Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quilting Steam Punk

Steam Punk's been pinned all fall. I even ditch stitched the sashing to stabilize the quilt with dark YLI invisible thread in the top and grey Aurifil 50/2 in the bobbin. Then I was stuck. A quilt this large and heavy needs more quilting simply to keep it together during use. I wanted some straight lines but not the same grid used on Trip Around the Block.  Life intervened: several family events, trips, and colds were a perfect excuse to set it aside for a while.

When I restarted last week, I decided to put straight lines on the blades. I marked endpoints on each blade and drew lines with a washable blue pen or white chalk, whichever showed up better. I only mark four blocks at a time and always start with the chalked marks since they seem to disappear quickly. By starting where the blades of two propeller blocks meet, I can work my way around all four without stopping. This saves times in starts and stops as well as having fewer threads to bury. I used grey Aurifil 50/2 cotton thread in the top and bobbin for the FMQ.

By starting where two propellers meet,
I can work my way around
all four blocks in this set
before stopping.

Because the ditch work subdivided the quilt into 18" sections, I started on an outside row. It's easier to work out problems there rather than in the center of such a large quilt.

Do you know how much I hate marking? What a chore; then it's still hard to see. But... the straight lines provide such a contrast. I usually use my walking foot to make straight lines; however, it was not possible to turn the quilt so frequently (and bunch so much under the quilt arm.) So I've been thinking about ruler work.

Detail of one propeller blade on Steam Punk block

Amy's Free Motion Quilting blog has a wonderful section on ruler work with a stationary machine. Her posts share loads of information about how to work with the rulers, which feet to buy or how to adjust your feet so they don't slide under the ruler. My question is how well this will work with my older machine (Bernina 1230.)  The throat plate is less than eight inches. Something to ponder.

After all the blades are quilted with straight lines I'll add curved free-motion quilting behind them, finish quilting the sashing, and do something in the border. Not sure what; time will tell.

Enjoy the day, Ann


Kaja said...

Nice to see Steam Punk again. I like your close up - the straight lines are very effective with the curves of the blades. I have to conclude thought that I am a bit of a coward, as the very thought of ruler work makes me feel scared! I'm sure you are made of sterner stuff though.

Lara B. said...

Ann your work on the blades looks great! I do so love this quilt! I use blue painter's tape a lot to make off straight sewing lines. You can reposition it over and over again too. It works very well for quilting with your walking foot. Would that be practical for FMQ?

Ann said...

Thanks, Lara, for the idea. The blades looked great on the outer row but it's getting harder as I move inside. I'll try painters tape, too. I have some but keep forgetting to use it.

audrey said...

Love seeing how the stitching makes a quilt come to life. I too hate the marking part--so tedious!

Ann said...

There's an old book titled Quilting Makes the Quilt. How true. And I still hate marking... yuck.

Sarah @ mila+cuatro said...

I'm no fan of marking either, I'm too impatient. Also, I often use a hera marker for marking and I find the lines are quite hard to see from certain angles with the LED lighting on my machine.

Stephie said...

Ann, this is so wonderful - I love the straight lines in the propellors, it really makes me think of the circular movement. I've not tried quilting with rulers, I'm not sure my old machine would be up to it either!