Although my posts to this blog have been infrequent since my arrival back in France mid March, needle and thread have not been completely idle. There are currently "boutis" works in progress, some new, (more on that at a later date), and the "little sister" Bernina has been out for a spin around some placemats.
Just prior to leaving Vancouver, I had assembled and pieced these 8 placemat tops so they were ready to be machine quilted. (see my post of March 8/2013).
|Tops are pieced and backing is cut to size.|
The quilting design had also been completed back in March. The amount of detail that I include in the designs for free motion quilting (FMQ) varies with each project. Sometimes I prefer to draw just a few basic registration lines on the quilt and let the needle and thread inspire the quilting, other times, when the look is more formal, and balance and symmetry are important, I prefer to use a fairly detailed pattern, as I did with these placemats. In this pattern, I used elements of a design that I had made for a tablecloth several years ago. (see my posts of Aug. 25, 2011 and Sept.2, 2011.)
Several weeks ago, I finally had the time to work on them again and to get them done. Tracing the pattern took a while, but the final result was worth it. From past experience, I have learned that investing the time up front in prep work, makes for a more accurate and efficient process.
For most machine work, my preferred marking tool is the blue, water erasable marker, such as the one Clover sells. To wash it off, I use a clean sponge, dipped in water, and lightly wipe off the marks. No damage is done to the fabric.
|Placemats drying after the marks have been erased.|
The red and white toile de jouy was bought several years ago in a little village near where we live. There was exactly enough of it left from a previous project to make these 8 placemats. Now that, was a bit of good luck.
|The finished placemats.|
6 of the 8 completed placemats arranged one on top of the other. The top was quilted with an off-white thread.
Because I prefer a tone on tone quilting thread, the choice of an off-white fabric for the top and a terracotta fabric for the back became a challenge. When FMQ something with one light side and one dark side, thread tension is always a problem, unless the same colour of thread is used top and bottom. In this case, I did not want the contrast of different shades of thread, so I spent a lot of time fussing with the tension to prevent a terracotta thread from popping to the top or a white thread showing up on the terracotta backing . Next time, I will use similar shades of colour for the fabrics for the front and back of whatever it is that I am quilting and avoid this problem entirely.
Each project that I work on is a learning experience, and the challenges that present themselves, like the thread tension did on these placemats, are opportunites to learn and improve.