Last month I was gifted a beautiful society silk piece by Cindy Needham. She was letting go of a few linens and asked if I would like one. How could I refuse an offer like that? What a treat! I love this squishy kind of mail!
I was determined to get it quilted and not let it get lost in my mound of linens.
This round is about 18″ in diameter. The handwork is stunning and very precise. I gave it a very light ironing on the back and then on to the long arm.
I like to use a double batting of 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and Hobbs Wool on the top. This gives the piece a really nice loft.
The first task is to stitch down the outer edge. It’s almost like making a frame for the inside stitching. I go really slow with my fingers, usually way to close to the hopping foot!
The beginning is overwhelming with “fluff”. Due to that double batting, the machine tends to drag a bit until more stitching is done. I like to outline the embroidery next to pull down that crazy pouf!
You can see I stitch right up to the edge of the embroidery. I had the hubs video what my hand and ruler placement look like while doing this. Not the clearest video, but you’ll get the idea! I hold a long arm ruler, any straight edge you like, next to the foot with my left hand, while guiding the machine with my right hand. The ruler is only for resistance, don’t use it for pushing. Try to use that right hand to do all the maneuvering.
This particular pattern is called, “Branson”, by Helen Squire. I knew I wanted to wrap some feathers around something. I liked the small swirls, also knowing I might repeat some swirls in my feather frenzy! You might be able to see that I also took my fingernail and made an impression in the fabric. I do very little marking on these vintage pieces, not knowing what might happen to them 50 years from now. I could see 3 definite areas I wanted to work in. You might be able to see that from this view.
I first stitch my spines for the three feather areas. I was on such a roll that I didn’t stop to get a picture of spines only. Sometimes it’s hard to stop the groove!
Then I started to fill with feathers! Feathers flow, once you practice enough to get their rhythm. I used pebbles and swirls for filler. A friend on my Facebook page said it looked like a merry-go-round. I agree!
Once I had the middle where I liked it, I moved on to the outer edge. I like to use repetition to unify any kind of quilting. You can see the outer crosshatch in the original embroidery. I loved it and decided to continue that design element.
This was the most tedious part of this whole piece! Lots of ruler work. My curved template is something the hubs cut for me last year. He had some extra plexiglass and then used a hole saw to add some circles. Not often do I require an exact circle, but when I do I simply lift my hopping foot inside the size circle I need.
OH, and what to do with the edge, you ask? It will depend on the end use, but this one I plan to mat and frame, so I trim to the edge on the back side.
A few hours later you have the finish! I also did some micro stippling for filler. Cindy calls this “sand”. I use Glide thread exclusively because I like the sheen it has. It compliments the silk embroidery nicely.
You can see how nicely the computerized motif in the center works into the free motion quilting work. I enjoy mixing up the computer work and my own quilting.
I hope you have enjoyed the process and will give it a go yourself! I love to encourage and inspire you to use those linens that past generations have lovingly stitched and left behind. Most are hidden away in drawers and attics and I’d like to get them out, one piece at a time! Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to check out Cindy’s free form quilting classes on Craftsy. Click on the banner at the top and search Cindy Needham. She’ll show you how to create free form stitching on a domestic machine if you aren’t a long arm owner. She is AMAZING!!