Monday, April 29, 2013

"Folk Art in the Vineyard" - the quilt and the scoop...

This is what I call "Folk Art in the Vineyard," and it measures 
44 x 53.  The center 12 blocks are from a pattern by Lori Smith called "Folk Art Applique."

I drafted my own borders (Lori's were lovely, but I just can't leave things alone...).

Here are close ups of the blocks...I hand quilted in both white (on the colors) and black (to outline and quilt the background).

I just can't seem to be able to photograph this quilt and capture the black-on-black quilting.  I threw the gamma out on a couple of the pictures to try and show you, but it didn't work very well.  There is a chunky, diagonal crosshatching going on behind all the blocks, then piano key quilting on the outer borders.

Here's the bottom border, and below it a picture where I adjusted the gamma to wash the color out so you can see the quilting.

I am insane and like making these grape clusters.  Quilting around all the grapes was a challenge this time (read to the end for the saga).  I was inspired to make grapes on this due to my Dad's Muscadine grape arbor.

The corners feature a quilted arch that copies the scalloped flow of the inner border and a couple of hearts.

Now, the scoop...unfortunately, there is a scoop.  

I chose a wool batting for this quilt.  I had successfully hand quilted a larger wall hanging with a wool batt a few years ago (my "Home Sweet Home" by Blackbird Designs, from a book by the same name), and wanted to repeat the enjoyable, successful process.

That older quilt was so much fun to quilt, and the finished product has such a nice drape, and it is hanging on my family room wall.

Well, this time around was not a good experience.  My wool batt was very inconsistent in thickness...normal in some places, REALLY thick in others.  I went ahead and basted it together, thinking Hobbs wouldn't sell an inferior would "quilt out."

Well, if you've hand quilted a wool batt, you know there is a little compression you have to do as you go along with your stitching.  Well, there were places that were just downright impossible to compress easily.  

I felt like I was quilting a super loft polyester batt...something you would use in a tied comforter.  I put it aside and didn't bind it, and sort of forgot about it.  I was so disappointed in choosing the wrong batt.  I took it to Sauder Village last Sunday for the show, and after some urging from the family, I entered it in AQS-Grand Rapids...7.5 hours before the deadline, LOL.  I don't have a lot of hope for it...I think the quilting quality is not good...little stitches in some places, bigger stitches in the really thick areas.  But, I like the look of the bright colors on the clear Kona black background.

(I had a DEVIL OF A TIME getting the cat hair off of it, LOL.

All you hand quilters out there...I would love to know what batt you use.  Is there a kind of wool you like?  If you have a favorite cotton, do you pre-shrink it?  I am using a Dream Cotton "select" weight on the "Baltimore Rhapsody" quilt.  I did not pre-shrink it this time.  I have pre-shrunk that brand before...especially for high school and college quilts that were machine quilted (and I knew they would get washed a lot).

I chose the wool again because it had been such a good quilting memory before.  I wash all my fabric before using it, so I knew there would be minimal shrinkage with the wool.

Have you tried bamboo...or silk??

We put so much time into these quilts, using the right batt can make or break it for me with the hand quilting.  I used too thin a batt on my "Civil War Bride Quilt" (Dream Cotton, "request" weight).

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. So very lovely!! I enjoyed so much all your close ups. I can glean ideas for my own handquilting from yours. That's so frusterating about the inconsistent batting. I've tried wool and I liked it but found it a bit poofy. I've used silk a couple of times and like it the best so far. I'm quilting something now with the QD select and don't like how it needles - stitch length is definitely longer than with silk or wool. I finally found some QD request and I'm planning that for my next big project so I'm sad to hear that you didn't like it. It appears to be soft and thin and I think it will needle well - did you find it didn't have enough loft? I'm planning to use silk for my CWB if I can ever get the top done - lol! I love these discussions about batting - I will be watching your comments to see what else I can learn :0)

  2. Since I generally don't hand quilt, I don't have any suggestions on batting -- other than don't use Warm and Natural! I'm curious - what was the solution for getting the cat hair off the quilt? I just finished a large top using the same black and ugh. Hair, dust, who knows what. And to think I'm planing to putting it on the bed...

