Friday, September 23, 2011

Wild Mustang - Part 8

I've been working on the quilting of the horse section and that is now complete.  First I just quilted around the various sections of the reverse applique so on the front those quilting lines actually blend in with the applique stitches but when you actually look at the quilt those areas start to take on that puffy look of quilting.  Then I did 3 rows of echo quilting around the image of the horse and that is now completed.  Here is what it looks like at this stage.

One thing I have to say is that I have really enjoyed working with the hand basted quilt sandwich.  Using Sharon Schamber's technique of the herringbone basting stitch has kept all the layers together and nothing has been shifting which is really a nice treat.

So now that this portion of the quilting is done I now know how much background space I have left and will be planning out the background quilting this weekend. Also I want to share this picture of Fergie who decided to take a nap on the quilt while I stepped away for a break.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wild Mustang - Part 7

I finished putting together the quilt sandwich. What do you normally do to hold your quilt sandwich in place?  Since I quilt on my domestic sewing machine I typically use both the spray basting spray and then pin my top with medium size safety pins.  The reason for this is with all the folding and unfolding that my quilts go through, I find that just pinning doesn't give them enough stability and the layers tend to shift.  If I use just the spray baste spray often towards the end of the quilting process there are areas where the glue is starting to unstick because I don't like to use a heavy application of the stuff.  So using both has typically worked for me in the past.

Well with the Wild Mustang quilt it has so many additional layers in it that pinning with medium safety pins was completely out of the question and the spray glue would only hold the layers that were against the batting.  So I figured that this quilt needed to be hand basted which I have never done before.

I started to get my various tools together and then my friend Elizabeth ( ) informed me that she had seen on someone else's blog these long sewing needles that might be of interest.  So I did some research and sure enough there are special needles for hand basting quilts.  I went to my LQS and was fortunate to get their last package.  This is the exact type that I got and they really did make a difference from just using the longest regular needles that I had ( ).  These ones are almost 4" long and more sturdy than your regular needle yet still fine enough that it doesn't leave big holes in the fabric.

So I started to baste my quilt, got a few rows done and then thought perhaps there is a better stitch to use than the simple running stitch that I was using.  I then did a search on the net and found these 2 videos ( and ) by Sharon Schamber and they were very informative and I decided to use her technique with the herringbone basting stitch (details in the second video). She also had some other interesting suggestions about how to prepare a quilt for hand basting which I will likely try the next time I need to do hand basting of the sandwich.  I found that the basting went fairly quickly considering all the layers that I was working with.  Here are a couple of pictures of what this stitch looks like. 

This week I will be working on the actual quilting.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wild Mustang - Part 6

I finally got the back finished for the Wild Mustang wall hanging. I had to redo the whole thing because the first time I made it, it was major wonky due to some issues with using the left over brown squares from the horse portion of the reverse applique part.  This is what it looked like initially and the problem was caused by several factors. 

The edge of the brown square triangle pieces that are sewn to the borders are on the bias. The right angle triangles were not a perfect 45 degree angle, they were out by a degree or two but that was enough to add to the problem.  Then when I added my borders I just cut my strips from the width of the fabric and started to sew them, this was the way I was taught in my beginner quilting class many years ago.  Well it turns out that isn't really the way you should do them and my friend Sue from Long Island found out that the proper way is to measure the side of your quilt and then cut the border to size, find the midpoint of both the quilt and the border and pin it and pin the ends.  Then you pin the mid section between the end and the middle on both sides and continue to do so until you have enough pins to keep everything together and stable.  Sue found out able this technique when she took some long arm classes on how to fix problems with quilts which included things like wavy borders.

I took everything apart, I added iron on stabilizer to the brown square triangle sections and then made sure that they were proper right angle triangles and each one was the same dimension. All the sashing and border pieces were then measured to spec, pinned and sewn which took a lot longer to complete than just cutting strips of fabric and sewing it down. Sue also made a suggestion of adding a different colour of Stonehenge fabric into the center of the X sashing and as well as in the corners of all the borders.

  So this is the end result and the wonky factor is gone and it looks great.  So all the extra effort was worth it.  Now it's time to make the quilt sandwich and then I can start the actual quilting.