Saturday, July 2, 2022

It's Christmas In July! 9 Years In the Making, My Jingle Quilt is Finally On the Frame

You guys -- NINE years after starting my very first appliqué project, and THREE years after completing the quilt top, Jingle is FINALLY on my frame for custom quilting!  WOO-HOO!!!

Jingle Is On the Frame!  This Is Happening!!!

I had admired appliqué quilts in the pages of Quilters Newsletter Magazine and at quilt shows for years before attempting one, thinking that appliqué was a really advanced skill that would be way out of my reach as a novice quilter.  And then one day I stumbled across Erin Russek's quilting blog, One Piece At a Time, and saw that she was doing a free pattern called Jingle as a Block of the Month combining pieced blocks with prepared edge, hand stitched applique.  Her applique tutorials were outstanding and her voice was so encouraging that I decided to give it a try.  Erin's pattern for this quilt is no longer offered for free because it was published in book form in 2021.  You can purchase the Jingle pattern here on Amazon, or directly from the publisher here (This post contains affiliate links).  

Loaded Up and Ready to Go

I've scheduled a couple of weeks at the beginning of July for custom quilting Jingle, but if I'm not finished by the time I need to start on my next client's quilt I can just zip it off my frame and set it aside.  I am hoping to either completely finish the quilting or at least get it to where I'd just need to come back and finish background fills.  Fingers crossed -- this is my One Monthly Goal for July.

And of course, as always, custom quilting begins with hours of vitally important but tedious SID (Stitching In the Ditch) work.  SID along border seams and on the seams between blocks and setting triangles serves several purposes.  First, it locks those seam lines into place nice and straight before quilting curvy lines and dense fill patterns next to them, preventing distortion.  SID sinks those seam lines deep down into the batting and accentuates all of the pains I took to get my piecing crisp and accurate on the blocks and borders.  And doing all of the SID first, from the top of the quilt to the bottom, functions in lieu of basting to evenly distribute the fullness of my double battings throughout the quilt and minimize distortion from the subsequent quilting.  Once all the ditch work is done, I'll be able to roll the quilt back and forth to work on different blocks without having to stop and adjust the batting layers, baste, etc.  Speaking of batting layers, I'm using Quilter's Dream Cotton/Poly 80/20 on the bottom with Quilter's Dream Wool on the top.  This quilt is intended for wall display and the 80/20 will give it great stability and weight for hanging, whereas that top layer of wool will give maximum dimension to the hand stitched appliqué and decorative quilting.

SID with Invisible Thread and Ruler Foot 72S

My trusty computerized Q-Matic assistant gets to take a vacation during all of this -- although I'm planning to use some digital designs in my large setting triangles, all of the SID work is hand guided with rulers.  I've got my ruler base on my Bernina Q24 and I'm using Ruler Foot #72S.  This particular foot has adjustable height that I dialed in to accommodate my thick double batting, and I also like that it has a slit or a "thread escape" off to the right side.  That will come in handy later on, as it will allow me to alternate between the ruler foot and another foot that has better visibility for free motion stitching, without having to break my thread and tie off first to get the ruler foot off.  And I'm using Aurifil's invisible nylon monofilament thread in my needle for all of this ditch stitching.  I've used Superior's MonoPoly invisible polyester monofilament thread in the past but, for whatever reason, I've found that Aurifil's nylon version allows me to use much, MUCH skinnier needles without skipped stitches on my Q24.  Skinnier needles let me get even closer to the ditch and leave tinier needle holes, both of which makes my ditch stitching more invisible.  Right now I have a size 80/12 Universal needle in my machine, which is awesome because the last time I was custom quilting one of my own personal quilts, I was using my previous APQS machine that couldn't use any needle smaller than industrial size 3.5 (which is the equivalent of a domestic machine needle size 100/16).  It is AWESOME to be able to put a skinny little size 80 needle in my Bernina for monofilament!

Quilting the Corner Blocks

For the borders and corner blocks, I'm quilting some additional straight lines in monofilament at this point as well.  I don't expect to add much decorative quilting to this border, but I did want to make it look more three dimensional like picture frame molding.  I took the photo above to remind myself which lines I quilted on for the two corner blocks at the top of the quilt, since I won't be able to see them and won't remember exactly what I did by the time I get to the corner blocks at the top of the quilt.

