Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Long Arm of Quilting

This is the most beautiful quilt ever. Of course I say that about each quilt I make, but this one truly is spectacular. Because I was making it for the bed that I share with John, I wanted to make it wide and long. Most queen quilts at 90" wide, so I wanted this one to be 100" wide. John prefers a long quilt, so the length is 114". That is a lot of fabric. I worked very hard piecing the blocks for this quilt. Since this quilt is so large and so pretty, I deciced to splurge and have a long-arm quilter work on this quilt. Normally I do my own quilting, which is straight-line and utilitarian. My machine-quilting holds the 3 layers together and reinforces the geometric lines of the quilt. Just recently I've been experimenting with free-motion quilting, but that's a skill that has to be practiced quite a bit before tackling a full-size quilt

The quilt we currently have on our bed, a white and blue log cabin, is a quilt that I had machine-quilted with an all-over pattern. That technique would not have been good enough for this Jinny Beyer "Around the World" quilt. In February 2007 I met Downers Grove quilter Judy Teska when she and I shared a 90-minute timeslot at a quilting-themed women's retreat held by the Downders Grove Congregrational Church. What a charming woman and what a talented quilter! Judy gave me the name of a long-arm quilter, Debbie of Tinley Park. Based on Judy's recommendation, I took my fabulous quilt to Debbie in February. On March 30 I returned to pick it up.

Debbie is truly an artist. She initially asked whether I wanted my blocks/design or her quilting to be dominant. When I asked her if her if the two components could highlight one another, she smiled. She suggested a varigated thread, Nordic Fjord. She worked her magic (although I must point out that she has a heavy workload and the wait time was 4 weeks). I hate to use the word spectacular again, but really it is. The photograph doesn't even begin to hint at the textural richness created by the quilting. The quilting lines are so organic and complementary to the design and the colors. It's really a work of beauty.

I can't wait to create a new quilt top that is somehow Deb-worthy.

If you're thinking this quilt looks suspiciously like the one in the Made Possible by a Grant From... in a March post, you are sort of right. These fabrics are the same, and so is the overall design. However, the first quilt posted has a Mariner's Compass center and corners. This quilt has a simpler center and corners.

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