Saturday, June 08, 2013

Sewing, Unsewing, Resewing

I did a lot of that today. My seam ripper was my most used tool today.

I was quilting the sky on the big quilt. I started out quilting lines that echoed the shapes of the clouds. It was the same scheme I used when I quilted the sky in the Red Domes piece.

The sky in that piece bothered me a little, but I haven't been able to put my finger on just what I didn't like about it. Today I realized that all those scallop-y lines seemed a bit chaotic, so having finished one cloud portion, I picked all the stitching out.

I scratched my head for awhile, then decided that curved lines that didn't so much echo the cloud shapes as fill them might work better. So I started filling those shapes with a pattern of curved lines. Can you see it here?

Much better in my opinion. I'm not quite sure why this works so much better (at least to my eye) than the first scheme, but it does. I think I have made a discovery, but I'm unclear about what it is!

In case what I am describing is not clear in the photos, here is what I started doing:

And here is the improved version:

Deciding how to quilt a piece is always an interesting puzzle. I don't mark my quilting lines or draw them out ahead of time. I generally just look at the piece, get a feel for what I think will look best and then free-motion away. When I got to the open sky above the clouds I continued the curved lines, but found I was having a hard time getting them consistent enough in the larger area. I got one section done and it looked so awful I pulled out the seam ripper and spent another hour un-sewing again. Then I remembered having had this problem once before. Cutting a little cardboard template had worked well, and it worked again today.

I cut the curve I needed from some card stock, then I just held it against the quilt and stitched alongside it. Then I could slide it over a bit and stitch the next curved line and so on. When this sky is finished, the quilting on this quilt will be done.


  1. The card template is a great idea. Must remember that.

    Maybe you like the the second design because it gives shape by curving near the edges of the clouds, where the first design is quite a flat design? I don't know, but I agree it looks better.

  2. Anonymous6:28 AM

    I agree with you. Your second clouds are the best!! The first clouds seemed fine to me until I saw your 'new and improved' variety. Good job well done!!!!

  3. I see what you mean. Perhaps the second way of doing it moves the eye around more, rather than containing it in the shape?

    Good idea about the template. I don't mark things either, but sometimes would like something regular.

    Funny thing about the not marking bit. Here I was trying to get good at quilting and feeling bad when I compared...only to find out the people I was trying to imitate marked the quilt and then quilted! So, I am better than I thought! LOL
    Sandy in the UK

  4. I think the reason you are liking the second way of quilting better is that your lines are giving depth to the shapes-they look more 3D now. They were flatter looking before.

  5. Interesting. I've always known that quilting is what gives the quilt life (not always, but often enough to be a good enough truth). Perhaps the non-echoing lines give, as LynneP said, dimension -- real clouds don't echo shapes internally. Or maybe it just feels more like fun rather than mechanical reproduction. Anyway, I used to say that the number of seam rippers I had around was evidence of my self-critical mind (not my inability to get it right -- oh no). I think my record at one time was something like 9.

    1. Oddly enough, I think what I like better about the second try is that it gives the sky *less* dimension! It pushes it back where it belongs in the background and doesn't call as much attention to the sky, which, in my opinion, is as it should be. Sky is background, support for the buildings in front of it.

  6. I think the echo quilting puts all the clouds on the same plane and makes you notice the quilting lines (and the pattern) more. Whereas, the second way gives each cloud it's own shape. I like the second one better, too.