SID Around Appliqué with Bethanne Nemesh's Lotus Lines Appliqué Aid Ruler

Having stitched in the ditch around the seams of the first row of blocks and done as much of the border as I can reach without advancing the quilt, I started SID quilting around the appliqué shapes in the top row.  Bethanne Nemesh has some really good rulers for navigating around the most common shapes in applique and that's what you see me using here.  In the photo above, I'm using the convex curve along one side of the Lotus Lines Appliqué Aid ruler, and in the photo below I'm using the Lilac Lines Concave Ruler to stitch down the opposite side of that same petal.  (I'm sure you can also see in these photos that my fingernails look gross and I'm way overdue for a manicure...  😬. Sorry!)

Lilac Lines Concave Ruler is Perfect for the Opposite Side

This is SLOW SLOW SLOW stitching, y'all!  I am still working on this first pass and have a long way to go still before I can advance to the next section.

All That Hard Work, And You Can't See A Darned Thing

So, this is what I'll be working on for the next couple of weeks!  Next time I show you this quilt I hope to have VISIBLE quilting on it.  What about you -- have you got any holiday projects underway this month, or do you prefer to wait until the Christmas decorations start turning up in shopping malls?  That happens in August now, right?  😉. Hah!  

I'm linking up today's post with One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts, as well as my other favorite linky parties as listed on the left hand sidebar of my blog.


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

so looking forward to seeing this one quilted. I almost started that quilt back when Erin had it on her blog but never got to it. I don't plan a Christmas quilts in advance to start at a certain time of year I just go with the urge if I see something I like it will eventually be finished for a Christmas holiday

Ramona said...

Oh, I love this quilt and am excited for you that your are getting it quilted. It will be fun to watch you work your long arm magic on this beauty!

Pamela Arbour said...

Thank you for sharing the pics and details. Sometimes we see pics of beautiful quilts and quilting and don't realize how many hours are really involved. I keep thinking I should be quicker but you confirmed to me that custom quilting definitely takes time. Looking forward to seeing the finish.

Sandy said...

Ooooooh! This is such a beautiful quilt top, and I can. hardly wait to see what you do with the quilting! :)

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

That is going to be awesome! said...

Hooray for you! I like the direction you are going with your quilting. Hey, what's a little more time on the frame? This piece has been patiently awaiting its due! Well done!

Barb N said...

Your quilt is a beauty - and it's yours, whoohoo! Definitely worth all the time and effort you'll be putting into it. A keepsake for certain.

DonnaleeQ said...

It is just lovely, Can't wait to see what quilting you do on it.

CarolE said...

Your quilt is lovely, and I cannot wait to see it finished. I stumbled across Erin's blog about three years ago. I love her applique. If I missed it sorry, but what thread are you using in the bobbin when doing your SID? Is it the same as the top thread? And since I have the same longarm as you, what is your tension set at? Thank you and happy quilting!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

This is a beauty! I have some Christmas fabrics that I really need to use up so I ordered the booklet on Amazon! Yours is just beautiful and loved all the information on how you are quilting it! Have a great day! Hugs.

Kathleen said...

This quilt is lovely and will be gorgeous when you are done. I just became aware of those rulers, and am keeping them in mind in case of an applique piece that needs just what you are doing. I know how much time doing a custom piece takes; this will be fun to see it unfolding!

Angie in SoCal said...

That is already a gorgeous quilt. You're making it more so with the detailed quilting! Thanks for the process post. It's always great to read those.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

You've got this one, girl!!! Nine years of experience has brought you to the perfect time for custom quilting your beautiful applique Christmas quilt! So, so pretty!

MMorton said...

What a lovely quilt!

Thank you for your explanation of the importance of SID when you begin quilting. I am trying to work up the courage to begin quilting a queen-size quilt on my DSM; SID with the walking foot sounds like a good place to start :).

I've used other nylon monofilament on quilt tops, but have ordered a cone of Aurifil to use with this project. Are you using Aurifil cotton thread in the your bobbin or ???