At some point, a decision between art and object must be made.
Is it flat? No
Is it flat enough? Yes
And, I will fist fight with any tiny baby that dares to disagree.
My idea worked, but it ended up being too much trouble to pursue on the whole quilt. But, it was great in the center. Remember that my problem is that the fabric had been allowed to “gather up” between the stitches, causing the outside of the quilt to shrink. The tension on the thread was greater than the tension on the fabric, so the fabric pulled in as I put more quilting in the quilt. And, that shrinkage around the outside caused a big hump in the middle. I picked out a whole lot of echo quilting and then started again, from the center.
I loaded the center of the quilt in one of my hand quilting hoops and I removed the needle and foot from my machine so I could get it into the harp, then assembled the machine again. That worked okay because I could loosen the hoop and move the quilt around without having to take the hoop out of the harp again. I quilted all the lines in the center. And, then I moved out into the blue and put the echo work back in.
I learned this technique in the thread painting class with Barbara Shapel. We did it when we quilted the moon more heavily than the space around it. To keep the thread tension from pulling the moon inward as we filled it, we put the moon in a hoop, which kept it flat. Of course, that was a much smaller hoop and it was flat enough to slide under the foot of the machine.
Worked great on my little quilt, but it was pretty much of a pain on such a large scale, and even with that, I was only ever going to get “flat-ish”. While I was working with the hoop, I thought about how the walking foot puts tension on the fabric and keeps it flat between stitches, too. And it sure, sure sure would have been easier. So, after that first blue round, I switched to the walking foot and it’s working great. I also decided to put some quilting in the light part of the quilt, just to take up some of the slack there. That also helped make it lay flatter. If I ever make this pattern again, that’s all the quilting I’m putting in it.
At this point, it’s as good as I’m going to get it. And, I still think it’s a dang cute quilt.
So, why go to this much effort for this particular quilt? Why not just start over? Because this little quilt is filled with my pleasant and happy thoughts and wishes for this baby and his family, including his siblings that also have quilts made by me. The thoughts and energy I put into it as I cut it and pieced it and quilted it…twice. If I started over, I’d be resentful and that’s the energy that I’d put into the quilt.
Okay, call it hoooey. I’m fine with that. But, it really is all about what I put into the quilts I give away, just as much as it is about what I put into the quilts I keep and the quilts I show. If I put bad energy in a quilt, I’m worried that baby might not sleep through the night till he’s a teenager.
Everybody have a great Thursday. I’m nearly done. And, I’ll be really glad to be through with this one and move on to something else. Supposed to be a beautiful weekend and I plan to do some yardwork.