Buggin Out: Machine Quilted Wholecloth
Buggin Out Wholecloth Quilt
Another practice wholecloth quilt came to being over the winter break. I challenged myself with purple Glide thread on orange cotton fabric. Yikes! At first it seemed a bit counter-intuitive, but I really wanted to have high contrasting colors so I could focus on making better stitches, lines, and curves.
I used HandiQuilter Avante 18″ longarm to create the quilt. The whole thing is stitched using free-motion quilting and rulers. There’s no computer guided quilting.
As you may know, I’m enjoying a quilting series of whole cloth quilts, like the one in this wholecloth post, this wholecloth post, and Platinum Garden, which will be seen at Road to California January 2018. As described in those previous adventures, I start with a linear quadrant design like this one:
Print the quadrant once, tape it together, and trace it onto the wholecloth four times, or simply print it four times. I opted to just print the full-size quadrant once. Note: This quadrant design is not available for free full-size download.
Once the design is traced, I isolate shapes to fill in. As long as I fill them in symmetrically, I’ll get a cool wholecloth quilt. It will look like I took time to plan this quilt, but really, I just made notes of what I stitched in each shape and repeated the design in all four quadrants.
I was be-bopping along at a good clip when I remembered to take pictures! I had the good sense to draw what I stitched, as I stitched it, on the full-size paper tracing template. It was so easy to use it as a reference. It doesn’t look like much, but here’s a peek:
The entire quilt is traced with a blue water soluble marker. Spray the quilt with water while it is still on the frame to see all the marks disappear.
Of course, if I were planning to block this quilt so it will lay/hang perfectly square, the marker could be removed at that step.
I wanted to try to snap a few different angles of the high-contrast thread. This is the center of the entire quilt. Though the original design has points converging at the center, I opted to add a big circle to cover that area. I don’t think my straight line ruler stitches would have matched. Maybe on the next practice quilt.
Filling in shapes with different densities is my favorite. It makes the piece look like it has actual light and dark values achieved only through thread.
Here are a few of my quilting goals with this design:
- Practice 1/4″ pebbles or pearls
- Practice regular pebbling as a filler design
- Practice having straight lines converge on a point
- Vary densities
Trimming the quilt is definitely an area where I need more practice. I’ll add that to my next quilt’s goal list. I think it will be much more helpful on my next time, if I trace out exactly where the edge of the quilt will fall. I really want to create designs where I do no accidentally need to chop off parts of those rascally feathers.
I’ll also be adding “work on starts-and-stops” to my next quilt’s goals, too. Each project lets me practice and learn more about what I’m stitching.
When you look at the quilt straight-on, it turned out pretty cool. The Buggin Out element I had envisioned turned into scissor handles, but that’s all up to interpretation.
Backing is pieced from extra wide backs leftover from previous quilts. I put zero thought into the backing, as you can see. For these smaller 40″ square designs, they will likely be wall hanging size, so the back isn’t as important to me. That is just me, though.
The bobbin thread is Superior Bob pre-wound bobbins in white. You can see the quilting has a different feel with out the in-your-face purple.
The second-to-last step is always binding. For the first time, I cut my binding strips only 2″ wide. My binding is machine applied to the back, and machine finished from the front. It made a very narrow and tidy finish to this wholecloth design.
My label is a short, hand-written scribble in Micron Pen .05 onto the backing fabric to say:
- My name
- Quilt name
If you make a wholecloth skill builder like this one and share it, please use the hashtag #FMFW. Why you ask? This concept has grown into a full-on book, Free-Motion Framework, shipping May of 2018. Pre-order it on AMAZON.