Remember the "Cinderella" TV movie/musical that used to come on every year? (Yes, I am DEFINITELY dating myself now...)
It first aired in 1965 and starred Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella. I used to LOVE watching that thing every year! Remember those song lyrics, "In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be?"
Well, today I am Cinderella, established in the corner of the family room by the window, working away on hand quilting the outer border of my "Baltimore Rhapsody" quilt.
It is snowing like crazy outside as I work, and the wind-tossed snowflakes make me feel like I am lost in a magic spell.
Maybe I am hoping my Fairy Godmother will come and finish my hand quilting chores so I can get on with more applique...
Part of my inability to finish the hand quilting was due to being stumped on what to quilt above the outer border swags. I sort wanted something musical, but not something so busy that it would draw the eye away from the hand applique too much.
I have gone through so much waxed paper, doing overlay drawings, trying to come up with something. I finally settled on a simple leafy swag with a single eighth note in the middle. Eighth notes are not symmetrical, which really bugs me...it is centered over the swag, but due to its irregular shape, it just looks funny to me...
I made my own little set of crude templates (I'll show you below...) and got busy with the 28 repeats of the motif required.
I am using a hoop for this, but took it off trying to get a decent picture...I think the picture would have been better if I had left the hoop on!
Once I got a side done (seven repeats), I still wasn't completely satisfied...something was missing. Since I had already appliqued little hearts in the outer border corners, I decided to quilt little hearts between the leafy swag motifs.
The quilt is all bunched up on my little table so the picture is not good (when the quilt is touching the floor, Mr. Weasley is ALL OVER this puppy!!), but I think you can get the idea. The following picture is before I removed the blue marking pen.
For continuity, I decided to do leaves in the corners as well, and more hearts.
Here is a shot after I spray-flooded the area with water to remove the blue pen...my house is so darn dry from the constantly-running furnace, that it took only minutes to dry (except for a couple of spots on the left...).
OK...don't laugh...here is how I made my template...templates, actually. I don't have one of those fancy stencil cutters, so sometimes I make the motif in stages on different pieces of template plastic (pay no attention to the quilt underneath...the stencil does not match up at the moment).
I figured out the length of my swag...not from leaf TIP to leaf TIP, but from leaf VEIN to leaf VEIN. I made a curved line on my piece of template plastic with a skinny Sharpie marker, then used tiny, very pointy, curved scissors to "cut out the line." (I think the scissors are actually delicate toenail scissors...I do NOT have delicate toenails, so they are in my sewing scissor drawer, LOL!).
To "cut out the line," I just cut to the outside of my line all the way around. As you can see, the channel is ULTRA skinny...I only need the point of my blue marker to fit down in the channel that I cut.
The two lines, one above and the curved one below, are just crudely drawn to help me line up my "line template" in the right place. Then I carefully, and LIGHTLY draw my curved line.
On my second, separate template, I cut out the note and the leaves after drawing them around my initial curved line (the drawn curved line helps me to place this template in just the right spot on my quilt.
I could have done all this on one piece of template plastic, but there would have been so much cut away that it would have been floppy and hard to stabilize while using. Commercial stencils leave little chunks in the design line, but I don't have the patience to be that precise with my homemade pieces.
The leaf tips on either end will extend BEYOND my drawn line (the ends of my drawn line represent the ends of the leaf VEINS, not the leaf TIPS). I just eyeball the veins in the other leaves while I am quilting.
Then I carefully trace around the inside of each cut-out...
...when I quilt, I stitch to the OUTSIDE of my drawn line (this also makes it easier to remove the blue pen because it is not underneath the stitches, hiding from the water spray!).
I loaded up the corner template with additional different sized hearts in case I needed them, so I have to move the template around to trace what I need...the spacing between the hearts and the branch are not the correct spacing.
When the correct side of the template is not clear, I label the template or at least write "this side" on the plastic. Once I didn't do that and some of my motifs were backwards when finished, which I didn't notice until I saw the quilt hanging in a show, ha-ha! Oh well!!
Will it ever stop snowing in Michigan...or get back to normal winter temperatures??
I hope you are warm and cozy somewhere, doing a little stitching!