Monday, February 15, 2016

Humming Along Nicely

In my ongoing attempt to finish things, I have been working on this hand applique piece that I began in a David Taylor class last August. You can read about that experience here.  I finished the hummingbird quickly, but the piece had taken up residence on my spare bed along with a number of other UFOs. (For non quilters, UFOs are unfinished objects ;-). I just didn't know how I would quilt the background as my free motion quilting skills are rudimentary at best, and I didn't want to take a chance of ruining the piece. Knowing that it would just stay there indefinitely, I decide to do a simple crosshatch pattern for the background. The internet was full of tips and various methods for crosshatch quilting. You could use the bar which came with your machine, blue one inch painter's tape and stitch along the edge, or do as I did and use a hera marker.

Because my blog also acts as a journal for me, I'll explain what I did and learned in the process in hopes that it may help others and perhaps refresh my memory the next time that I do cross hatching. First, I layered and pin basted my top, batting, and backing. Next, I placed a yardstick diagonally for my first line which I creased with the hera tool pictured above and then proceeded to stitch it using a 3.0 stitch length.  I made another line one inch on each side of the first line. I had read that it is a good idea to alternate the direction of your stitching. . . the first line went from the top left to the bottom right, the second two lines on either side of it went from the bottom right to the top left, the third lines from the top left to the bottom right, etc.  That is done to help keep things straight and flat; I hope my explanation of the process makes sense. After I finished all the seams in one direction, I started on the opposite direction. As you can see in the photo above, I only had a few more lines to quilt when it occurred to me to take these reference photos. The finished piece will be 25x23 inches.

So, now the middle of the piece is completed and I only need to quilt the borders, add a hanging sleeve, and finish the binding. By the way, how do you like the eye of the hummingbird? In photography, we always try to have a 'catch light' in the eye to give the subject life. I could have created it with a dab of white paint, but I found the perfect little piece of fabric to create the desired  effect.

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