"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

March 10, 2015

Custom Free Motion Quilting {Aunt 'Reen's Mediterranean Tile Quilt}

I recently had the honor of being asked to custom quilt an original quilt design by Aunt 'Reen.
Of course when I say recently I mean several months ago.....last year in fact.
I'm still playing catch up with sharing all the projects I've been working over the last year.

And now with no further ado I present Aunt 'Reen's Mediterranean Tile Quilt.

It laid out so nice flat and square. I love it when quilts come out square.
For this quilt I used 1-1/2" curved safety pins to hold all the layers in place while I quilted.

Ready to pin the layers

The "grout" lines aka sashing between each of the blocks gave me the perfect place to start quilting and stabilizing the entire quilt. I started by Stitching-In-The-Ditch (SID) up and down the longest strips of sashing. I started with the center most strip by stitching down one side of it and back up the other side. From there I moved over to the center strip of the left half and did the same stitch down one side of the strip and up the other side and quilted all the long strips in this manner. By doing this it stretches the quilt in both directions and keeps the quilt from being pulled in only one direction which would cause it to become wonky.

After all the long sashing strips were SID I moved on to quilting the shorter sashing strips stitching in the same manner as the longer strips, with the one exception of the added travel stitch at one end of each short strip. This took a little longer due to all the stops and starts required.

"Grout" lines stitched
Once all of the grout lines were stitched down I continued my SID work in the 16-patch blocks.
While it's not required to do SID in those pieced blocks it does give the block a more finished look it adds to showing off even emphasizing the piecing work. The added benefit to me as a quilter is that later the SID work will keep the fabric from migrating or moving while I work and it make the quilting designs I add to the block even more precise.

Compare the two 16-patch blocks in the picture below. You can easily spot the difference between the block that has been SID and the one that hasn't been stitched yet. The block on the right hasn't been SID yet and it looks nice but not nearly as nice as the block on the left which has the SID work done.

Compare the 16-patch blocks: Left block SID work finished, Right block no SID work yet.

When I had all of the SID work was finished along all the seams I started working block by block with SID work along the edge of each applique piece and then adding the additional quilting designs.

Applique blocks quilted viewed from the back of the quilt
When quilting the applique blocks the only lines I marked were the straight lines forming the pearl frame. Everything else was stitched free-form.

Front of quilt showing quilting on in the applique blocks

With all of the applique blocks quilted I moved on to quilting the 16-patch blocks.
For these blocks I again used a blue water soluble fine-point marking pen to draw in all the straight lines for the inner frame and corners. All of the pearls, loops and flower petals were stitched free-form.

Quilted 16-patch block

I never get tired of how the quilting shows itself off on the back of a quilt!

The goal I was given was to do some amazing custom quilting that will enhance the quilt, but not take attention away from the quilt itself. We didn't want the quilting to overwhelm the applique designs, but instead to play well with the quilt and keep the quilt the star of the show.

Quilt Details and Stats:

Finished size: Approx. 74" x 74"
Quilt Pattern: Mediterranean Tile by Doreen Johnson
Batting: Quilter's Dream Blend 70/30 Cotton/Poly
Thread: Aurifil Sand #2326
Quilting: Machine Free Motion Quilted on my domestic Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q

Be sure to stop by and visit Aunt 'Reen's Place. She does beautiful, amazing work and is such an inspiration!

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my quilting adventures with you!
God Bless & Happy Quilting,

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