Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Swags on Parade: Update

For those of you just joining this venting session, here are the facts:

This is the sad story of a longarm quilter who was given a custom quilt job meant for a hand quilter. This king-size quilt is the product of a magazine article or pattern that one of my customers read. She brought me the magazine saying that was how she wanted her king-size beauty quilted. I really should have paid more attention at the time...but I didn't. There were some problems:

The quilting was meant to be done by a hand quilter. That translates to lots of stops and stars on a longarm machine.

Hand quilting patterns are not as flowing as machine quilting pattern. So there would be lots of ruler work.

She wanted 3 different shades of blue thread as well as white thread on tghe quilt. The backing is snow white.

She wanted swags down the 8" side borders and 8" bottom bottom. The quilt has a 16 inch pillowtuck so she wanted "stacked swags" on the pillow tuck.

My wonderful swag rulers were not going to work on this quilt. The scale was all wrong. Swags on this king-size quilt reminded me of the a character in Dancing in Disney Animation.


Instead of thinking longer about the quilt, I jumped in and started the quilt with good intentions. I quilted about 26 insides of the quilt before I rolled it and saw the navy blue thread on the white backing. It was so awful. Every wobble, every backtrack or traveling line screamed out. I just could not continue that quilt looking like that. I was facing 10 hours of ripping that old stitching out so it would not be ready when I expected. I called her over for a consult. I pointed out that the magazine pattern was meant for a hand quilter.

I suggested some new ideas, including flowing waaves or feathers to soften it and some straight lines were 1-inch CCs had been, some SID where there had been none in her pattern and a different plan for the pillowtuck. She agreed with all my ideas except the flowing stuff and pretty much told me to go with what I wanted. I should have redesigned the whole thing at that fime, putting big old feathers in the borders and some more motifs designed for machine quilting. I told her about the delay and she offered to rip out that stitching herself. I almost fell over. She said that she would do it while she was sitting and watching TV. I sent it home with her. She brought it back 2 days later and admitted that it was more work than she expected. He, he, yeah, I know.

So my new plan still had lots of ruler work. I decided to use the Circle Lord to do overlapping concentric circles in the borders to give it a nice soft edge. I saw this done by Sassy Quilter over on MQResource web-site and I loved the effect.

I also decided that I would use light blue in the border instead of navy blue thread. I had to get my husband to help me set up that phase of it. Too much math for me. I'm happy with the modified swags. I no longer see a hippo dressed in a tutu dancing around in my studio. I see a large light Americana quilt.
More photos to follow.


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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
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  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
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