Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quilting Black-on-Black, Part I

Black thread on black fabric seems like a good choice at the time. Then you realize you can't see where you're going, and how-the-heck are you going to mark any lines?

There are 4 corner triangles and 12 side triangles to fill in the Roxanne's Honeymoon quilt.
This is a totally different version of a Mystery Quilt from back in January
Yes, the one that was supposed to be finished in January! (hey, it's only 8 months later...)( the top was done in January!)
It is entered in the huge "local"quilt show, so it has to be done by Sept. 12 Turn-In Day. And do stay tuned for more of my blatant insanity, as I have another unfinished entry, too!
I started in a corner with a loose meandering, and that really unravelled my brain as I decided to do fancy side fillers! Usually one goes from complex to simple...I have to be different!
I wanted Celtic designs (at this point I cannot account for my thought process, other than I have always wanted to do this) but how to get them onto that black fabric?
I couldn't just go free stitching, as the black makes it impossible to see where you've been....and don't you hate that un-quilted puff in the middle of everything after you think you are through? (you know what I mean!).

So my Big Idea was the draw the designs freehand on some special paper:
Cherry-Cherry gave me this Golden Paper, one of her favorites.

And as a helpful resource, I have some books:
I'll give you a list in Part II..there is one more!

And to hold the paper down without a lot of pins tearing at the paper as it is quilted, I thought of basting spray!
Some pins, some spray
CRITICAL TIP: just a little spritz on the corners & center! All that paper has to come off, and I have some tiny areas in these designs!
Sometimes the paper has to be adjusted as you go to keep the design inside the triangle

Large open areas are no trouble at all, but that little double line (a very important part of Celtic designs) would be tricky to get the paper out of.
I realized if I just used the paper for the main design areas, they would be broken into smaller sections.
Stitch the outline, then work in one area at a time
I could fill those in by eye, drawing with the needle according to the sketch I made.
Keep the torn off section for a reference

The main thing to remember is that you are following a line...sort of...but that line no longer exists once the paper is gone (or blue line is washed out, or chalk rubbed off, etc.). Your stitching becomes the line, and it cannot be compared to how "on or off" it is!

There are several leaf shapes in there somewhere!

So that worked out pretty well, until I got tired of scraping off all the little paper bits.
TIP: Scratch with your fingernail going the same direction as the sewing won't pull against the stitches and stretch them. (OK, I know you will really pick at them any direction possible, because I did , too! But they might wash out as well.)

Now let's add insult to injury and discuss my bad choice of quilting thread.
I have a lovely salmony pink that matches the back...what was I thinking? Of course it shows up on the BLACK top!
And how many times have I said I will sacrifice the back to make the top look good? Hmmmmm????? The chickens are coming home to roost!
I am sparing you a picture, because A) it's really not that bad unless you are up close, and B) I can't take a picture that close.
I am using a very thin black thread and liking how that looks on the black fabric.

Those who know me have been asking this question: How long did you stick with your drawing & quilting on paper?
You know me so well.
It's true, after 3 paper triangles it was too much work, and I have now resorted to blocking out areas with a chalk marker!
The less you need to mark, the more freedom you have

It's easier to do the fill-in patterns free-hand after you've followed several sketched out ones. This will be a flower, the Welsh Rose, with it's big decorative leaves.

Check in soon for Part II, when I have the last of the side triangles done!
There's quite a bit more quilting to do on this, but as long as I have the black thread loaded, I'll launch into The Black T-Shirt Quilt!

With a Very Big Thank You to Cherry-Cherry & Rita who helped me baste TBTSQ this afternoon...a nasty story that will wait for another day! (Hint: "vintage" polyester "black" batting!).


Anonymous said...

You say "Celtic Quilting", but I happen to have that book, and I happen to know that that is WELSH quilting in the pictured illustration, and I know *that* because I have loved Welsh quilting motifs for years and years and years. I have a folder full of references, and if I (ahem) ever finish quilting the main part of my Amish-style quilt (by hand, black on black, aieee), I intend to put Welsh-style quilting in the borders.

Hurray for you, and for those great quilting designs!

The Mysterious Ms. E!

SHERRY said...

I'm happy to see that so far you are making that "black on black" quilting thing happen. Since I have not one, but two, of them coming up soon. What were we thinking???

Sunnie said...

Thanks to Ms. E for the correction!
What WAS I thinking?
Probably the black-on-black quilting had my brain befuddled.

Watch out, CC! I thought you only had one coming biggest tip would be to use black thread in the bobbin, no matter what the back fabric will look like!