The latest Maritime Beauty is basted and I took a day to ponder how to quilt it. This piece will be used as a workshop sample and, as tempting as it is to cover it in glorious feathers, the truth is that not everyone is comfortable doing free motion quilting. Often calling ourselves quilters can be a bit of a misnomer as many of us piece...but hand the actual quilting off to someone else. It's one thing to conquer foundation piecing the spikes and sewing the curves of a New York Beauty, and quite another to figure out what to do next. It isn't much encouragement to a beginner quilter to say, "oh, just add some free motion stitches - it's easy!" It isn't easy.
I've sewn a good many of these pieces and have quilted every one of them a different way. Looking back, they are pretty much a testament to my progress as a machine quilter. The one on the left below is my original version; it lives on my kitchen table and has been washed a good many times. It is quilted in circles using a walking foot, with all the seams outlined 1/4" away. The only free motion on this piece is the bit of stippling between the spike points. As simple as it it, I love how the circles show up; when I sit at the table, I have the urge to place something in each of those pronounced round spots. The picture on the right shows a later version, made in a similar colourway. There are squiggly lines that almost look like tendrils stitched free motion in the centre of each circle and in middle.
When I made a Christmas version, I free motion quilted holly leaves in each circle. It was a big step for me to do this and I felt really proud of this accomplishment!
It gave me the courage to quilt dainty bows in this floral version. Across the centre I even attempted to add a twisted ribbon. The striped binding makes this piece; it reminds me of peppermints. I can remember how excited I was to find it at dayle's, as it complemented these Robert Kaufman prints so well.
Skipping ahead, this last one I did using Mrs Pugsley's gorgeous fabrics was heavily quilted in feather wreaths using a gold metallic thread. I love it. The quilting just flows around and around, moving your eye over the surface. This is from the back, you can see the front of the piece in my header photo. (There may be a kit left for this one if you are interested.)
Back to the Maritime Beauty at hand. It seemed fitting to do one with mostly straight line quilting, with the walking foot in place. You can see that I have stitched everything in the ditch first (witness the yellow checked spike on the right) and am now going back to add some detail quilting. I am using the edge of the foot as a guide around the patches.
This was a spur of the moment decision to add a 1" grid to the circles and I am not unhappy with the look...although it does resemble the top of my mattress a bit. It will be interesting to see how the finished product turns out; I've never met a Maritime Beauty I didn't love!
If you are interested in trying your hand at one, the pattern can be found here.
PS Bernie, I no longer have your email address but just want to say thank you for all your lovely comments; they are appreciated.