I’ve been working on some more of the quilting for this mystery quilt. I’ve finished quilting in the ditch around all the blocks and the outside border. Now I am working on quilting for the sashing. As you can see in this picture, there is a 3″ x 9″ sashing between the blocks, and then an additional 3″ wide border around the outside.
To start, I am tackling the sashing between the blocks. I wanted to use some sort of feather design. I referred to a few books, and did some sketching.
And this is the design I came up with. I’m pretty happy with it.
To mark the design on the quilt, I decided to try this product I bought a couple of months ago. It’s a Clover brand product called “mesh transfer canvas”. It’s a sheet of plastic perforated with evenly spaced small holes. You trace your design on the plastic, and then lay it over the fabric and retrace. The first challenge was finding some marking tool that worked on the plastic. I tried water soluble fabric markers, chalk pencils, quilting pencils, waxy quilting markers, and regular graphite pencil (HB). The pencil was the only thing that worked. The rest did not leave marks on the plastic.
These photos show the plastic mesh with the pattern marked on in pencil, shown over a piece of white paper to increase visibility.
Here is what the mesh looks like placed over a sample of my fabric. Even in person, it is hard to see the markings. I traced over the design using a water removable fabric marker in blue. It was very slow going. I found I had to move the pen very slowly over the mesh to allow the ink time to flow between the holes onto the fabric. The pen I used has a felt tip, and isn’t as thin or hard as some pens are. I think a thinner pen would have taken even longer.
Here is the design on the fabric. The lines are composed of tiny dots of fabric pen ink.
Over all, I am not very happy with this method of pattern marking. It took a long time to trace over the pattern onto the fabric. And it was not easy. It would take me a long time to mark up the quilt, even though there are only seven sashing strips to mark. I am not sure yet what method I will use instead. I will experiment a little more before deciding.
And here is the sample stitched up. On the left side I stitched the feathers in the traditional manner, backtracking along the stitching line when required to get back to the start of the next feather. On the right side, I tried the method described in Diane Gaudynski‘s book Quilt Savvy. In this method you stitch along either side of the marked line, so that each feather has a double line of stitching about 1/8th inch apart. This method looks really nice in the book, but I don’t seem to be good enough at free-motion stitching to make it look good. My double lines don’t stay an even distance apart. I am thinking that I will use the more traditional method on this quilt, until I get more practice in.
These are some other practice pieces I’ve done. I love free-motion quilting. But I haven’t done it enough to have the sort of control I’d like to have. This quilt will be my first attempt at stitching feathers. So, I will have to make a few more practice samples, I think, before I get stitching on the quilt.
Pattern: On the Road to Minnesota, by Border Creek Station.
See also the first On the Road to Minnesota post.