Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Table Topper #2

I snagged these roses from a family wedding, which was laden with at least 1,000 flowers in my favorite color. They look beautiful on this table topper, the second take from Charlene C. Frable's Quilt as Desired (Krause Publications, 2007). The fabrics appear in reverse order from the first table topper (see previous blog post.) Five fat quarters make enough wedges for both toppers. Before free-motion quilting this one, I looked at the Swirls and Curls shown on p. 124 of the book. I doodled the design in my notebook and discovered my interpretation of the drawn design appeared a bit different. That's OK, and in fact, necessary if you are going to make the design your own and be able to quilt it free-form with no marking. My style could be dubbed Hooks and Spirals which look like large comma marks. Work through the process of drawing it out and you recognize a design that has your personal style attached to it, much like your handwriting. Then get to quilting it while the line drawings are fresh in your mind.

Quilting tip: Sandwich a scrap piece of your top fabric with the batting and backing to try out thread choices; work on adjusting even tension with the top and bottom thread. I used Madeira Cotona 30 wt. variegated cotton thread in the top and Mettler 50 wt. cotton in the bobbin, paired with a size 90 topstitch needle. Polyester batting doesn't shrink; it's a good choice for this project. I used DreamPoly brand batting. Other brands are lofty and slippery to machine quilt, but DreamPoly lies flat and cooperates.

Here's a close-up of the center. I quilted about half of the topper along the outside rings, giving it stability, before quilting into the center. I like the long hook quilted here. This is where your artistic interpretation and instincts take over, allowing you to decide what to quilt in the style you are following.

The purple backing really shows off the design. If your skills are just developing and you feel a bit shaky, use a busy print backing to ease your critical eye. Keep quilting and your stitching will continue to improve to the point where you want to show off your quilting ability.

Binding note: I used a 2-inch bias cut double-fold binding. With topper #1, I noticed a bit of curling on the edges when the binding was complete so this time I clipped 1/8" toward the sewing line every 1-2". Avoid clipping too close to the stitching. Because some areas of the seamline were not sewn a consistent 1/4", I ended up double stitching the binding's raw edges to the topper, creating reinforcement. I flipped the binding to the back and hand sewed it in place with a blind stitch.

Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs

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