Friday, April 21, 2017

Wings Alight: Threads and Wing Outline

You can see my previous blog posts about this quilt here.

Before starting the quilting I had to decide on thread colors for both the top and the bobbin.  Aurifil generously sponsored the top row of large spools:

Wings Alight: Aurifil threads--a mixture of 50, 40 ans 28wt.

I made a mini quilt sandwich from the quilt trimmings and tested out each thread weight (using 50wt in the bobbin) to find the best tension and stitch length for both straight line quilting using my walking foot and for free motion quilting using my darning/FMQ foot.  In the picture above you can see the back of my practice quilt and under that are my thread and tension notes.  In the end I decided to use matching color int he bobbin, which will make this a neat double sided quilt!

Wings Alight: Starting with my walking foot and the long straight lines.

The wings are outlined using Aurifil 28wt in Light Jade (1148), and will probably get a second layer. I used my walking foot for the longest straight lines, then switched to my FMQ foot for the rest of the feathers.  It took at least 30 minutes to quilt the left wing (you can check out a time lapse of that quilting on my Instagram--click here!).

Wings Alight: Finished left wing.

The right wing took a longer, but I finally got it done!  Here's how the quilt looks now:

Wings Alight: Really wishing I'd put the wings higher on the quilt...too late now!

And here's me in front of the wings, I guess this is a thing now:

Wings Alight: I do wish I could have made the wings bigger...although they are already a challenge to get through my machine (a Janome 6300 with a 9" throat)!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wings Alight Wholecloth Quilt Beginnings

You can read about the inspiration and materials here.  Today's post is about the wings design and transferring it onto the quilt top!

I really drug my heels on starting this project because I couldn't figure out how I was going to draw big wings on the fabric at the scale I wanted while keeping them somewhat symmetrical and level.  About a month ago I was complaining about this mental block to Afton at Quilting Mod and she suggested using a projector.  And she had one I was able to borrow!  Perfect!  I started working on my wing drawings and got a transparency printed at the local FedEx Office store.

Wings Alight: wings drawings--left is on tracing paper, center is printed from a digital file, right is the transparency. 

I decided to base my wings on a Sandhill crane coming in for a landing.  The wings have a different shape than when they are taking off or flying, and the way the feathers are spread out is ideal for filling with quilting designs!  This is also how I chose the name of the quilt:
  1. (of a bird) descend from the air and settle.

    "a lovely blue swallow alighted on a branch"

    synonyms:land, come to rest, settleperchlight
    "a swallow alighted on a branch"

The image of wings descending from the air and settling is lovely and calming to me. The wings will float on the quilt in a way that when you stand in front of them it looks like there are wings behind you:

Wings Alight Quilt: Me with the projected wings.

The process of drawing the wings onto the quilt took about 40 minutes, but the setup took quite a bit longer.  You can watch me trace the right wing in this time lapse video (hopefully it uploaded properly, if not you can click here to see it on my Instagram: QuiltsnFeathers):

Here is how the projected lines look next to the drawn lines (I used this Fons and Porter white pencil):

Wings Alight Quilt: projected wings (black) and traced wings (white).

Each wing is about 43" long, with about 12" between them.  From edge to edge the wings are 92" across.  Here is the final result on the quilt top:

Wings Alight Quilt: wings drawn on the quilt top.

I basted the quilt using Quilter's Dream Orient, and it is ready to start quilting!  Here's the official before picture: 

Wings Alight Quilt: basted quilt, measures 107" wide by 99" tall currently.  The wings are there--just hard to see in this lighting.

Next is filling bobbins and clearing off my sewing table!  I'm excited to finally get to start quilting these wings!

Wings Alight Quilt: Michael Miller Luxe sateen solids and Aurifil threads.