In the home stretch…

The quilting is done!

I chose to do my curvy meandering fill stitching that is reminiscent of leaves and flourish-y shapes in the white background areas to contrast all the linear stitching on the cups and flourishes.

I stitched with Bottomline thread which is generally used in the bobbin, it’s a lighter weight thread, because I wanted the stitched lines to be more subtle.

cropping and binding.

What I learned…
Because I like experimenting and trying things differently, I always learn something new with every project. Sometimes I discover a great new way of working and sometimes it turns out that my initial idea created unexpected challenges or wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped.

As you may recall, I used wool rayon felt instead of batting, because I wanted a flat smooth finish for this piece. I used felt a friend had given me that she most likely had sitting around for about 15 years. I had two issues that popped up from using this.

The first one was the stiffness of the felt, compared to batting, made it more difficult for manipulating under the harp of the machine. I think 30 inches would be the widest I would recommend working with felt. Wider than that and I could see some definite limitations to quilting the surface smoothly. I had to roll and fold the piece to work the central areas which sometimes got a little cumbersome.

The second issue came about after I fused my top to the felt. I had a fair amount of rippling of the top due to it not fusing completely in all areas or staying fused for the duration of the quilting (it’s possible there may have been a finish on the felt that kept it from adhering), as well as some possible shrinkage of the felt by the high temperature and steam used while fusing.

After the cups and flourishes had been quilted there was a significant amount of buckling in the white areas, I don’t think the fusible web was even sticking anymore at that point, luckily the open areas were not very large, maybe 9″ at the widest so it didn’t present too much of a problem and it all smoothed out nicely with the quilting.

Conclusion: would I use felt again? Yes, but I would take size into consideration, if I was working on a particularly large piece I would probably use a lightweight batting instead. I would also pretest the wool to make sure I didn’t have a problem with adhesion when fusing. I think a newer piece of wool felt wouldn’t have had the adhesion problems that this one had, I suspect it had a finish on it.

10 Responses to “In the home stretch…”

  1. Deb says:

    It’s a beautiful piece of art. I love the quilting as it has so much movement. Would love to drink a cup of tea out of one of those beautiful cups! Marvelous work.

  2. Yes this is a beautiful piece and I will have to find some rayon felt batting…this looks so smooth and yest has a great texture I would love to feel. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  3. Monica says:

    Felt is often hard to work on as wool felt has all the limitations of a natural fiber and the synthetic felt does not take heat and steam. You have mastered quilting it very well and it look gorgeous.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Gorgeous. Plain and simply gorgeous. There isn’t a better word. I hope someone offers to create a line of tea cups using your design. The quilting is spectacular. I know that this is even more beautiful in person. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned and I will remember to test before using! Wishing you a beautiful day.

  5. Rachel says:

    Thanks, Judy, appreciate your conclusions about working with felt. The quilting is FABULOUS.

  6. Erilyn says:

    Very, very nice! I don’t know about doing so much painting with my work – but I do aspire to do a little of what you achieve 🙂 The quilting is fantastic!

  7. Laura T says:

    What a beautiful piece of art and I always love seeing your process. The quilting always compliments the piece. I would so love to take a class and hope to be able to in the future!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous!! I love how the quilting turned out. Another spectacular piece!

  9. Needleit says:

    I keep looking at the photos again and again amazed at the flow of your stitching. So beautiful and effortless looking.

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