Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quilting Along With Leah - Week 12

I left you and my Hearts and Feathers whole cloth piece hanging by a thread last week. Hearts and Feathers is still not finished, at least in the formal, bound and blocked sense, but all the quilting is done. Boy, I am I glad I opted to follow my instincts and work from the center out, doing the micro stippling as I came to it. Why? Because it took me another 5 hours of creating the outer ring half of the feathers and the micro stippling that surrounds the feathers. I also, never had to break my thread from stop to finish. I did need to bury a few ends, but that was only because I needed to start a new bobbin 3/4 of the way through the project.

Front of Hearts and Feathers
Back of Hearts and Feathers
Speaking of thread, I opted to give a new brand a try. I used a 40 wt. variegated rayon thread by Marathon. I was introduced to this thread by fellow Fiber Revolution member, Barbara McKie. Barb is known for her outstanding thread painted imagery. She loves the strength and sheen of this thread. I've been looking to add more sheen to my own work. Hearts and Feathers seemed liked the perfect project to test drive this thread. As Leah advised, I used the same thread in my bobbin that I did on top. Micro stippling with its numerous tight curves requires a high level of tensile strength. My thread never shredded or broke once during the whole project.

Detail of the Back of Hearts and Feathers

Confession, my micro stippling might be more accurately described as mini stippling. Leah achieves a 1/16 of an inch channel throughout her stippling. I find 1/8 of an inch my threshold. Fortunately, that is small enough to make a sufficient distinction between the hearts and feathers and the background.

Another Detail of Hearts and Feathers

By using a pale batik for the front of my quilt and muslin to back the quilt I was able to see the difference a solid, versus subtly patterned fabric makes when creating a whole cloth quilt. It could be because I selected a variegated thread that merged nicely with the batik that I ended up preferring my back to the front. I just like having a bit of contrast between the background and foreground. Also, I think the muslin allowed the sheen of the rayon thread to be shown to its best advantage.

Detail from the front of Hearts and Feathers. Note the blue marking pen.

Imagine - a back that beats the front! That is the miracle of growth that I have achieved by quilting along with Leah. In the past my back would have had its share of hesitation knots and snarls.

Next week Leah plans to share with us how she blocks and finishes her quilts. I'm always looking for good finishing tips. Can't wait!


  1. I am not familiar with "Marathon" thread. Will have to investigate further for sure. Your piece looks so good!!! My goodness, it is such nice work. I hope to post on my progress sometime tomorrow. Still catching up on the stippling...have never even thought about doing it that small!!!! Will check back with you later. Love your work...all of it!-) Blessings and hugs, Doreen

  2. Always good to hear from you, Doreen. I hadn't heard of Marathon thread either, until Barb sang its praises. We are so fortunate to live in a quilting boom, with so many choices. Now if Marathon would just make more variegates to choose from...

  3. I think I told you this last week. If I didn't I was thinking it. I love everything about yours! The thread, the fabric, and of course the quilting!! Its white with a hint of color. Gorgeous!! Even if you couldn't obtain 1/16 in, (I couldnt either) i think its moore important of how consistent your stippling is. Besides, I think stippling is like a signature, different for all of us. Yours is more rounded, and Leahs shapes are skinnier. I love both styles.

  4. Beautifully done! I also used a continuous thread (until the bobbin ran out)- I started with the outer hearts and worked inward, then started a new thread for the outside design.

  5. What a dream to not have to stop for shredded thread or thread breaks. I lost count of the number of times I had to stop and start.... Your work looks very nice - usually my backs also look better or at least the same as the front - it's a great feeling....

    1. June, thread breaks are SO frustrating. I do find with practice that I am getting better at identify the cause of breaks. Once the reason is determined it is easier to correct. Most times, at least in my experience it is because the thread is getting hung up somewhere, often in the despoiling.