Friday, December 2, 2022

Christmas Stars and Snowflakes for Janita + Custom Quilting Jingle's Pieced Blocks

Good Morning, Happy December, and Happy Advent!!!  I have one finished client's quilt to share with you today PLUS those of you who are patient enough to read through all of my blah blah blah (or those sneaky enough to just scroll to the bottom) will also be rewarded with a few progress photos of the custom quilting that is still in progress on my Jingle appliqué quilt.  The end is in sight!  But first, let's ooh and aah over Janita's pretty Christmas Star quilt:

Janita's Christmas Star Quilt

Detail of First Snow E2E Stitched in Glide Thread, Color Dijon

This is such a pretty pattern.  I'm always a sucker for a star quilt, and the way the red X at the center of these stars connects to the sashing also reminds me of red ribbons tied around gift packages, with the stars as giant bows!  

Janita's 55 x 71 Christmas Star Quilt

I don't have pattern info for this quilt, but if anyone reading this recognizes the pattern source please share that in the comments and I'll update the post to include that information for anyone wanting to make their own version of this quilt.

I quilted this for Janita using the First Snow edge to edge design, which has a combination of loose, open swirls contrasting with compact and detailed snowflakes.  

Detail of First Snow E2E Quilting in Glide Thread, Color Dijon

I quilted Janita's Christmas Star with a gold machine embroidery thread, Glide in color Dijon, to give the sheen and shimmer of metallic thread without the scratchiness (this post contains affiliate links).  Janita wanted a lightweight quilt with a soft and snuggly drape, so I used Quilters Dream Bamboo blend batting (The Batting Formerly Known as Quilters Dream Orient.  Much like The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Smirk Smirk, Wink Wink...).

Janita's Quilt Top Prior to Quilting

The photo above shows Janita's lovely Christmas quilt top prior to quilting.  Thank you for choosing me to quilt this for you, Janita!

Rebecca's In Progress Christmas Quilting

Meanwhile, some of you may remember me making wildly optimistic predictions about a couple of my own quilts getting finished this year in time for Christmas!  Well, if you look at my "to do this week" goals and convert them into dog years/dog weeks...  I think that gives me 7 human weeks to accomplish what I said I'd get done in one (dog) week.  Yes, grasping at straws...

But I did get that label embroidered for my tumbler throw quilt, and here it is glue basted to the lower left corner of the quilt, patiently waiting for me to hand stitch it down.  Two sides of the label have 1/4" turned under for hand stitching, and the other two raw edges will be encased in the quilt binding.  Which isn't made yet.  The binding, I mean -- I still need to cut the strips, join them together, press them in half, and then machine stitch them to the front of the quilt and I'm determined to get that done over the weekend because then I can take it to hand stitch when I meet up with a couple of my quilting friends on Monday afternoon.

Tumbler Quilt Label Embroidered, Needs to be Hand Stitched to Quilt

Notes to Self: I really, really ought to take an extra minute to wind matching bobbin thread before stitching my quilt labels in skinny fonts like this.  It's not like I don't have Bottom Line 60 wt thread in every color in the Universe...  Otherwise there are always a few specks of the white or black bobbin thread that show on top of the label.  When I use white bobbin thread, I disguise those dots of bobbin thread with my Sakura Pigma Micron archival permanent ink pens.  They work well for disguising little stray white background quilting stitches that accidentally landed on top of red or green appliqué shapes, too...

Speaking of which, the custom quilting on my Jingle appliqué quilt is nearly completed!  Woo-hoo!  Here are a few in-progress highlights.

FMQ in Gold Thread Following Printed Design on Border Fabric

In the photo above, I used Glide thread in color Honey Gold to free-motion quilt the scalloped lines and the figure eight printed on that red and gold border print fabric.  It was too wide to leave unquilted, but I didn't want to quilt anything that would compete with or detract from the fabric print.  

Ruler Work, Free Motion, and Digital Combined

Here are a few of my favorite pieced quilt blocks, combining a few digital designs with ruler work and hand guided free motion quilting.  I deliberately alternated densely quilted patches with lightly quilted or unquilted patches to create dimensional texture similar to the appliqué blocks.  I had quilted the SID (stitch in the ditch) along all of the patchwork seamlines back in July with Aurafil invisible monofilament nylon thread and all of the decorative quilting is stitched in the Glide Honey Gold thread throughout the quilt.  I have two layers of batting in this quilt, Quilters Dream 80/20 on the bottom with Quilters Dream Wool on top.  (I told you last time that I had poly batting on the bottom, but I was mistaken).  In case you're curious, in the block pictured above the design in the yellow triangles is digital and the flower motif in the center square is digital, but I added the four little tendril swirl thingys freehand after the computer stitched the flower.  The red poinsettia triangles were quilted hand guided with a straight edge ruler, and the mini stippling in the cream triangles is FMQ.  I also quilted with my straight edge ruler along some of the lines printed on those black and multicolored fabrics along the outside of the blocks, and the feather designs in the setting triangles are all digitally quilted.

