Thursday, April 28, 2011

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North

This is the quilt top I recently spent time quilting for my friend, (blogless) Lola. It's Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, from "The Wizard of Oz" movie.

It wasn't easy to come up with appropriate quilting designs. I'm a huge fan of feathers, and love to quilt them in my quilts, but feathers just didn't suit the theme of this 33" X 33" wall hanging.

Inspiration came in dribs and drabs.

First, I cross-hatched Glinda's bubble. That was followed by some swirly designs in the dark and medium pink areas. They don't show up at all. 

Next, what to do in the four pink fairy frost triangles? After searching for ideas in my quilting design books, perusing blogs, and reading about Glinda herself, Lola and I came up with a rough concept of "bubbles."

From parchment paper, I cut a shape exactly the size of the fabric triangle. Then I start pencil drawing, not hesitating to use my big eraser! I traced some of the larger circles using my set of 1/8"-thick acrylic nested circles. They're my most often-used templates. I completed the design by drawing a 1" grid that mimicked the 1/2" diagonal grid quilted in Glinda's bubble.

Once the swirls, curves, circles and grid were the the way I liked, I folded the paper and traced the mirror image on the other half of the paper. 

From Golden Threads Quilting Paper, I cut four triangles slightly larger than the area to be quilted. 
I pinned them together with my parchment paper drawing on top. Then at my unthreaded sewing machine, following the pencil design, I quilted through all five layers of paper. At this point, you're just stitching perforations (like hanging chads) that you'll need to see for real quilting with thread! (Though I took a photo, it's impossible to see the perforations.) Quilting without thread is also a good way to practice your design. 

I took one piece of the now-perforated Golden Threads paper and straight-pinned it to one triangle corner of the quilt. 

With beige-colored YLI silk thread in my machine, I began quilting using the perforations as my guide.

The quilted Golden Threads paper looked like this when I was finished.

Then followed the task of removing the paper. This is a job best done with a wastebasket at hand, and expecting to run the vacuum cleaner afterward. Ideally, you have a handy, agreeable husband or child who could take on this fun project. Ever heard about the way Tom Sawyer got his friends to whitewash a fence?! Yes, it's that much fun!

Keep tweezers handy to remove any bits of paper that catch under the quilting threads. 

Once the quilting paper is gone the reveal is almost as good as "move that bus!"

Luscious!

Gorgeous Glinda, surrounded by scroll-y, frothy bubbles!

The outside quilting pattern repeats two elements in the Glinda panel: her own bubble; and the vague shape of Glinda's crown.

This photo, taken with a flash, highlights the glistening fairy frost. I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

Lola isn't just adding binding! She's going for glitz! Glinda will be glammed-up with a sequined and beaded gown, maybe a pearl necklace, and some sparkly stuff in her crown. Those frothy bubbles might get something extra too! Won't it be something?

Even though I'm hugely happy with this quilting effort, figuring out what to quilt will always be a process for me. But I'm determined to persevere, expecting that choosing designs will become easier with frequency. If you're just getting into free motion quilting yourself, here are a few of my thoughts.
  • Choose quilting patterns that suit the theme of the quilt. Look for cues in the "topic" of the quilt, or related to the fabrics themselves.
  • Take time to consider and create your quilting pattern(s) before plunging into the quilting. I didn't mention how much un-quilting I did before I stopped to draw and plan the design. Maybe spontaneity will come with more experience. (Though from the way this post sounds, you'd think this was my first free motion quilting project, and it assuredly isn't!)
  • My fall-back quilting approach is: Quilt curves on linear shapes (piecing). Quilt linear shapes on curves (curved piecing and applique). This is advice I received about 15 years ago, and it has never let me down.
  • If all else fails, quilt an all over design, challenging yourself to do something other than stippling or meandering. Many other pretty options are available.
This is the first time I've quilted with silk thread. At $7 to $8 a spool, I probably won't be doing that often, but I found that silk thread is very forgiving when you need to travel over a previously quilted path. My favorite machine quilting thread is 50-weight Aurifil.

Thanks for attending Glinda's debut! I'm sure we haven't seen the last of her, and next time, she'll be royally attired. Hmm, how appropriate is that on the eve of William and Kate's royal wedding!? Linda

20 comments:

  1. You came up with the perfect quilting design, and executed the work beautifully! Thank you for the tips of marking, Linda, you have made the lesson look very approachable for a novice at quilting lines. I'll bookmark this for future reference!
    :-}pokey

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  2. It looks lovely! The designs are just perfect for that quilt. It's good that you "listened" to what the quilt was telling you. Awesome job, and thanks for sharing the tips.

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  3. You've done a beautiful job of the quilting, and I love the corner design. How long did the paper-removal take? I might have to try using it.

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  4. Wow, wow, wow, wow...WOW!! Just drawing out that quilting.. (beautiful..) then quilting it...amazing!!

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  5. Linda,

    This is super pretty! You did a perfect job. I had intended to comment on your previous Glinda post, but was sidetracked... sorry!

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  6. Linda you have really done a great job. The quilt looks great! You are so talented.
    Edith

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  7. I knew you'd come up with something absolutely perfect!

    You definitely should post an ongong series on free motion quilting - techniques, tips and tricks, lessons learned. You are extremely talented! I can't wait to see Glinda finished. I love the Wizard of Oz and this is really going to be a special quilt (yes, I realize it won't be MY quilt but it's still going to be really special).

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  8. Lovely quilting! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Your quilting is so incredible....I am very impressed!! I am so dumb that I didn't even know about Golden Threads paper! Now, I have something to look for at the MQS in May! Thanks for all the tips....I agree with Jackie above about your doing more posts about how you FMQ.

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  10. It looks great and thank you for the step by step directions.. when/if I get the confidence/time to try some free motion I will come back and check it out again for sure

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  11. Fabulous, Linda! The quilting design is gorgeous and just perfect for Glinda. Thanks also for the tutorial. You have just taught me a way around the problems I have. :)

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  12. Thank you, Linda. You turned my silly little obsession with Glinda into a masterpiece. Let's all take bets on how long it takes me to sew on a bazillion beads!!!

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  13. Great job on the quilting designs for Glinda. The outer triangles set off the centre beautifully.

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  14. Your quilting design is wonderful! I really like it and it certainly seems to suit Glinda. Any chance of seeing her when she's totally done?

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  15. Wow!! Linda
    I am so impressed with your quilting. Thanks for sharing your great ideas. Will have to try it.
    Was the crosshatching done by hand?
    Cheers
    Sue in NZ

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  16. WOW! Linda - it's absolutely beautiful! :)

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  17. Linda, once again your quilting skills and ideas astound me - I love how you came up with the corner quilting ideas - and to share how you did them is very generous. I have my Pies and Tarts to do as you know - my friend Deb gave me her idea on what to do with them as well - and she is the teacher so she knows. I will need a weekend or a day of time to get into it - with no interruptions. Your project is just wonderful - congratulations.

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  18. wow....great effort Linda! Will have to think more about my quilting and draw up some patterns BEFORE I start quilting....now there's a thought! Thanks for sharing your technique.

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  19. I did mean to comment when you first posted, but was distracted :-)) Congratulations on a beautiful piece of work, Linda. I love how the cross hatching really acts as a perfect foil for Glinda, and your triangle corners turned out spectacularly well - not like when I try to use Golden Threads. What am I doing wrong? There is always a little residue of paper that just doesn't want to be removed. You inspire me to practice!

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  20. Thank you for sharing your way of quilting!! It looks magnificent! Will have to try that!

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