Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Great Quilting Debate In My Head

Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. –Unknown

I'm almost ready to start quilting the Snowball Quilt. I stayed up past my bedtime and got the top all marked last night. Then I stayed up even later marking a practice sandwich so I could try out the quilting I want to do. I've been doodling it out on notebook paper and wanted to see if I could create the same doodles on a quilt. This morning I got up way earlier than I wanted to and did a little quilting practice. The machine quilting is inspired by Danielle at Nacho Mama's Quilt. Here are the results:

There is sashing between the blocks, but I left that out on my practice pad because I'm going to quilt swirls in there and I've done those before. Here is a close-up of a single snowball, front and back. I made landmarks in the snowball in order to keep the quilting even. You can see the marks on the left.

In order to help stabilize the quilt, I am going to stitch in the ditch where the sashing meets the blocks {all the best home machine quilters recommend it} before I start the free motion design.

I wanted to have this quilt finished by Friday night so I could put it in a quilt show. But after quilting out four snowballs, I estimate that it will take me at least 20 hours to get this quilted. Even if I got started with the quilting tonight {which I'd really like to}, I wouldn't have it finished in time. I'm OK with that, because there is another quilt show in July and I'll for sure have it done by then.

Now to the heart of the matter, my dilemma. Do I want the ditch quilting to be part of the quilt, or should I get some water soluble thread so that after the quilt is finished and washed only the free-motion quilting will remain?

I've been debating this back and forth with myself all day. Mr. Bug and I went to lunch today and I discussed it with him. He thought that the water soluble thread was a cool invention, but didn't have much of an opinion either way on whether I should use it for this particular quilt. I wish I would have had time to post this morning so all your experience and advice and opinions could have trickled in I could have mulled it over and made my decision.

Even though the ditch quilting won't show on the front of the quilt, I'm kind of leaning towards the water soluble thread because I think it would look nicer on the back. On the other hand, if I use regular thread to stitch in the ditch, I could get started right away. And even though I wouldn't be finished in time for the quilt show, I would be finished with one more Ph.D quilt sooner. The downside to using regular thread is that the snowballs would need to be completely outlined and there is no way to do that and the sashing in continuous lines. I would have to stitch along diagonal of the snowballs individually, which means 192 starts, 192 lines of quilting just 2¾" long and 192 stops. Blech.

I think I'll go get the snowball quilt pin basted and then I'll start working on some baby pinwheels for the back of the Pinwheel Sampler while I wait for the water soluble thread I ordered on-line while writing and editing this post to get here. Even if I decide not to use it in this quilt, there are a couple of quilts I will use it for.

P.S. Santa, if you're reading this, I would really like a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen under my tree this year. And could we maybe do Christmas in July? Great. Thanks.


QuiltNut Creations said...

Elizabeth I loves it!! personally, I am not a fan of stitching in the ditch does it really need it? or is it to get you from one spot to another?

pinksuedeshoe said...

Well, now that you mention the 192 starts stops etc, I'd say go with the dissolving thread. And since you aren't going to finish in time for this weekens show anyway, it doesn't much matter if you need to wait for a bit, right?

Also, HOLY CRAP THIS IS GOING TO BE AMAZING! There, I said it. This will be absolutely beautiful, I can't wait to see it all finished!

Shay said...

Yep-Im voting for dissolvable thread too. You wont be happy with it any other way ....and good golly Miss Molly you wouldnt want anything to detract from the incredible free motion quilting would you? That's so lovely Im almost squealing in delight here (and thinking about sending you a couple of quilt tops too!)

Paulette said...

A) The practice quilting: As Popeye would say, "Well, blow me down!" Awesome!

B) I know nothing about water soluble thread. I hope, if you use it, it plays well with your machine.

C) Couldn't you (with regular thread) quilt in the ditch around each snowball in one continuous line (lots of quilt turning, though), and then quilt again in a square? You'd be doubling up on some of the lines, but I don't think it'd be that noticeable. Beats 192 stop/starts, IMO.

D) Alternatively, just quilt in the ditch around the squares and then when you quilt your curlicues in the triangles, just incorporate your ditch stitching into that process. I.e., sew the diagonal line to start off, trace around to the corner, and start making the curlicues from the corner out.

E) It's going to look fabulous!

F) This is my left/linear brain doing the outlining here. ;)

Cathy said...

I love what you are doing. Your quilting is beautiful. Go with the dissolving thread. Can't wait to see the finished quilt. Hugs

Jennifer Lovell said...

Your P.S. to Santa really made me laugh. And wouldn't that be nice if he honored Christmas in July lists? I think I'll go make one right now, ha ha : ).

I can't wait to see your quilt all done. I love that you love the process as much as the final product (don't you?). Being creative is so much fun.

Lane said...

That makes me the dissenting opinion. I ditch quilt everything. To me, it provides a stability that no amount of pin basting can imitate. No matter how much I move the quilt around in the machine, I'll always have that stabilizing quilting to prevent pleating. If it were me, I would fmq in the ditch around each snowball. In addition to the stability, that will give you a separating line to separate your feather in the snowball from your curves outside of it. I've always heard that judges take away for not ditching. Good luck. Whatever you decide, it's going to be beautiful. Lane

whimsyfox said...

W-O-W! that practice piece looks so complex & gorgeous! Why do stitch in ditch at all? Why not just do a quick basting stitch with regular thread, long stitch length & not worrying about absolute straight lines. It's pretty easy to pull out large sections of basting. How big is this quilt? I've never used dissolving thread, but one thing I use on all my smaller projects is basting spray glue. I know there's a whole debate on that, but it works and it washes out and I've never seen any discolorations or anything. I pinbaste my larger projects though just because they are heavy and cumbersome and not sure if spray baste alone would hold it together through quilting process.