Susan inherited this quilt top from her dad and step-mom. You can obviously see that the design flows into kind of a “sweep”. But, to me, it looked like it could have been a Native American design. The design is merely different colored squares sewn together into an interesting design.
Susan already had the PERFECT thread for this quilt. The colors matched perfectly. When I got it home and threaded the machine and put the first stitch into the quilt, I realized it was thicker than any thread I’ve used. And, I was worried. It took some coaxing to get the thread to go through the quilt layers, but once I got it going it worked like a charm…and didn’t break, not once!
I’m glad Susan decided on a Native American quilting design. And, you know what? That thick thread REALLY showed off the design in the light-colored border. And, the batik border fabric is a wonderful companion to the quilting design and Susan’s thread. Edge-to-Edge quilting used the wavy lines and the stepping stones under the sun in the border design.
I don’t remember ever getting the chance to quilt a Native American design into a quilt, so this was a lot of fun to do. If you’re wondering where to find the border design, I took one of Meadowlyon Designs’ pantographs (named Modern Southwest) that you can find here. Their pantograph is 10 1/2″ tall, but the border of Susan’s quilt was 7 inches, I think. So, what I did was make a smaller copy of one repetition in the pantograph. I then traced it onto Golden Threads Quilting Paper (you can buy it from their website and other stores) and pinned it to the quilt top. I wanted a cornerstone, so I took the bird , enlarged it in different sizes to find the size that worked best and then traced it onto the quilting paper as well and then stitched through the quilting paper. In the past, I’ve used vellum, tracing paper, Press ‘n Seal, etc for marking quilts. But, I had this on hand and it was just sitting on the shelf, so I thought I’d try it. I actually really like it. The paper is a soft yellow, which blends with lots of colors, believe it or not. When you pull the paper off, it doesn’t leave as much paper behind, and the paper isn’t a bright white. Judge for yourself if the end product (quilting shown in the pictures above) turned out okay.
I said earlier that Susan inherited this quilt top from her dad and step-mom. Well, here’s something you don’t realize you need or would like to have until you get it. They left their quilt tops in “kits” with batting, thread, and backing included on many of the quilts; ready to be quilted. And, check out this batting! I was floored. How cool is that! The batting is marked so I know which way to load it (you need more from roller to roller than you do side to side, because the rollers will use more batting – you can read more about that in my blog post “Oops! Please Add More Batting!“).
I have a tip for loading quilt backing. I like to load backing fabric so the selvages attach to the rollers. The reason I like to do that is because the width (weft) of the fabric has a little more stretch than the length (warp) of the fabric. When I load the backing fabric to the canvas of the rollers, the fabric will stretch some. It stretches even more if I load the quilt with the width going side to side rather than roller to roller – that produces a “waistline”, as I call it, on the backing fabric. See how the top of the fabric in this picture is stretched more? That’s because it is attached to the roller canvas. The rest is not attached to anything yet. I lay batting on top of the backing fabric and then stitch a straight line across the top of the batting so that I can get the edge of the quilt top straight. I then baste the top down. After that, I will check to make sure the sides of the quilt top are straight and will stitch it down. AFTER it’s stitched down, I attach stretchy clamps to the sides of the backing fabric to hold it taut – that’s what helps keep wrinkles out of the backing fabric, where you can’t see it as you roll the quilt. So, what will happen is the backing fabric will have more of an “hourglass figure” if I load the backing with the width (weft) of the fabric going side to side than it will if I load the backing with the length (warp) of the fabric going side to side. And, the selvages have the extra thickness in its weave, so that adds to the strength where it’s attached to the roller canvas. The difference it makes for the quilt maker is that if there’s a seam down the back, it might not end up straight.
One of the best parts of my job is the variety of quilt tops and quilting designs that I get to work with each day. I learn something new with each one. I had a lot of fun with this one.
12″ wide quilting paper
18″ wide quilting paper
24″ wide quilting paper