Sunday, November 18, 2012

Following Leah Day - Week 40

Leah Day's current assignment is another in her series of large scale designs that quickly secure a quilt's layers and is recommended for utilitarian quilts. The basic premise is a flower with multiple petals branching off a central spiral. Let's just say that I took great liberties with this design.

Front Side of Floral Garden
24" x 24"
First, I prefer to start my spirals from the outermost point, spiral my way into the center, than do a u-turn, spiral my back out and connect the circle. Like many things in quilting every teacher and student has their favorite way of doing things and reasons for their preferences. It doesn't make one way better or worse, just different.

Detail of Floral Garden
Showcases how I create my spirals
Leah overlapped her petals and had rounded outer points. The design just wasn't calling to me. I prefer petals with pointed ends and the overlapping looked like bad travel stitching. I played with the design on paper and created a 16 petal design that filled the space and was more pleasing to my eye.

I could have practiced the design on a whole cloth quilt sandwich, but I thought it would be more fun to whip up a simple garden quilt that would allow me to practice the design in several scales, multiple times. So, that is just what I did. The quilt is 24" square. The three floral block sizes are 12, 8 and 4 inches. I tossed in some vegetation/path sections just for fun and filled them with leaves. If this were to be a more formal piece, versus a practice piece, I would have nestled the leaves right up to the floral design, much the way stippling can surround a design to provide change in texture.

Backside of Floral Garden
Note how the tightly compacted leaves contrast
with the looser larger scale flowers, allowing the
flowers to steal the scene.

 I did opt (no surprise here) to mark each floral square with water soluble crosses on the diagonal and horizontal over vertical lines. This gave me a guide to orient the petals. I also tried Sharon Schamburg's method of hand basting the sandwich. It definitely took more time than pin basting, BUT the quilt was much easier to maneuver without pins. It folds and bunches more easily and your hands grip only the quilt, versus awkwardly resting on pins. I highly recommend giving it a try.


  1. Pretty flowers! They look like poinsettias!

    1. Danielle, I hadn't thought of it, but you are so right, my flowers do look like poinsettias. Too bad I tossed my Christmas fabric purchased 20 years ago...

  2. Great quilting! I haven't had time to sit at the machine this week ;( I have used Sharon Schamburg's method for years except I also roll my batting for quilts larger than 3'. i usually pin my quilts with this method but sometimes baste. I love doing the quilt sandwich at counter top level instead of on the floor. ~Jeanne

    1. I'm thinking I will stick with my simple method of basting for practice piecing, but when it truly counts I will use Sharon's method with hand basting. I LOVED not having any pins in the way. However, it took me significantly more time hand baste then to pin and "cork" the pins.