Sunday, 3 July 2016

Splish, Splash!

It all started with a request to echo the diagonal, wavy piecing of this quilt with loose, organic lines ("Think waves!", said my client). The pattern and fabric reflect an ocean theme, and my client wanted the quilting to support that idea, as well.

Whale Tail

The tricky part was figuring out how to fill the piecing with lines that appeared to be continuous, without going crazy with starts and stops! The logistics of working on a frame needed to be addressed.

Filling long, diagonal sections with wavy lines is a challenge on a longarm!
First, I basted the entire thing in preparation for lots of rolling back-and-forth during quilting. At this point, I also stitched the applique and ditched the borders.

Doodling in my notebook helped me figure out a plan. I needed to work in sections the size of my available stitch area. I worked out a continuous path so I could fill an entire "wave" without breaking my thread. I always started on the left, and worked my way up and to the right. Pivot points were my salvation. I could fill the section in front of me, roll the quilt, and then fill the next section, etc.

Below, the dark blue section around the moon has been filled.

Working waves in sections

I worked through the body of the quilt, section by section, changing thread colours as needed.

Filling the waves

A bit of "dot to dot" quilting filled the curvy border triangles, and triple wavy lines filled the piecing.

Dot to dot quilting, wavy lines, and wishbones fill the outer borders.

I really love how the quilting echoes the piecing without following it exactly. Soft, wavy, organic . . . and effective, I think. :-)

Nice and wavy!

The outer edge is finished with wishbones - they make me think of fish bones!

"Bella Luna" - Lisa Moore, pattern designer

Splashes fill the space around the whale tail. "Scribble stitching" (multiple passes with slight variations in accuracy) adds a sense of motion and energy. Even though the quilting is obvious up close, it is barely noticeable from a distance. (In this case, the quilting is meant to enhance the theme without taking over the show, so I'm happy about that!)

Splashes fill in around the tail

I used the same scribble stitching technique to render the man in the moon. I take no credit for the artwork - the face is a simplification of a favourite image of my client's (by Roy Henry Vickers). Up close, there is an interesting interaction between the print, and the quilting.

Man in the Moon

From a distance, the image all but disappears - the desired effect.

Subtle moon face almost disappears from afar

My client had some great ideas for this quilt, so I put on my listening ears and worked to bring her vision to life.

She trusted me to work out the details and add my own touches, which made our collaboration a true pleasure.
(Except for the night I awoke in terror, thinking I'd done the OPPOSITE of what she wanted! Silly brain...)

Splish, splash! Time for a drop of wine, perhaps?

Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday, @ My Quilt Infatuation

Until next time,

Try, Learn, & Grow!


  1. Beautiful work, Carole. I really like how the quilting supports the quilt subtly and adds beautiful detail when focused in. Working out how to advance and keep a pattern continuous can be a real brain teaser, and you really rose to the occasion here!

  2. It's beautiful, I love the fabrics in this one and your quilting works perfectly with them and the design. Hopefully you had a very happy client.

  3. Looks terrific. I love the way the whole thing flows. She should be pleased with the end result.

  4. Thanks so much Carole, I am really happy with the results and yes she has a very happy client! The recipient of this quilt will be "over the moon" happy as well!

  5. This is beautiful. I appreciate your description of how you planned the quilting for the appearance of continuation. I think this will help clients understand the thought and time necessary to make a great collaboration.

  6. This is fabulous! You did an excellent job of supporting and enhancing the quilt, without overpowering it. All that figuring keeps ya young, huh? So sorry for your momentary panic. Your clients are very fortunate to have you :-)

  7. Spectacular!!!!!

  8. It's beautiful. Your choices are perfect in each section; they enhance the pattern perfectly. Well done!

  9. The waves really look like you spent forever rolling the quilt back and forth to make them continuous. This is some very awesome quilting Carole - so perfectly tied into the quilt and theme. I love the man in the moon especially! The fish bone border is really fun!

  10. Really stunning work Carole, both the quilt and the quilting. You did a wonderful job interpreting what your client asked for as well as what the quilt itself needed. Kudos!!

  11. What a beautiful quilt and your quilting adds the perfect touch!

  12. Beautiful! I watched a friend working on this pattern at a retreat recently but didn't get to see it finished. The quilting really makes this one come alive.

  13. This quilt is stunning! Your quilting turned it into a magical piece!


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