I completed all the quilting on Spring Sonata! I love almost all aspects of making quilts and spending time in the process is usually very enjoyable, but this week I faced one aspect of quiltmaking that is WORK! Once the top is quilted, before putting the binding on, it is best to make sure the quilt is as flat as possible. This is especially important if one is going to hang the quilt in a show and it’s going to be judged. Good workmanship – important to me! – dictates that the edges not be rippled, or at least not too much. Sometimes minor rippling is OK but it should not be so much that it detracts from the quilt’s appearance. Even is a quilt top seems flat after it is constructed, the quilting process often causes some distortion, thus the need for these corrections at the end.
Many quilt makers “block” their quilts by wetting them and then laying them flat on a surface, smoothing and slightly stretching the fabrics and pinning or tacking the quilt down and letting it dry. That often does the trick. However, I do not like to wet or wash my quilts and I don’t have floor space big enough in my house for this so I use a different technique. I baste on the sleeve and hang the quilt first to see how rippled it is. If there is no rippling, I’m good to go with adding the binding with no further work. If there is rippling, I stitch around the edge of the quilt on the machine with a basting stitch and gently ease in the fabric edges as much as is needed – it’s like the dressmaking skill of “shirring” to “gather” fabric. Then I have to hang the quilt again and adjust while it’s hanging. This technique works quilt well as long as one doesn’t have to gather too much – usually the effect is very subtle. Sometimes I have to adjust and re-hang several times (a pain!).
Here’s Spring Sonata initially hung to assess the edges (click for enlargement):
From that distance, not too bad. Here are a couple of closeups that show the rippling better:
The rippling isn’t bad but was enough that I definitely thought it needed to be corrected as much as possible. The WORK part of all this was basting on the sleeve so I could hang the quilt, putting in the basting stitches along the edges of the quilt, gathering the edges gently and then re-hanging to make sure the adjustments were good and then, after all that, sewing on the binding by machine. Here is the quilt with the edges fixed:
And a closeup of the lower edge showing the original ripples improved:
All of this took several hours! Now I am back to the “fun” part and hand sewing down the binding. Some folks don’t like even this task, but I enjoy it because it’s hand work and because it means the quilt is very near done!!! I think I may finish this later today!
In the last post I talked about the border for Joyful Noise and it seemed like I had settled on an applique border after debating between pieced vs. applique. I had forgotten that there is a third option. Many quilt makers add a simple border made of one piece of fabric which can be either plain to show off quilting stitches or can be made of a beautiful print fabric that accents the center of the quilt. Sometimes one of these options is best. I decided to pull out a few of my designer Japanese fabrics (the ones I used to make the center of the quilt) to see if any looked good with it as a border. Here is the one I think looked really good:
I’ve used this design element – the added lines in the border – in 2 other quilts and like it a lot. I could even consider adding prairie points on the outer edge. Anyway… after studying this option for a couple days I decided I like it so I ordered 2 meters of the fabric (from Australia!!!) and now this is what I plan to use. I honestly don’t think I’ll change my mind yet again!
Now that the quilting of Spring Sonata is complete, Spirit of Japan #3: The Wheel” is in the hoop:
These authentic Japanese fabrics are thicker than the usual cottons and, therefore, not as easy to hand quilt. Because of this I am settling for larger stitches – more like “big stitch technique or Sashiko-like – on the quilt which I think is OK in this situation.
I have no idea how long the hand quilting on this one will take! It would be nice to finish it for the Cocheco show in October, but we’ll see!!
I made a little progress on Sweet Journeys block #5:
Thank you so much for visiting! And cherish every day. Gladi