Wednesday, June 4, 2008

As It Happens...Part Two

Continuing with the Heather Bailey quilt....
Let me explain what I do: I do freemotion or freehand quilting.
All freehand, all the time.

Freemotion quilting means I guide my longarm quilting machine by hand. As you can see in the picture below my hand is holding one of the handle bars and I am guiding the machine along however I want. I've been doing this for about 8 years now and I still love it. I look forward to working on each and every quilt. I get up in the morning and say, "I can't wait to get to work." When I had my accounting job, I don't think I ever said that!

In a sense I am drawing on the quilt. My kids used to say I graffitti'd on the quilt!
This is really the only tool I use. It's a little ruler I use to guide the machine along when I need to make a straight line. You'd think straight lines would be easy, like they are on the domestic home sewing machine. But with a longarm quilting machine, they are not so easy. So I use a guide. I like Megan's Best ruler to do straight lines and 'stitch in the ditch' (meaning stitching directly in the seam.) Each longarm quilter uses whatever ruler works best for them. About 3 years ago I took classes in Dallas, Texas with Linda V. Taylor. She asked us to bring our favorite 'stitch in the ditch' tool. There were six of us, and six different stitch in the ditch tools! In the picture below you can sort of see what I did in Heather's beautiful borders. Lots of times I just let the fabric print inspire me. And that's what was going on here.You can see below what I did in the petals of the flowers here. I did some "faux McTavishing" in the off-white areas of the print and then enhanced Heather's leaves and flowers. I say "faux McTavishing" because it's kind of my own version of the beautiful, contemporary stipling made famous by quilter, Karen McTavish. I call it "Vivian Love is-just-wingin'-it-McTavishing-technique."
Here I'm just working away...
Sometimes it gets a little difficult to see my quilting and so I depend on shadows. I have this little light attached to my machine and I turn it on now and then to see better. It creates shadows for me. In the picture below you can see my "faux McTavishing" better with the shadows. Can you see how I simply enhanced the beautiful print of Heather's fabric?
What kind of machine do I use? It's a good 'ol Gammill Classic, circa 2000. There's not a stitch regulator on it or a computer. The year 2000 was not that long ago, but the Gammill's are much more modern and high-tech now. I love the feel of my machine and so I've never traded up or altered it in anyway. It's just about an antique!

On the back you can see below, it says "Kitty AKA T-Bird." What does that mean? I named my machine years ago, "Kitty," because it "purrs like a kitten." My old friend Jerry, former owner of Cranberry Quiltworks, renamed it "T-Bird." That's what he used to call me: "Talking Bird." He said I talked to much. Can you believe it? :-)

And the thread I used? Perma Core. I use it because it's the thread my machine likes the best. And whatever "Kitty" wants, "Kitty" gets! Also I love it because there are tons of colors available. (for variegated, my machine loves Superior's Lava and King Tut.) Gina Halladay at Cranberry Quiltworks carries most all the colors. These are the colors I used on Heather's quilt.Tomorrow, Part Three...pictures of the finished quilt. Thanks for stopping by!

3 comments:

Gina Halladay said...

looks wonderful...I am sure Karen McTavish will love that someone is doing her faux. Great Job. You need to bring it by Cranberry before you ship it back to Heather.

Summerset said...

Lovely! The faux McT certainly enhances the fabric. I have a friend who has a Gammill about the same vintage as yours, without the stitch regulator and hasn't upgraded. She taught me how to use it, and let me use it from time to time. I never got good at it, but it was fun!

Heather said...

Wow, Vivian! It looks amazing. I can't believe all of the detail work you're doing; that faux McTavishing is incredible. Thank you for quilting this for me with so little notice. I can't wait to see it!