More Ruler Work, Free Motion and Digital Quilting

In the block pictured above, only the motif in the yellow triangle patches was stitched by computer.  The 1/8" matchstick quilting was done with a straight edge ruler, the curved diamond shape in the cream/red/green squares was done with a small circle ruler, and I stitched freehand along the printed motif on the center square.  How do I love my rulers?  Oh let me count the ways!  💕

Last One For Today!

Same thing with the block above -- it's a combination of digital, hand guided free motion, and ruler quilting in the same block.  With this one, the digital designs are in the center poinsettia square, the yellow triangles, and the squiggles in the holly print triangles.  A straight edge ruler was used to stitch "in the ditch" along all of the seamlines in the block, and the stippling in the ivory and gold patches was done freehand.  Reflections on all of this: Custom quilting with digital designs is tedious and definitely not a time saver!  Free motion quilting is the fastest, followed by unmarked ruler work quilting, followed by ruler work quilting that needs to be marked on the quilt before stitching, and quilting digital motifs into individual patches is slower than all of those.  You have to map out each little patch of fabric for the computer and then fiddle with the digital motif to make it fit into the space on your quilt, one by one.  When I attempted to do several patches at a time and sew them out together, the slight shifting of the quilt during stitching (due to fabric draw) resulted in the final parts of the stitched design being slightly misaligned with the seamlines of the patches.  And you have to break thread and tie off after each digital design so you can move the sewhead to map out the next patch you want to quilt, and that slows you down, too.  You would think that using a computer would make it go faster, but the opposite is true!  The payoff that makes using the computer worthwhile for custom quilting is that you get much better uniformity of elaborate designs like scrolls and feathers than you'd get from freehand quilting, without having to make any markings on the quilt top like you do for most intricate hand guided custom quilting.  

I deliberately reused a handful of different designs and motifs, combining them in different ways and sort of scattering them around the quilt in a way that will hopefully look cohesive without being too boring once this comes off the frame and we get to see the whole thing all at once.  That's me, using interior design principles in my quilting again -- Balance!  Unity!  Rhythm!  Scale and Proportion!  Emphasis!  Oh, and I guess I used the design principle of Contrast, too, making sure to alternate densely quilted and flat areas with lightly quilted, puffy areas, and alternating curvy quilting designs with straight line, geometric designs...  😂  Not gonna go off on a tangent discussing design principles today, though, because this quilt isn't going to finish quilting itself!

So all of the applique blocks are quilted, the center applique medallion is quilted, and all of the pieced blocks are quilted.  Most of the borders have been quilted, too.  I just have two skinny borders around the center medallion to deal with, one that I'll FMQ along the printed floral design on the fabric and the other that I'll do straight piano key lines on with a ruler, and one spot with skipped stitches to be fixed, and then it will be DONE!  Which is good, because there are lots of clients' quilts waiting for me as soon as this one comes off the frame!

Have a wonderful weekend, and happy quilting!  I'm linking up with my favorite linky parties, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.  My "One Monthly Quilting Goal" for December is to get both of my Christmas quilts across the finish line before Santa takes off from the North Pole on Christmas Eve!


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

I love the quilting you are doing on Jingle! it will look great when hanging on your wall.
Your customer quilt looks good too

Gretchen Weaver said...

Janita's quilt is lovely, you definitely have a talent for selecting the perfect designs for an area. I can't wait to see a full picture of Jingle. Happy stitching!

Sandy said...

Janita's quilt is beautiful, but your Jingle is breathtaking, even seen in bits and pieces as we're seeing it right now. I can hardly wait to see it all finished!

piecefulwendy said...

Both of the quilts are so pretty, but the quilting on Jingle! Wowza!

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

The customer quilt is pretty, but your custom quilt is fantastic!! Great job. Looking forward to see it finished!

dgs said...

Gorgeous quilts and once again your quilting really makes these quilts pop. I also love the corner stones on Jingle. Brilliant!

LA Paylor said...

your quilting is so good. I want the fabrics from the star bow quilt

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Exquisite works, Rebecca!!!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, isn't it great to have so many options available to you? Being able to use the computer, FMQ and ruler work on one quilt is wonderful. Your quilt is looking great but I can see why it's taking so long! Keep at it :-) and thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Love the Star Quilt and your Jingle quilt is just absolutely beautiful! Beautiful quilting choices! Hug