Fish Quilt Update and Deciphering the Feather Stumpers

March 17th, 2009

I’ve finished most of the quilting on the fish quilt, which is officially named “Making a Splash!”

The center section of this quilt is what mattered to me, and here’s a close-up of the quilting thus far. (The colors are a bit off in this shot because I tried something different with lighting and it didn’t work!) This is what I call an extended asymmetric feather:

I LOVE how that part came out; to me, it looks like the whole thing is just flowing naturally from his mouth! I’ll do a post later about asymmetric feathers because they are very fun to stitch and there are all kinds of possibilities with them, but now I need to answer the questions about the feather stumper question from the last post. Those designs were offshoots from a design I call “Feather Explosion.” Feather Explosion is when you use feathers flowing from feathers as a background fill design. Here’s a picture that’s an example of the original feather explosion design:

This design is created by stitching a feather, then going back and marking nice flowing guidelines for other feathers to flow off that first feather (and then other feathers, as you continue to stitch). It creates this beautiful flowing effect, but when you’re working on a big quilt, sometimes it gets kind of tiresome to mark all those guidelines! So, that’s when I started playing around with ways to “cheat” on the feather explosion design, and the first way to cheat is shown below:

This is the same design, but it takes virtually NO MARKING of anything! You stitch out a curved feather freehand and when you get to the end of it, you just sneak back into that spine guideline and stitch your way backward to a place where you feel it would be good to begin a new feather. Emerge from the spine guideline at that spot and go for it! Here is a picture of a diagram I drew out to explain it. (Sorry, it’s a photo, our scanner is broken here):

I changed my colors every time I began a new feather so you could see that I snuck back into the spine guideline. I started with black, then magenta, then purple, then violet.

Now, here’s the second cheater version of Feather Explosion:

For this one, you again begin by stitching a curvy feather freehand. When you get to the end of the feather, you outline the final plumes until you find a place where you think it would be good to begin a new feather, then you go for it! Here’s a diagram for that design:

They all work beautifully for background fill designs and there is actually not much difference between them design-wise, so it’s just a question of picking the one that’s the most fun to do, and then doing it!

Fish Quilt Update and a Stumper!

March 4th, 2009

I finished the edges of all the pieces of the fish quilt in different ways…some are satin-stitched, some are free-motion satin stitched, and some have the EKG edge finish:

(I also swapped out the background fabric; it’s still a hand-dyed cotton sateen but I found a smaller piece so I didn’t have to cut up that other full yard piece). This is the center block and it’s still just a top; the fish is trapuntoed. Here’s a shot of the backside:

Next up, I added the inner vertical border, which I really like!

You’re probably wondering why there is so much “blank space” above and below that fish…well, I have something I want to try for the quilting in that area, and I’ll need some unobstructed space for it. This is the excitement (and the nerve-wracking horror) of being in love with free motion quilting. I have had this idea in my head for the quilting in this one part that could make this quilt totally cool, but if it doesn’t look good, this whole quilt will kind of be a waste of time! I hate having to get so far into a project to find out if this one thing is a good idea, but you have to take chances in life! Anyway, next job is to finish the edges of all the swirls, and I’m doing the EKG edge finishing for them:

Since I took these photos earlier today, I’ve added another border and sandwiched this baby for quilting-I can’t wait!!! Keeping my fingers crossed for this working out!

…and now for the stumper! Below are 2 pictures of all-over feather background fill designs. They both have the same end result, but they’re made in 2 different ways. Can you find the difference? It’s very subtle!!!

and number 2: