I have finally moved past just outline quilting the applique shapes of my "All Around the Town" quilt (Sue Garmon). The outlining is pleasant because it requires no marking and very little thought. That kind of mindless quilting was perfect while I was sick recently.
This weekend I started adding texture and personality to the actual applique shapes. The outline quilting makes the shapes a little puffy (which I'm not crazy about), even though I use a minimal loft cotton batt. I add quilting to tame that effect (and it also further anchors the applique pieces). I like to hide little quilting motifs that reflect my personality (see the peace sign on the brick building? it's a subtle message...).
I love trees and nature, so I decided to reflect that by filling the trees with hearts.
When I use architectural fabrics on buildings, I challenge myself to quilt them with little filler motifs that "match," like these roofing fabrics.
I am also adding fill to the large grassy lawns of each house.
Some of the little features get a few quilting details.
There's a better picture of one of the quilted corners here on the Civil War Bride Blog where the quilting shows up pretty well. Susi of Susi's Quilts used a loftier batting on her finished Bride quilt, and her beautiful quilting is shown at a good advantage, as seen here, also on the Civil War Bride Blog.
The low loft of the cotton batting doesn't quilt with enough dimensional contrast...there's no shadow, not enough cool 3-D effect. When I look at the pictures, I even doubt that it is hand quilted, and I quilted it! All that work and effort on hand applique and hand quilting, and I blew it on my batting choice! When it was hanging in a show last year, I overheard someone comment, "it's not even quilted..." I died right then and there...
That is one reason I decided to use natural colored quilting thread on this quilt which has so many dark fabrics. I used a low loft batt again, but wanted to stitches to be seen. I'm still not happy. When I made "Home Sweet Home," I used an heirloom wool batt.
It was a little harder to make tiny stitches, but I managed to do it. It had enough loft for my quilting to really stand out. It also has a beautiful drape.
The wool was a little more expensive, but I think I've finally learned my lesson.
If you are a hand quilter, is there a particular batt you like to use?!?
Thank you for all your input on Block of the Month programs (see my last post if you would like to wade in and post an opinion). As this post is SO-O-O long, I will talk about that next time.