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.


  1. I am so glad Arron had the perfect solution to getting the wings the right size and level. 40 minutes doesn't seem too bad for drawing the wings, but that time lapse is certainly deceptive. It makes me wonder how long it takes people who have a lot of practice at this kind of thing (like Kelsey). I can't wait to see how you bring this to life with the quilting!!

  2. This is going to be AWESOME!!!

  3. It's great watching your progress! Thanks for the Amazon link - I love my Fons and Porter chalk pencils and I'd like to try this one out sometime. I'm curious to see how you'll quilt the background.

  4. I still have projector envy.
    This is going to be fabulous.

  5. A projector is a very useful thing! Our church has an old one that I've used a couple of times too. I really love the picture of you standing in front of the wings :) I can't wait to watch this progress!

  6. I am so happy to see your hardworking progress and I wish you all the best for all the future project that you are going to face. Many great wishes for you and good luck.