I hold the notion that most times it’s the final 10% of your quilting decisions that make or break your quilt. I think I have way more that 10% of work left, but only a few decision areas left. All of those revolve around the border.
I have gridded the border, no small task and a first for me. I did not decide until late in the game to grid the border and that is what created the problem. At that point, the center of the quilt had been heavily quilted and the unquilted border was one floppy, wavy mess, see below. Try to mark on that!
A notion I cannot live without: my 72″ steel carpenter’s ruler. It sure helps to try to get that border grid marked properly.
Even worse, the fabric I chose was extremely difficult to mark: Grunge Basics by Moda. It’s a fabulous fabric but in this particular color, a nightmare to mark:
I tried a zillion things, only the ones that were even in the running are in the photo. Yes, I tried a white marker (muddled line), Crayola washables (none of the colors showed up on all of the fabric parts), Frixion (no way! I’m the one that wrote That Post about Frixion pens), quilting pencils (never had luck getting pencils out) and a variety of other notions.
My assessment of each marking system above: the top one, a ceramic marker by Bohin (there are other makers of ceramic markers), not sturdy enough to last many pushes of the quilt through the harp of the machine. The soapstone, second from the bottom. This one was a close second, but left too wide of a mark no matter how well I shaved that point with a precision sharpener. The water erasable on the bottom, barely visible on the dark fabric.
The simple Hera marker, second from the top was the top pick. It left a clear, thin mark that I will have no trouble getting out. It was a pain to use – on this dark fabric I had to score 7 times on each line. That was a lot of muscle power! It literally wore me out. But it worked. No telling how that weakened the fibers….
Well, it kinda worked. The marking problem with this grunge was the light splotches all over. In those areas, ANY marking that showed up on the dark was absolutely invisible on the light splotchy areas. Ugh. It was a no-win. I did my best.
I used my 97D foot and engaged the Dual Feed system on my BERNINA. I am not a fan of the walking foot. Sometimes you have to use it, but I did fine with the DF system. Any walking foot has that big ‘ole butt that I find it annoying to work with. The Dual Feed did not get in my way.
I did lighten the presser foot pressure, lengthened my stitch length to 3.0 and used 28 wt Aurifil. Aurifil is great that way, their colors match across all of their thread weights. In this quilt I used color #2440, Peony, in 50, 28 and 12 wt.
See those splotchy light areas in the above photo? I was quilting blind in those areas, fixing my eyes ahead on the darker areas where I could see the line. I had to imply the line where I could not see the mark, hence a bit of wave in my grid, no way around it.
BTW, I originally thought I would do ruler work, then I would not have to mark the lines. I realized that would not work. As I quilted around the quilt, I would get off ever so slightly as I went around and there was no way I would end up with the same angle and spacing at the end. I could have marked it intermittently, no? Sure, could have done that but then how was I to know how much to correct it, etc. It had to be marked and walked.
I have a little bit of gridding left to stitch and I have a few other things to think about. I originally wanted to add additional lines between the grid I have already stitched:
I probably won’t add those extra lines. I like the look but it is a ton of work and because my grid is a bit wonky, I think those extra lines might emphacize the wonky. I do like the idea of random beading, not a bead on every intersection.
I have a plethora of other choices and decisions for my border:
I showed this last week, a mixed button border. I did experiment with sewing those on with my machine using the #18 foot, worked like a charm. I sewed those buttons on in a snap. I tried that lighter binding fabric and did not like the look. Although it blended with the lighter color on the edge of the table cloth, it was too abrupt and I nixed it.
How about a rick-rack outer edge and darker buttons plus beads?
Or lighter buttons with the rick-rack border and beads?
How about a rick-rack border with both colors of buttons plus beads?
Which grid might work if I added lines?
Ooo, how about a Prairie Point border? Okay, that darker fabric disappears, but it gives me an idea. I would add beads to the grid.
At the moment the Prairie Points most appeal to me but I need to do a lot more work on the fabric, the size, spacing, etc.
Here’s part of my dilemma. I want this to be a happy quilt that reminds me of simpler times. I do not want it to go heirloom, traditional, I want something unexpected and joyful. I am still pondering my choices.
With each quilt I make, I create a Mission Statement to keep me on track. For this quilt, I have more of a vision than an actual statement. I want it to remind me of north central Illinois summers growing up, with mosquitoes, chiggers and lightning bugs, eating from our huge garden – raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans. I’d leave home on my bike after breakfast and not return until dinner, no worries. Life was simple and humble.
Another thought-thread for this quilt is that the table cloth is a lot like me – lightly stained and worn, with a few holes here and there.
It might sound odd, but as I near the end of this quilt, I want to keep those visions in mind and somehow create a quilt that reminds me of those things and feels personal.
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday!
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