After I had completed all of the "stabilizing" quilting in the ditch with gray thread, it was time to bring a bit of color into the 5 columns of gray tumblers that comprise the very center of the quilt.
While at a recent quilt show I was intrigued by the idea of using a variegated thread, and this beauty fit the bill perfectly!
It is a thread made by Superior Threads... SO FINE #733. Please excuse the blurry photos, my tremor has been in all of its glory recently. I really do need a camera with image stabilization!
My machine is not able to utilize cone thread, so I purchased a free standing thread holder to go along with my thread purchase. It is working wonderfully! First, using my walking foot, I quilted vertical lines inside of the center tumbler column to mimic the scrappy colored columns. Then I decided it was time to add a little bit of free motion quilting.
While my quilt is very "scrappy", many of the scraps have a decidedly "girlish" vibe to them. I did not want whoever was responsible for dispensing the charity quilts to look at the overall coloration and deem it "unisex". I was afraid that some poor little tyke would suffer ridicule when his quilt was found to contain floral fabrics. Children can sometimes be cruel, even without intention. So I decided that flowers were definitely in order, making the decision of a female recipient indisputable. Again, to echo the scrappy strips, they would be quilted vertically in the center of the first/second gray tumbler seam and third/fourth gray tumbler seam.
After a bit of time "playing" on Pinterest, I came across the perfect design. It was posted to Pinterest by coisasdaprofessoraerica.blogspot.com. After printing it out and enlarging it by over 300%, I had a design that was the right size and overall vertical flow for my quilt.
Several years ago I had learned of the technique of placing several sheets of this thin paper beneath your design and sewing through the design sheet (without thread) to make "copies" of the design on the tissue paper below. I had tried the technique and it had not worked as well as I would have hoped. More than likely it was user error! Now, however, I decided to utilize my quilting paper in an alternate way.
I placed a sheet of the paper over the design and traced it with a thin Sharpie marker. Over and over I repeated this process. Then I pinned the designs onto my quilt, using the registration marks (the tiny "z") to assure proper vertical continuation of the design.
I reduced the stitch length to 1.2 on my machine to make it easier to remove the tissue paper and tried free motion quilting just one section of the design. If I didn't like the way it looked, or if it didn't work the way I had hoped, I would only have to use my seam ripper on a tiny area. After tearing off the paper, I found that I really LOVE it and will continue with the quilting on another day when my tremor has quieted and my quilting is a little less jerky.
When I am done the two vertical columns of flowers I will continue with straight line quilting using my walking foot and then some filler quilting with my FMQ foot. For me quilt design is always a "process", completing one step at a time...with each subsequent step determined by the "look" of the quilt after each completion. I can't WAIT until I'm more steady and I can continue the fun! More to come!