  3. I don't use wool batt when hand quilting due to allergy. I have used the QD Select & Request for hand quilting, but I use the 'large' stitch so not a problem. My Mom, who hand quilts just about everything, loves Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 poly-cotton or their wool - she doesn't like to needle with 100% cotton.

  4. I had to call Tom up to see this, its so beautiful.

  5. This quilt is just amazing with all the different quilting styles you have going on... I don't wash my material or batting before hand quilting but I understand that is only MY preference... I love the shrinkage when a quilt is completed. That is MY preference. QD does work best for me...haven't used wool yet as I live in a warm climate :) Good luck! Kathi

  6. I always use quilters dream, request or select loft. I never pre-shrink as I like the shrinkage for giving a quilt the antique crinkly look. I never have any trouble with either of those lofts. One time I used the thickest loft I don't remember the name of that one - I did hand quilt it with big stitches but it is so heavy that it is rarely used other than decoration.
    I always use the 100% cotton quilters dream. I have never used the wool but would like to one day

  7. I've used Quilter's Dream and Hobb's wool and much prefer the Quilter's Dream. The batting is even and consistent, and it just feels better to the touch. I haven't had a problem with it shrinking even though I don't pre-wash my batting. It's effortless to quilt through. I like the the "poofiness" because it gives more definition to the quilting, almost like trapunto. It's very lightweight and breathable too, helpful in the climate where I live. (I use Quilter's Dream Request when I want a cotton batt, Thermore for a polyester for a wallhanging. I've heard good things about MM's Cream Rose, as well. Hobb's Heirloom cotton pills.)

  8. I have hand quilted several quilts using Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 poly-cotton with no problems and is my favorite. My first quilt I used 100% cotton not a good choice especially for beginners. Love the bamboo batting for both hand quilt and machine. Write to different companies and ask for samples then hand quilt them on a place mat.I did this for our quilt show so people could see what a particular bat will do. Our local quilt shop uses Quilter's Dream for all their quilts on the long arm. I also think it depends on your hand quilting stitches. My stitches are small and the Hobbs and bamboo work great. Linda in NM

  9. I just love looking at all of your work. Amazingly beautiful!

  10. Such a beautiful quilt. I'm one of those weird ones that love a poly bat, Fairfield low loft is my favorite. I do want to try a wool bat one of these days. Personally I haven't found a cotton bat that I like. I find them too clingy which makes it hard to smooth out wrinkles when I move my hoop.


  11. I've been hearing bad things about wool lately. too thick, uneven, etc.
    I bought the Hobbs wool - off the bolt, not in a package it was very consistent. How was yours packaged.
    Sorry to hear.
    I have used silk and it was okay. It needled well and easy, and the drape is okay, but I found it a little flat. plus its $$.

  12. p.s. sorry, your black quilt is lovely!! the quilting looks beautiful.

  13. There is another all cotton quilt batt on the market, which I have used and like. It is very much like QD request and select. It is called KATAHDIN. It is made in Maine. I do just about anything to keep Maine industry alive. My other go to batting is QDRequest. I like the way it drapes after washing. Loft isn't a big thing for me with my quilts.

    as for your black quilt, some of that x
    Cat hair might actually be batting boarding through. I have found that a problem with some black fabrics and not with others.

  14. it is simply beautiful. i'll have to go look at lori's page again because i don't recall that pattern, just goes to show you what a difference in color can do to any pattern...

  15. Beautiful quilts. Your handquilting is wonderful. Your color choices are enjoyable to look at.

  16. Your quilt looks lovely! I wouldn't even try hand quilting on a black background! Your eyes must be much better than mine!

    I use either Hobbs Heirloom or Hobbs Wool. I've always had good luck with the wool, and I'm sorry that you didn't. I love the way it needles!

  17. I have only used Dream Cotton for hand quilting because I've always enjoyed it and nothing has gone wrong (yet?)

  18. I really loved seeing this post and all your lovely blocks.. Such beautiful colours and the finished quilt is beautiful. I've had problems with Hobbs batting before and thin areas with their 80/20..shame when they are supposed to be good. I like dream batting never had issue with them.


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