Friday, August 28, 2015

The Kaye England CW Samplers Are Finished!!

I am glad to say that a big project that has been at the very top of my "To Do" list all year is finally done: Over the last two weeks, I finally quilted and bound the two Civil War sampler flimsies I finished up back in August of last year.  It's been hard to get good pictures of them so these will have to do for now and I'll try to get better ones later:

Re-piecing the Past from Kaye England's Craftsy class.

Civil War Legacy from Kaye England's book.

All the blocks were made from the scraps and leftovers from my other Civil War projects.  Through out the time I had worked to bring them to the topper stage, it had been my intention to probably finish them up by doing some simple "all over" stitching like Stippling or Baptist Fans because the layout was so busy.  I wound up sticking with that plan so "Re-piecing" was quilted with the Baptist Fans:

This was another chance to use my Westalee Circle templates (for more information on them, scroll down on this page).  I had also used them last month to start the concentric circle quilting on the "Thea's Puzzle" quilt seen in this post.

I liked using the templates because I was able to quilt the really large 12" fans evenly, without marking and by free motion quilting them.  I have quilted fans before:  on my "Stashbuster" quilt in 2010, I did them free hand and free motion.  They came out okay but it was harder than I thought to try to keep them even and back then I only stitched the widest arc at about 8".   More recently I did them again on one of the mini quilts I finished back in March.  That time I made cardboard templates for each size round with the widest arc 5".  I used a walking foot to stitch around them and had to swap out a different template to make each round, pinning them to the quilt to hold them in place while I stitched.  They were not as rounded as the Westalee fans are because the cardboard template was made based on a quarter circle.

With the Westalee template, I was able to use just the one template for all the rounds.  If I had wanted a different spacing between the rounds I could have swapped out other templates simply by placing them on the same centering pin.  If you want to see the template in action, check out Westalee's video here.  The next project I hope to try to do with them is use them to make the foundation circles for  Lori Kennedy's "Circle Doodle" quilt and use it to test out different decorative threads.

The center of "Legacy" was stitched free hand and free motion in a Stipple pattern and the narrow inner border was stitched with a walking (Accu-feed) foot.  The challenge was what to do for the other borders.  I wanted something simple to complement the simple center quilting but also something that complemented the border print.  I found what I wanted in two books on Amish quilting:

The pattern on the left is from Amish Quilting Patterns For Machine Quilting by Pat Holly and Sue Nickels and the one on the right is from Amish Quilting Patterns by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham.  You can see all the quilting better from the back:

Originally, I was a little concerned about what thread to use since the riot of color in each quilt might make it difficult to pick just one color.  However, I wanted to avoid, if I could, having to make a lot of thread changes.  Fortunately the quilt gods always come through for me!  I read a post back in November by Lori Kennedy who blogs at the "Inbox Jaunt" and is now a regular columnist for "American Quilter", the monthly publication for the American Quilters Society (AQS)  .  I've been following her blog for awhile now as she has been providing coaching on Free Motion Quilting techniques and patterns which she does on a domestic machine.

The post of hers that helped me out this time was one on "Choosing Threads For FMQ".  It was a great post in that it distilled the concepts down to a few simple starting questions to guide your choices.  It was also great because it was the perfect complement to another helpful post that I had read on this topic even earlier.  Wendy Sheppard  blogs over at "Ivory Spring" and is another accomplished quilter who also quilts on a domestic machine.  Her work has been frequently published in books and magazines, she has a FMQ course available through the Annie's catalog website and also has her second book coming out from Landauer Publishing this fall.  On her blog she has an ongoing series of posts called "Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine".  Back in April 2014, she did a post on the topic of achieving "Subtle Contrast" when it came to her quilting.  For this she uses thread colors that contrast enough to show against the backgrounds or piecing but not so much that the quilt stitching overpowers the quilt design.  She also identified which were her favorite Aurifil colors to use to achieve that. 

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Edited  10/4/15 To Add:  Wendy recently announced that her "Subtle Contrast" concept has been picked up by Aurifil Threads and will be sold as a thread box set!  Check out her post here about it.  I've searched and haven't seen it listed for purchase anywhere yet but hopefully that will happen soon too!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Armed with the wisdom of these two ladies, I have used their advice to help me decide on the threads I wanted to use to quilt all of my CW projects.  I was fortunate to have the perfect color for both of these and was able to use the same top thread for both:  Aurifil's #2324.  Both quilts are backed with Marcus Fabric's Aged Muslin in different colors.  For "Re-piecing" I used the Dark Brown muslin and Connecting Threads Essentials thread in Milk Chocolate.  "Legacy" was backed in the Tan muslin and I used Aurifil's #2000 thread.

Lastly in both cases, I monogrammed the label information onto the backing with my machine, listing the quilt information and all the block names. 

Before Quilting
After Quilting
With these done, in September I have to work on displaying all the quilts made to date.  I also still have to quilt the Chronicles BOM but I'm not sure when I'll get to that since I want to work on trying to finish my DWR next.  However, for the last few days left of this month it will be ornaments, ornaments, ornaments!!


Anonymous said...

The sampler is lovely. And thanks for the link to the video on quilting circles with th ruler. I'd abandoned doing large arcs because I cannot stop and restart without a zig in the line. Maybe the ruler is that answer.

Karen said...

Re-piecing the Past looks very good. Nice finish.