Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Custom Quilting Background Fills on My Jingle Appliqué Quilt

Happy Wednesday-Before-Thanksgiving!  Is today a cooking/baking day for you, a traveling day, a cleaning day, or a decorating day?  For me, it's a QUILTING day!  This has been my week off from quilting for clients, and I've been hustling along with the custom quilting on my own Christmas quilt, hoping to get it finished and ready to display for the holidays.  I just wanted to pop in and share a few quick images of my progress so far.  This is the portion of the center medallion that I was able to mark and quilt yesterday:

Center Appliqué Medallion with Background Fill Quilting In Progress

By the way, before I go any further I should mention that the pattern book for this quilt, Jingle Quilt by Erin Russek, will be on sale tomorrow through Monday for C&T Publishing's Black Friday and Cyber Monday site wide 30% off holiday sale event.  If you've been thinking you might want to make your own version of my Jingle quilt, or you've had your eye on any other quilting or crafting books from C&T Publishers, use the codes BLACKFRIDAY30 (valid November 24-27) and CYBERMONDAY30 (on November 28) to get 30% off your order.  (Yes, this post contains affiliate links, blah blah disclaimer blah...)

Seriously, I can't recommend Erin's patterns and instructions enough.  This is my very-first-ever appliqué project after years and years of admiring appliqué quilts and thinking they were too difficult for me to attempt.  Erin's instructions are so clear and her methods are goof-proof, even for beginners.  

If the idea of tackling the whole Jingle quilt is too daunting for you, Erin's pattern includes instructions for just doing the center medallion as a wall hanging, or you could choose any one of the blocks for a festive holiday throw pillow, just to try out Erin's prepared edge technique to see how you like it.  

So anyway...  I've been working on the background fills this week, the decorative quilting that smashes down the areas surrounding the appliqué motifs, hopefully in a way that emphasizes and enhances the appliqué rather than competing with the appliqué for attention.  That's the goal anyway.  I thought I'd show you what that looks like in progress:

Rulers, Washout Blue Markers, and Free Motion Squiggles

I know a lot of quilters swear by the purple markers with ink that disappears (supposedly) on its own in 2-14 days, but every time I try those markers, the ink starts vanishing within 10-15 minutes, sometimes before I've finished marking an entire design and often before I get the whole thing quilted.  Don't know if it's because of lotion on my hands, humidity in my studio, or what, but I'd rather just use the washout blue marking pens that I know will remain visible until I brush water on the marks to remove them deliberately!  I like to remove the blue lines from an area as soon as I've finished quilting there, because with my 50 weight So Fine thread matching my background fabric so closely it's not always easy to tell which blue lines already have quilting on them and which lines still need to be quilted.  This being my own quilt, I am 100% positive that none of my dark red or green fabrics will bleed onto the background fabric when they get wet, either.  And how do I know that with such certainty?  Because I have already been through the bloody battle of unstable dye with this quilt, and I came out victorious!

There Is A Mistake In This Block.  Maybe I Will Fix It, Or Maybe I Will Not!

The cardinal block above was the very first appliqué block that I made for the quilt, and I started with that one for the background quilting, too.  It took a ridiculous amount of time to travel back around the appliqué shapes and stems to quilt that trellis design with the background fills, and I accidentally quilted that dense filler in a small section that was meant to be left unquilted.  Decided to keep going with the quilting for now and decide later whether to go back and painstakingly remove those teeny, tiny stitches.  

This One Went Much Faster!

Doing the simple squiggle/stipple quilting around the floral block shown above went a LOT faster!

Third Appliqué Block Quilted

Not sure whether that last one is finished, though.  Although marking and stitching those straight lines and smooth circles took a fair amount of time, it didn't mash down the background fabric as much as the way I quilted the first two appliqué blocks.  I decided to quilt the rest of the appliqué and then look at all of the blocks together to determine whether this one looks out of place and needs more quilting.  Moving right along! 

Disaster Averted, Quilting Can Resume!

Last night -- or more technically accurate, this morning at around 12:30 AM -- I made a horrible mistake right smack in the middle of my quilt, in this design around the central poinsettia.  I quilted that squiggle design down one of the channels that was supposed to be left unquilted, and I did it in manual mode with some of the stitches so small that I couldn't even get the tip of my seam ripper under the thread to pull it loose!  If I left those stitches in, the whole quilt would have been ruined.  This is a reminder that "pushing onward" with the quilting to "just get a little more finished" before bed is a bad, BAD idea!  I think it took me three hours in total, working from the front as well as from the back of the quilt, but I got those dang stitches out and when I brushed water across that area the holes in the fabric closed up and the batting puffed right back up again.  Whew!  I'm using two layers of batting for this quilt, Quilter's Dream Poly Select on the bottom with Quilter's Dream Wool on top.  My thread is So Fine 50 wt matte polyester.  

