it creates for a baby quilt.  As with most orange peel designs, it's challenging to stitch out because it would be very noticeable (in a bad way) if the rows don't align precisely when you advance the quilt to the next section.  That's another reason I chose Eye Appeal for this quilt -- it would be faster to just run a quick meandering design across these charity quilts, but they are good opportunities to practice designs that require a bit more skill to execute.

...And What Has Rebecca Been Stitching Lately?

Y'all are so lucky that I quilt for other people.  Without client quilts to write about, you'd be looking at blog posts full of the same boring tulip shape that I've been appliquéing over and over and over again, on block after block, with no end in sight...

I Do Not Know How Many I've Finished Or How Many Remain

After a brief experiment with preturning the edges of these tulips, I'm back to old-fashioned needle turn.  It wasn't that much easier to turn the fabric allowances over freezer paper templates in those deep Vs and acutely curved tulip tips.  I might as well just suck it up and focus on one flower at a time.  It's slow-going though because I am SO BORED with this project and I feel like I will never, ever finish it!  We've all been there, haven't we?  

Okay, folks, I've rambled on quite long enough for one blog post!  Linda, thank you so much for choosing me to quilt your beautiful Paisley Parade and Everyday Patchwork Quilts!  I'll be linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties, listed on the left hand sidebar of my web site.  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and I hope you all get more stitching done than I have!


Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, as usual your client's quilts are beautiful, and your quilting makes them shine and adds a lovely texture. Well done once again, especially when the design is tricky! I love your explanations about centering or not the patterns, and all the tips about longarming ;)
C'est toujours un plaisir de te lire, quelle que soit la longueur de l'article !
Your tulips are growing nicely, I found that needle turn appliqué is easier for me too ;)
Thank you for sharing your process, and linking up! said...

The Baptist fan quilting motif was the perfect choice! What a beautiful quilting you added to amazing tops! Keep hanging in there with the applique. . .you will get to the finish line!

Gretchen Weaver said...

The quilts all look lovely. Your skill and talent for long arming brings the quilts to life! Happy stitching!

Sandy said...

As always, your quilting is exquisite -- both in the selection of the motif/design and in the execution!

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

great work on those Baptist Fans. I only did one once and with the 3 roller I was able to start on one side and just mark all the way across. I know when others use a hoop they have to start in the center of the quilt and work out from the center to work any fullness of the quilt out to the edges I guess a lot must mark they quilt in advance - great work

Rebecca Grace said...

That's interesting, Karen. I think the article I found about quilters starting at the sides and working their way in with a hand quilted Baptist Fan was referring to the way it was done with those big, flat quilting frames without rollers that multiple quilters could sit around and work on the same project together. I was trying to find more about the history of that particular quilting pattern and was searching terms like "earliest example Baptist fan quilting." But when I took hand quilting classes from Roxanne McElroy's daughter ("That Perfect Stitch") we were using hoops and I believe we were also instructed to start in the center and work out to the sides. I have seen some really cool hand quilting on some of the vintage quilts that have come my way and would love to know more about how these overall designs were marked and executed in the past, when quilters did not have all of our cool gadgets at their disposal.

Do you know if there's any kind of reference out there for hand quilting designs like what Barbara Brackman did for patchwork and appliqué patterns? I would love to have a reference like that showing which quilting motifs were popular at different times and in different regions.

Barb N said...

Oh those are lovely quilts, and what fun to choose a pattern and quilt away! Congrats on getting the feathers to line up on the medallion quilt. Very pretty. I don't have any relief for your applique process - sorry. How much more do you have to stitch down?

CathieJ said...

I loved seeing all of those beautiful quilts. The patterns you used for quilting definitely complement the quilts. Your appliqued tulip looks pretty. I look forward to seeing the quilt that it will be a part of.

Quilter Kathy said...

I love seeing your hand stitching! I get it that projects become repetitive and we need a few different things to work on so we can stick with it over time!

O'Quilts said...

Yeah Linda, Yeah Rebecca....stunning work xo

Jill said...

All three quilt tops made by Linda are lovely by themselves. The quilting designs you chose for each one are perfect as it adds to their personality. Baptist fan is perfect for the different patchwork blocks and the plain alternates. The fabrics in the paisley are the star and the overall design chosen works. Isn’t that something the baby quilt top was also made by Linda. A cheery baby quilt for a lucky newborn and family. The close up of the needleturn block is appreciated. The pieces have dimension and a natural look. Unfortunately, freezer paper method tends to have a flat look. In my humble opinion, Linda’s two quilts are quilt show worthy. Perhaps Fun with Barb may know more about the Baptist Fan as she has designed and sells a BF stencil. Have a good week!

Pat at Bell Creek Quilts said...

Your quilting looks great on all the quilts! I too like baptist fan on the more traditional quilts! I've been doing a wave quilt pattern on most of my donation quilts as it is quick, easy and doesn't use a lot of thread and surprisingly, it looks good on all types of pieced tops! I am very lucky 'modern, minimalist is 'in' with quilting designs' :)

Vivian said...

Ok, Linda's traditional quilts are beauties after my own heart! Never thought Baptist Fans was considered E2E but see it now. It always works on quilts in this style. Also wouldn't have expected a feather design to be considered E2E, live and learn! I agree with her compliment on the donation quilt, I'd have had a hard time letting that one go too!! Your hand work is like your MODA Sampler work: slow and steady wins the race.