It may not have escaped your notice that although there is plenty of patchwork contained within this pages, there has been little, well almost no, actual quilting. The last time I tried actual quilting was a cushion cover which did not respond well to being quilted with an ordinary sewing foot. There are lumps (although the final cushion is very comfy and much snuggled).
Given the amount of time which I spent on the Stars Quilt, and the time I am spending on the new quilt (temporarily paused while I wait for more fabric) I don't want to muck it up with the quilting, so I signed up for a day course run at The Quilters' Den in Warwick, 'Take One Flower', taught by Edwina Mackinnon.
We started with a little piece of flower fabric, about the size of a postcard, and we added a border and a background, and then we wove magic spells above the surface of the fabric and when we had finished it looked like this:
OK so it wasn't magic exactly but it was the first time that I have done proper machine embroider/quilting using a hopper foot and a big fat quilt sandwich.
We did some practice flowers first on a spare quilt sandwich, now obscured by swirls and swirls of practicing, and then moved on to step 1 - the flower:
My flower's petals were chopped off so I got to draw them back into the border to make up a whole flower again.
The rest of the fabric is filled with whatever takes your fancy - in my case flowers:
And more flowers!
All went well to begin with but I think that my sewing machine may have been operating a little bit beyond its comfort zone because it started throwing up thread all over the back of the quilt, with no discernible difference to the front, until I turned it over and saw the delightful shagpile carpet effect! I did it once by forgetting to put the presser foot down but the rest remains a mystery. I do wonder whether it could be a dodgy bobbin because I only had problems with the green. When I pieced it all together to start with it was fine, when I was practicing with black thread it was fine and to start with on the green it was fine but when I was finishing things off last night I could not get the green to set right, no matter how many times I re-threaded. I changed over to the multicolour for the background quilting and it worked straight away. Does that sound like a possible explanation?
Whatever caused it it took over an hour to pick it out the best we could - NOT an experience which I want to repeat!
The background quilting is magic multicoloured pastel thread and the pattern I tried is an attempt at leaves on a string. In some places they look like leaves, sometimes they look like coffee beans, and some times they're just loop the loop.
If I learned anything on the course it's that the quilting does not have to be perfect for the quilt to look really good - which has given me confidence to try to quilt some of my other projects waiting in the wings.
I'm made a deal with myself - when I've finished the embroidery and the Christmas presents I can go and buy the wadding and the backing for the Star Quilt and give it a whirl on the machine.
I've just one last picture for today - well I know that the first thing any crafty-minded person does is turn things over:
The back of the quilt is one of my favourite flowers - it seemed only appropriate!