In case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to spend less time on the computer and more time in the studio. The bad news is I’m behind on blogging and email. But the good news is I’m halfway done quilting this big work, and I’ve got another quilt cut out on the design wall and and almost ready to quilt.
This quilt is only the second one I’ve done on my Inspira Frame that I got in January, but I’m approaching it totally different than I did the Towers of Babble. I loaded that quilt according to instructions – the top on one roller bar, the batting on another bar, and the backing on a third. Because I was unsure of my ability to deal with all the little figures, I quilted the entire background like a blanket, then fused and sewed the figures on top.
Now that I look back at it, I’m not happy with that method. It looks too flat, and quilting the figures on top of a quilt seemed redundant. Not sure about if it saved or wasted time — it took me almost 60 hours to quilt it.
So with this quilt, I returned to my technique of fusing all the figures down and gluing the quilt sandwich together with 505 spray. However when I put it on the frame roller bars, some of the bigger pieces started to come off, especially the cake which is a big heavy piece of fabric.
I took the quilt off the frame and stabilized the entire thing by stitched down all the black lines with my Bernina. I usually stitch down the black lines anyway, but since I usually do that as I go along quilting from the center out, it took some faith that I would not end up with unwanted bubbly lumps. (For those who keep asking about the black lines, I’ve written about those in previous posts in the archives: “help I lost my head” and “build a bridge”.)
Then I had the idea to roll the face side out to help avoid some buckling. I’ve also learned that I don’t even have to roll the front section onto a bar — I can leave it hanging down free and control the tension of the fabric with one of my hands. This saves some time since I keep taking the quilt on and off the frame.
However I still have the most control sewing when I can control the machine speed with a foot pedal, leaving both my hands completely free to move the quilt. So for things like faces, I return the quilt to work on my Bernina.
I always try to come up with new stitching patterns for different objects, and right now I’m trying to think of something good for the cake and the bar. Sometimes I just improv these stitching patterns right on the machine. Other times I practice on paper with a pencil. I got this idea after reading a book about how Matisse did his collage cut-outs, he would practice drawing shapes on paper over and over. Then when he moved to cutting out his painted paper with scissors, he had developed a kind of “muscle memory” for certain forms. So the cutouts were skillful, but at the same time, looked fresh and spontaneous.