Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Progress on Nancy’s Hemlock

Set up for quilting: I use an open-toe embroidery foot. Before quilting, I double check for good thread balance in top and bobbing on a sample quilt sandwich. The open foot allows me complete visibility of where the needle will go. I get a better stitch when the feed dogs are engaged. It can be tedious but I prefer the stitch quality.
Basting Threads: I remove the basting stitches as I get to them. If I run over them, they can be more difficult to remove. A pair of pointed tweezers helps remove any embedded threads.

Thread Painting: After outlining the design to stabilize the sandwich, I then do the thread painting of the designs using my hands to stretch the sandwich flat as it goes under the needle. This is the stage where the details of the design really come to life.

Importance of Specimens: One of the little cones turned sideways was confusing, the specimen helped clarify lines. Check out the size comparison of the specimen to my design.

Echo Quilting: Once the outlining and the thread painting are completed, I begin the echo quilting. The echo quilting on Hawaiian quilts has always fascinated me, so I riff off them with machine quilting to emphasize the negative spaces (the spaces around the designs) on my quilts. I love the rhythm and texture that builds up.

Chocolate: The first round of quilting is the most difficult and time consuming as that is when many of the details are filled which requires lots of turning of the sandwich and short lines of stitching. I line up the next round of quilting with the presser foot so that the previous line just shows inside the foot. After about 3-4 rounds, the quilting gets easier with smoother curved quilting lines and begins to go faster. The first several quilting rounds are tedious and a piece of chocolate helps me gather strength for the next round. I finish the quilting by going back into the small isolated areas of background and quilt them. Again, chocolate comes to the rescue. The quilt seems totally different when the quilting is done. This is why I quilt rather than paint.

Blogger Jill asked why I use heavy weight fabric on the back. Jill, it reduces the likelihood that I will have any tucks in the backing fabric. Good question.

Blogger Valerie – hope this answered some questions about quilting.

We really appreciate hearing from those following our blog.

-- Nancy Cook


  1. Looks great, Nancy. Can't wait to see it at our meeting on Tuesday!

  2. Nancy, I saw your work in Charlotte at the quilt show in March and was in awe--it was wonderful. But you say that you quilt with the feed dogs up--so what you do isn't considered free motion quilting? Is this true?

  3. Laura, thank you so much for your comments. Yes, I leave the feeddogs up, needle down and change sewing speed when required to make turns and corners. My Pfaff has built in walking foot, or dual feed system, and that really helps. Nancy