Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quilting Along with Leah Day - Week 45

Front Side of Week 44 & 45 Practice Piece
December 21, 2012 has come and gone and the world did not to come to end. Not that I was worried. However, I have been struggling with the idea that Week 45 of Quilt Along with Leah Day would be the last assignment. I have truly enjoyed the process of tackling each new assignment. What would I do next to keep the momentum going? It seems that Leah has a whole new series of assignments she has been working on for 2013. Guess what I will be doing?

Back Side of Week 44 & 45 Practice Piece
When I am not blogging about my experience of creating under Leah's tutelage, I plan to share my personal work as well as Tricks and Tips of the Trade. Here is my first tip - there is no right way to do what needs doing in quilting. What is important is to try various ways and understanding what they are and are not good for. Which way to press a seam is a perfect example. When I started quilting, back in the Jurassic era, the hard and fast rule was to press the seam towards the darker fabric. Why? There were three reasons. One, the dark fabric, if pressed towards the light fabric might shadow through. Two, batting tended beard and therefore by covering the seam by pressing fabric over it, batting threads wouldn't sneak out through the seam to the front of the quilt. Three, most quilts were hand quilted. The quilting motif could be designed so that it never had to go through more than three layers (top, batting and backing) versus four layers (top, seam allowance, batting and backing.) My preference today is to press my seams open. Why? The seam allowance doesn't shadow through. The quilt is flatter. I choose a batting that doesn't beard. Finally, I no longer hand quilt. My machine can handle going over seam allowances.

Detail showing a tweaked "Heart Confetti"
quilting pattern. 
What that tip is really saying is that you are in charge of your design and your technique. There is so much praise I could heap on Leah, but I will share one thing here that I appreciate about her. Leah encourages experimentation. She does not insist that things be done her way. Of course her way has come from experimenting and learning what works best for her. In this week's assignment, "Heart Confetti" I diverged from Leah, once again. What I liked about the design was the hearts, the echoing and the pivoting. I'm still not sold on overlapping designs. I did overlap a few hearts in the beginning, but quickly swapped out the overlaps for tripling and even quadrupling my echoes instead. I actually find it less confusing to pivot and echo a design than to overlap. Of course my goal wasn't to cover a big area quickly with an overall pattern. I just want to quilt hearts in the star section of my quilt.

A back side detail of my version of "Heart Confetti."

Once I completed "Heart Confetti", or perhaps I should rename it "Throbbing Hearts", I tried out my own pattern, "Starry Night" in the border. It is done by creating a short curvy line, then a five pointed star, followed by another short curvy line which precedes to spiral first in and then back out again (much easier than travel stitching) then repeat.

"Starry Night" seen from the front.
"Starry Night" as it appears on the back.
I am so grateful that our journey with Leah is not coming to a halt, but will continue on into 2013. I hope you will join me in a year filled with the joy of creating.


  1. You're the best Gwyned! I'm so glad you will be quilting along with me again next year!

    I had to laugh at your refusal to quilt overlapping designs. You've actually turned these into totally different design types! I would label your starry sky an Independent design and your Throbbing Hearts a pivoting or echoing design.

    Of course, the labels don't really matter. What matters is quilting it the way you want it to look and the way that feels best for YOU!

    Definitely pursue your itch to explore more and share. You have wonderful skill with a camera and I'm sure your tips and tricks are going to be as wonderfully practical as you are.

    Enjoy the holiday and see you next year!

    1. Actually, I tried the overlapping designs, but found they didn't work for me for two reasons. One is that I quickly get tangled/lost in the pattern and can't tell where I have been or where I need to go next. Two, I find I prefer the aesthetics of a clearer design.

      I read your comment to my husband, Dana. He is my photographer and appreciated the compliment. He has enjoyed developing his photo skills. I do the photo manipulating in PSE to help with cropping, sizing and keystoning.

  2. Love the heart variation. Must say I also struggle with the overlapping designs, seeing that I practiced keeping a more or less concise distance for other designs for most of the year.

    1. Thank you, Karin. It's our practice. I felt I should give everything a try - but still have fun. At least that is my excuse. I tend to be a rebel in any class I take. I just can't resist branching off from the starting assignment and seeing what would happen if... Perhaps if I could see a way to work overlapping elements into my work then I would break through the struggle to get to where I needed to be.

  3. You are so great at this! Love your "starry night" example. I hope to do much more practicing this winter. I agree with you; Creating does bring joy!

    1. Thank you, Pamelyn. I do have the advantage of years of FMQ behind me. Most of that practice was VERY rudimentary, but in recent years I have gotten more courageous with the quilting patterns I attempt. It is good to finally have my FMQ skills at least close to my piecing and design skills.

  4. I'm very impressed with your quilting.

    We did all learn a lot this year just following along with Leah. I was starting from more of a beginning point, so I didn't follow along with each lesson although I did end up using quite a few of her patterns in what I was doing.

    But mostly it was fun, wasn't it?