I made a big decision after releasing the finishing instructions for the Baltimore Album BOM...
Stitching the gridded border back and forth on my sewing machine got my rotator cuff all aggravated again, and a survey of my friends concluded that the piece needed fancier border.
So I ripped off my borders and started over... digitizing them!
That was a couple of months ago, and while not quite finished, I've made a ton of progress and it looks amazing...
First, the digitizing was ALOT of work! I took my lily and acanthus theme from the inside sashings and expanded on it. The nice thing about working on the computer is that I can actually compose the entire border to the exact size, and even add photos of the existing piece, so you'd think there'd be no surprises when it came to stitching!
Each piece is designed for the limits of a 7" x 12" hoop and then takes approximately three hours to stitch out... most of this is working to align the sections.
This is the back and you can see how pretty it looks. I have actually gotten to be even BETTER at hooping... problem is, the parts that are already stitched out shrink down, so each successive piece has to be resized to photographs of adjacent pieces.
I know there are others who use significant machine embroidery in their quilts, but I honestly feel that what I am doing in hooping and entirely machine embroidering this quilt is totally maverick. At least I don't remember seeing any class offered for this! So the learning curve has been a bit steep. Matching points below!
With that said, there is some comforting similarity with the process of quilting. For instance, you can bury all of your thread tails just as you would on any other piece.
Or as I thought, any crazy, obsessive thing a longarmer can do on a show quilt, a machine embroiderer can do better! Beyond that, some strategically placed crystals will help where they have to.
On a side note-- these two items look very similar but actually have a VERY different effect when used on fabric... ask me how I know. One of them has been BANNED from my sewing room, BANNED from my house!!!
Other than that, the possibility of the EPIC FAIL we artists know and fear, at this point is pretty small-- all I would have to do is take off a border and replace it if things went badly. Not that I want to do that, but it's a comforting thought, every time I press the START button on the ol' Babylock!
The end is near, and I'm really pleased with how flat this thing has remained. The reality is that every stitching project will look better after it is washed and blocked. So I tested some extra stitch outs, and the good news is, in spite of all the different threads and colors I used...no bleeding! My good friend Tere D'Amato offered to help me with some hand holding when that day comes. XOX
So without further ado...
Here's "A New England Album"!
The borders are so very large because my hoop needs all that to grip on to-- they will ultimately be trimmed to the scallop shape. Economy of materials was never a hallmark of my process!
I have the top border to go which will hopefully be done this weekend. Then binding... and then it's off to the Vermont Quilt Festival!
While everyone hopes for a ribbon, with all the amazing gorgeous quilts out there, it doesn't often happen... I am just over the moon, first of all, to be this close to finishing this, and second, I think I've created a totally new look of my own, in spite of the variety of quilts that are already out there. That may sound egotistical, but remember-- I may be the only one crazy enough to do this!
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope it encourages you to do whatever crazy thing you like to do-- nothing is better to me than when everyone is doing their thing. Go forth and sew!