For weeks and weeks, months and months, and years and years - basically what seems like forEVER - the purple pinwheel quilt has been on my radar - most recently to finish it up and get it off to my friend Beth for a refugee family.
At this point, I'm working on the quilting. Specifically, the quilting to secure the floral applique shapes in the borders. As a side note, I don't have a long arm machine and do all my quilting on a large domestic sewing machine.
You may recall that the quilt center is made of pieced pinwheel blocks and squares, set on point. I added two rounds of bias vines and secured the vine edge with a buttonhole stitch.
I then added the flowers around the border and sandwiched the quilt top, with the intention to secure the flower shape edges AND quilt the layers at the same time.
But that sequence has presented a few challenges.
For starters, I began quilting the center pinwheel area, then realized that some of the applique petals were holding up okay, but not great.
I decided to secure the applique edges first, then finish the pinwheel center later.
You can see from the photo above, most of the fusible is holding just fine, but some of the petal points are beginning to peel away.
Not to worry, a quick touch up with a hot mini-iron does the trick to bring the points in check.
A million options here, I chose to secure the applique edges with a buttonhole stitch, using the walking foot.
I knew that meant I'd be turning the quilt around and around, and that's fine, although a bit time-consuming, but that's fine too.
When quilting, I try to minimize stops and starts to reduce the number of thread ends to bury.
I start each flower in the lavender center. . . .
. . . Then follow a path around three petals, like a trillium.
Then when those three petals are secured, I rotate slightly and secure the remaining three petals. Sorry, I know this photo is a little confusing with arrows going everywhere . . . Not that far from reality, in fact!
At each point, the whole quilt is turned and either supported by my sewing table or my lap.
It's cumbersome, but not as bad as you might think. At least I don't think so.
Once the center 'double trillium' is secured, I secure each of the remaining partial petals.
This is definitely more tedious, with one start and stop for each of six petals per flower.
The result is a messy tangle of strings, or thread ends.
I make asquare-knot and bury half the threads from the back and half from the front using a self-threading needle (a needle with an open eye that allows me to snap the thread ends on to the needle, then pull the threads through and snip them close to the quilt fabric).
The resulting flower, edges secured and layers quilted is shown below. Originally I considered adding some bright yellow or orange French knots in the center of each flower, but there's a lot of thread bulk intersecting there and I may let that detail go.
Could I have taken a different route with a different stitch? Sure. But I'm good with the way this looks.
It takes me about 30 minutes to complete these steps for one flower.
There are 28 flowers around the perimeter of the quilt. During my daily sewing session, yesterday morning I reached a point where I have more done than I have left to do. A milestone! Eleven to go
Once those last 11 flowers are secured, I'll finish quilting the quilt center and the rest of the borders. And I think that part will go very fast.
I can almost see the promised land!
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