I started the next hand quilting project last night. I posted pictures of this beautiful antique applique quilt previously and I am excited to begin work on it.
I am using Mountain Mist Cram Rose cotton batting. It is a thin batting that is easy to hand quilt and I love the results. It washes beautifully. I used vintage unbleached muslin for the backing and I am doing the hand quilting with a #11 John James between needle and YLI cotton hand quilting thread.
I did my normal basting. I use pins and very few of them. I used a pin in the corner of each block. I really only need the pins to hold the layers together until I get it in the hoop, once in the hoop the pins are removed in the area I am working on and the top and the back are smoothed out. I start in the center of the quilt and work out to the edges and any extra fullness is worked out to the edges as I go.
The applique fills most of the space in each block so I didn’t have a lot of space for anything fancy in the quilting.
What I don’t want is any quilting that will detract from the beautiful applique. I want the quilting to enhance the design of the top. I decided to do outline quilting around the individual applique pieces just inside the seams and then echo quilt around the applique. I then decided to add a line of feathers at the edges of each block…the feathers act as the sashing to frame each block.
I am drawing the feathers as I go …the seam acts as the spine and I am using my embroidery scissors as the template. I trace the curve of the finger hole and then draw in the rest. For the drawing I am using a #2 disposable mechanical pencil. I get them at the office supply store for very little money. If the marking is light it is very hard to even see the lines once they are quilted and remaining lines will wash out when I am done.
You can see my marking in this picture above, but once quilted the lines are much less apparent.
One other note about this you can see that there is some staining on the right side. I did not make any attempt to remove that. So what happens if when the quilt is finished and washed the stain remains? It will be a clean stain and I will live with it. I do not like to wash before quilting. I have many vintage quilt tops and blocks that have been destroyed by washing before quilting. The quilting adds strength because it is now attached to a sturdy backing and batting. If it is just too dirty to deal with I might do a gentle soak and then air dry and press but never use the washing machine! I use the machine when the quilt is finished but never before.
This is not going to be a short project. There are 20 blocks and each will take at least a few days, and then there is a wide border and as I am working on this I think that the feathered sections would look great with Trapunto added….will see how it looks when the quilting is done and then decide.