A Day of Stitching

Quilting can be a pain in the neck...especially for me. I have a metal plate in my neck. It would be nice to say I got it from being some kind of superhero, but actually, it comes from my years as a competitive swimmer. Have you ever watched how a backstroker comes off the starting block?

You throw your head back and leap backwards as far as you can. Do that about a hundred million times in your life, and you'll give yourself a case of whiplash. As much as I try to relax my neck and shoulders, a day of stitching will send me looking for an ice pack to ice my aching neck and shoulders. Does this stop me from spending pretty much a whole day quilting? Not on your life. It actually only hurts when I stop and try to resume a normal posture. This is a minor inconvenience since 20 minutes of icing takes care of it. A small price to pay for a day of fun.

Here's what I did yesterday. I'm into the patchwork sections at the top and bottom of the quilt now. All of the longer green strips have more bird feet in them. For the smaller patchwork sections, I used Lori Kennedy's "Doodle Heart" design to quilt hearts into each one.

It's a surprisingly simple design, and I mastered it on my first practice try before moving onto the quilt. My quilting friend Marei and I were bemoaning the fact that this is not a continuous line design. In other words, each heart is stitched individually, and you must cut thread and bury your tails at the end of each. (I buried mine all at the same time.) Here's how it looks from the back.

I was thinking it would be possible to stitch this in horizontal rows using a little loopy heart between each one to connect them. I tried unsuccessfully to draw it out, but imagine using a heart similar to this one to connect a horizontal row of Doodle Hearts.

It could be done with a little practice, and it would be cute in a border or sashing. Something to ponder for future quilts.

So I finished all the smaller patches, and then I was ready to move on to the larger sections. I wanted to do some sort of flower filler there, and so I checked YouTube to find something I liked. I came up with this video for "Feathered Flower" by Amy Johnson.

If you can't see the video, click right here

This isn't so different from the Swirling Feathers I did for the free motion quilting sampler.

The difference is that Amy's design only includes two loops in the center, and she's not echoing around the feathers when she finishes them off. It seemed like a smaller design. My areas to stitch aren't large, so I opted for using Amy's design. It's a little hard to see on this first section since the fabric prints are fairly busy.

It might be easier to see from the back.

Here's a larger section with a less busy fabric.

I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't look more like flowers, but it's fine for a filler, and so I'm going to leave it and finish up the rest in the same way. When I stopped to ice my neck yesterday, I'd done two sections at the bottom left of the quilt. 

I should have time to finish off the last of the quilting today. And I snapped that image just before the quilt inspector showed up.

Today she's testing the quilt for snuggle-ability.

I give this quilt an A+ for snuggle-ability, Mom!

Here's how it's looking from the back. (I still need to outline the birds' wings.)

Today is a grocery shopping day. Word from our CSA farmers is that I can pick up 40 lbs. of Roma tomatoes from them tomorrow, and so I'm gathering supplies for a weekend of lotsa pasta sauce. It's a lot of work while I'm doing it, but so gratifying to see all those quarts of pasta sauce lined up on my pantry shelves. Also, the plums are ripe! I'll fit in some time for plum chutney while I'm at it.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Robin in Portland Oregon said...

Just a question as I have a furry sewing inspector too - Do you machine wash your quilts before you send them to shows and such? If you do how does it change the quilt from pristine, pressed fabric? And does it matter in a quilt show whether it's been machine washed or not? If you don't wash them how do you get the cat hair off adequately? I've noticed so many quilt bloggers, even those with ETSY shops let their cats on their unfinished quilts. I've always wondered what they do to get the cat hair off before sales and shows. I want to make charity quilts someday, but I don't have a designated cat free room to sew in. Besides she's company. What do you do? Thanks.

WoolenSails said...

Well that is a fun fact I didn't know about you. I notice that I can craft for hours and not notice the pain, until I stop:) I do try to get up and stretch every so often and with the warm weather I can swim in the pool for a bit to relax my muscles. Love seeing your stitching and something I need to start practicing.


quiltzyx said...

Nice fun feather filler flower for the baby birdies! (Awesome Alliteration if I do say so myself!)
Have fun with your forty lbs of Killer Tomatoes too.

Christine M said...

I knew there was a reason why I didn't do swimming, only learnt and then stopped! Your quilting is looking good, Barbara.

Dana Gaffney said...

When I look at the "flowers" in the quilt, not the close up, I see flowers and it looks very pretty. I think the heart would look great continuous, I've seen something like that before with a big heart and a little heart.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Super job on the baby quilt and glad to see Sadie takes her job seriously.

gpc said...

Wow, another thing I didn't know and never would have guessed about you! Endlessly impressive. I love the hearts and really love the idea of a heart border. If I ever finish the trillion projects already on my task list, I am gonna try that FMQ thing, even though you have set the bar impossibly high. :)

Kate said...

It's amazing how all the "good" things we did when we were young, come home to "bite" us when we are older. I have the neck thing too, left over damage from a bicycle accident. The quilting looks great!

Brown Family said...

Very nice hearts and flowers!