...And that's all you get for today!  I can't believe it's 4 o'clock already.  😧. Once I complete the quilting in the center medallion, I'll feel like I'm "over the hump" with this quilt, but there are still five more applique blocks needing their background fills quilted, plus the pieced blocks all need more quilting, plus the "frame" borders all need more quilting, plus I probably want to add some detail quilting to some of the larger appliqué shapes...  Y'all, custom quilting takes a LONG TIME!!!  Taking it all one stitch at a time, folks!

Have a happy Thanksgiving, all who will be celebrating tomorrow, and happy quilting!  I'm linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.


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

what you show has been so pretty - you are getting a lot done and I'm glad that you have taken the time to get this quilt done for the holidays - I had hoped you would last year and that we would see a photo of Xmas at your house with the quilt - hanging? or on bed?

Pamela Arbour said...

You certainly deserve an award for perserverance! It is going to be magnificent when completed. I hope you have a total of hours to cut, piece, and applique and for quilting and unquilting! I don't think most people realize how much time and precision goes into making a quilt, even the simple ones, but you really need to put a price tag on this one for sure with documentation just so one of your family members in years to come with know how to appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Sandy said...

Wow! Your quilting is making those appliqué blocks really come to life -- gorgeous! This quilt is going to be a family heirloom from the moment it's finished.

Julie in GA said...

Your custom quilting on Jingle is coming along beautifully! I love seeing how it progresses along the way, and look forward to enjoying the finished quilt soon. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Um, that mistake would not have ruined the quilt! It is such a beautiful quilt and I love where the quilting is taking it. A very Happy Thanksgiving m'dear. Hugs.

piecefulwendy said...

Oh my, the quilting is amazing! It makes the applique pop and those blooms and buds look like velvet! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Rebecca!

Plumdelice said...

Your quilt and quilting are amazing. I wish I had your skills, not to mention a Q24 with Q-Matic. To be fair I can't justify that, since I am just a hobby sewist and quilter. I have learned, as have you, that sewing tired, or in a hurry, is not a good idea.
I love seeing your quilts and those you've quilted for clients. All power to you, happy quilting.
Happy holidays to you

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

It is certainly beautiful, Rebecca!! I love quilting with rulers and custom quilting but it does take a LOT of time! I have a question about the applique. Did you stitch all of it down by hand or does her technique allow use of the machine? I really love this quilt, but hand applique is NOT my thing! LOL Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathleen said...

Your quilting is fabulous! Pushing ahead is often a mistake...but I am glad you were able to get all those stitches out! It is truly a PITA. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathleen said...

And thanks for linking up to Tips and Tutes! said...

What beautiful texture and secondary designs that you've created in your quilting! WOW! I'd leave the mistake. . .it isn't noticeable!

Karin said...

Beautifully your design choices! Looks absolutely fabulous.

Fairy Qu33n said...

Oh my Gosh! this is like an "Affresco" in Florence! It's so wonderful!!!It's Art!!!

Anne-Marie said...

Looks beautiful so far. Looking forward to the final reveal. :)

The Joyful Quilter said...

No one, but you, will ever know there is a "mistake" in that block, Rebecca!!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wonderful quilting, the appliqué blocks look even more beautiful!
C'est magnifique, bravo !
Thank you for sharing your progress, and linking up!

Vivian said...

First applique quilt?!? Just stunning! Have fun getting to focus on your own projects. From the looks of this, it will be a very quilty weekend!!

dq said...

I am so glad to hear you are quilting for yourself. I drool over your quilting every time. You are a true master at seeing what a quilt needs!!!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

You do some beautiful custom work Rebecca! HUMMM. I have been where you were when I first got my long arm - I had an applique quilt and I quoted tiny TINY circles all around things - only to find out that the tension was off (newbie stupid Longarm quilter) - it took Clay and I 3 days to rip the entire quilting out. I became very proficient in doing this with a rotary cutter. The quilt was pulled from the show, and it sat for 15 years and last year I quilt it - just to say it was finished!

You are doing a beautiful job! Hope you recuperated quickly from the disaster! Hugs

Chris said...

Just chiming in to say that your quilt, all of it, is simply stunning!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, what an amazing quilt. Thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks! Take care.

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