Yes, quilting again! A deadline approached and I entered the Forbidden Room with Oliver where he camped out nearby to help me with a quilt project. Marking is never fun, but new markers and an old clamshell tool from www.thimbleworks.com did the trick beautifully. Oliver knocked the markers off the table several times and watched me search and retrieve with that intensity only a cat can have.
Two weeks ago as summer finally arrived I realized that the small quilt I promised to make for this year's AAQI Celebrity Auction is due very very soon, yikes. The auction will be online this November; I'll give you the details later when I make sure of dates, etc. But trust me, from the list of names making quilts I know you will want to bid and bid early and often so you can claim one of the beautiful quilts.
Above, my 15" square miniature quilt, marked, layered, and pinned. Ready for the machine! The top is a beautifully luxurious gold silk dupioni with minimal slubs, very smooth and pretty, and I used YLI #100 silk thread for the quilting, which is tiny and exacting, and yes I needed a magnifier.
I used Pellon Legacy wool batt, and a scrumptious perfect dusty teal Moda cotton from the Wuthering Heights 3 Sisters Collection. I'll try and get a photo of the back of the quilt, as I like it equally well as the front.
I did make a small prototype, practiced my feathers, checked thread colors. I'll write about that a bit later when I get more photos taken. It helps so much, not only showing you in real life how the thread color looks, the one you were planning on but now can see isn't quite right after all. My muscle memory woke up, and quilting was easy and beautiful, the best news I could have after not working on a real quilt for over a year. This skill does not go away.
Oliver got into more trouble, hiding from me and making me search the house for half an hour, wondering if somehow I had let him outdoors? I sensed his eyes on me when I went into the kitchen, turned, and saw the white spot of his fur in our wine cupboard that for once had an empty shelf! Perfect spot to fit his body, a 2009 Oliver, smooth and sweet with that hint of smoky naughtiness!
I quilted a few hours a day for a little longer than a week. There are designs marked on this miniature quilt, the vines and animals, but I did all the feathers freehand as always. It is based on my miniature quilt A Visit to Provence. My sketch of the feathers and vines in that quilt has been lost so I referred to my photo and came up with something similar, with the addition of my Rabbit, and signature sleeping cat instead of the urn from the original.
There was no room for an outer border so I filled the corners with delightfully tiny clamshells, 1/4" Diane-shiko, and some very tiny stippling for the odd spaces.
It is bound and finished, titled Return to Provence. I love it. I look at it and like to keep looking at it, for me the true test of a successful design. I hate to ship it off for the auction and say goodbye, but I know it will go to a good home and give others pleasure.
Below are some details of the quilt, and I'll post the full photo soon when my camera battery recharges. I used one line of echo quilting around the main designs with Sparkle Silk thread for a hint of gleam.
Clamshells in upper right corner, above.
My hands are sore, but better, and it was wonderful to be at the machine again. I hope to make more small projects soon, in a leisurely way. Thanks for all your comments on "retirement" - it's good not to have the travel and pressure of teaching, but I do miss seeing all those talented bright funny students. I hope you are all doing well with your work, sneaking in some quilting time when you can.
Meanwhile, keep quilting! Your work gets better every day.....