Sunday, November 16, 2014

Working On Celtic Solstice

Both yesterday and today, I worked very hard on my Celtic Solstice. It is a great quilt and I'm very proud of how it's coming out even though it isn't quite finished yet.

THANK YOU to Bonnie K. Hunter for great designs and great instructions!!! If you have never visited her blog, Quiltville's Quips & Snips, then you should go and explore it!

Yesterday was my "piece the backing" day. Lately, I've gotten fat and lazy about my backing fabrics by just buying oatmeal-colored wide woven cottons. But I had a fabulous 8 yard piece of forest green flannel with cream colored stars by David Textiles that had been bought at Marden's of Sanford, Maine. I took it to the local laundromat to prewash it as a whole piece in one of their front loaders. An 8 yard piece would kill my old top loader with it's agitator.
Flannel shrinks. Period. You gotta prewash it in hot water and dry it HARD to make it safe to use on the back of your quilt. But I was fearful that with this big 89" square queen quilt top that I might not have enough length of backing to use it after prewashing.
So I held my breath. After all that, I measured out 41" width-of-fabric swaths that were in three even lengths. My neighbor, Ilse, helped me with the big folds until we got it perfectly even. It measured 99" for each swath! Yippeee!
That was enough to sew two long seams on the three pieces for a backing. I did trim the third swath to a 20 1/2" wide width to remove the excess. Ahh, a 99" square!

I also had some angst about my queen sized packaged batting of Warm & Natural by the Warm Company. It listed the contents as  90" by 108", which made me fearful that there would not be enough extra width for quilting on a longarm.

At Ellen Peters' "Cat's Whiskers" quilt studio in Laconia, New Hampshire, we were delighted to open the package to find that the actual measure of the width was 96". Yippee!! Thank you, Warm Company!

So today, Ellen got me all loaded up on her 24" HandiQuilter Fusion and I was off to quilting the top.

Ellen is a wizard at loading the quilt.

There are several steps to it, and they must be done in the right sequence. For all the quilts that I've done there, I am as stupid at loading quilts as Jonathan Gruber (Obamacare author) thinks I am as a voter, LOL!

For the quilting, I tried my very best to do Angela Walter's Paisley Feathers in the wide green borders. Her video is wonderful and I watched it over and over to learn her technique. Thank you, Angela!  Her link is here. 

Those feathers consume more time, effort, and thread than I wanted to invest on the whole quilt, so I just did the feathers on the borders and big loose spirals in the body of the quilt's center, instead of the paisley feathers. It was challenging to go back and forth between the two patterns as I worked across the panels of visible work area.

My thread choice was a variegated antique tan with a black bobbin thread. I was going for a very subtle look. It was important to me that the quilting did not obscure the piecing patterns.

Ellen wound four bobbins for me, one at a time, and also helped me to remove the quilt when it was done. A huge THANK YOU to you, Ellen!

I spent three solid hours quilting this quilt, and Boy, Howdy, was I ever tired and sore at the end of it!!!
But it was worth it!

When I got home, I made a fresh pot of New England Coffee's Chocolate Cappuccino, poured myself a mug of it and just sat. It felt great. I got my second wind and had just a bit of daylight left to trim the quilt on the dry driveway.

Tomorrow rain and possibly sleet are predicted, so it made sense to seize the day. I lopped off the excess batting and backing with titanium scissors. And a kneeling pad. I'm careful to work counter clockwise so that I am always kneeling on top of the quilt itself, too. That extra cushioning helps. Fifteen minutes later it was done.

I re-measured the quilt, now that it was quilted, and it came out 89"x 90". Go figure. The quilting didn't shrink it up this time.
As Scarlett O' Hara would say, "I'll think about binding tomorrow."

Happy sewing!


Elaine Adair said...

Oh wow, you have such a beauty here!!! And, never mention your name and that other name in the sentence!!! When I'm looking at your or your page I want to remain happy! 8-)))

BTW, I finally figured why my messages come back to me - it's when I respond from within, I believe. This one is direction from your page.

swooze said...

Lovely! Nice to be done I am sure.

Janet O. said...

Wonderful, Vic!! Angie and I were Skyping tonight and she told me how much she loves your Celtic Solstice. We discussed its beauty, and then here it is again. Just love it! Congrats on getting it quilted!!

helen said...

Wow! That was a marathon-quilting-day! Always Learning from you and thank you for the links! Congratulations!

cityquilter grace said...

it came out gorgeous is true that bonnie's patterns are great, but your color choices and piecing have made this superb....nice backing choice too, comfy flannel....and the quilting's done! it'll be in use very soon...

Nann said...

Squee! It's beautiful. And you are getting very proficient at long-arming. When will you invest in your own machine?

Melanie said...

Wow what a lovely quilt!

Megan said...

Congratulations of a sensational achievement. The quilt looks grand!

Sydney, Australia

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