Monday, 4 May 2009

Starry Starry Night

Here's another example of a simple loop machine quilting design. This time I added stars. I made this quilt for a special family friend's sister's baby. The piecing is a simple colour wash. I love blue and I enjoyed creating a twilight sky with the 5 inch squares. The top was backed in navy blue fleece and free-motion machine quilted using this really cool glow in the dark thread from Superior Threads called NiteLite. This is such a fun thread to use with children's quilts because it really does glow in the dark for hours!

Here in England we are on the same latitude line as Ontario, Canada. That means that our winter evenings start really early like 4:30! But in mid- summer it can stay light until nearly 11:00. I made this quilt in the summer so I had to stay up really late to see it glow. The thread looks and quilts just like normal thread so the white against all the blue looked lovely in the daytime. But it really does come into it's own in the dark. This glow in the dark thread comes in several pastel colours; blue, yellow, green, pink and orange, but for this project I used the white.

I learn something new from most projects, this one taught me about phrasing. We have it in our minds that all machine quilting line designs need to be continuous. Continuous lines are great for many designs and ideal for pre-programed designs on professional long arms. But maintaining a continuous line can sometimes be difficult for the hand controlled free-motion quilter. I found the stars challenging, not in themselves but I seemed to loose my place after the stars. So I decided to use what I call phrasing.

Instead of aiming for a continuous line, I would begin with a star and add a few loops and a star and a few more loops and end with a star. This was my phrase. Then I would step back and decide where my next phrase would look good. This helped with the spacing and kept me from getting too anxious. We're supposed to enjoy this process, right? As long as I anchored my starting and finishing stitches with a few small stitches in place, the lines of stitching were secure. I was pleased with how it turned out and have gone on to use phrasing in other projects.


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Phrasing is a great tip for me as a beginner machine quilter. I am going to try that on my next quilt. Thank you.

Martha said...

Thanks for the comment, Mary. Phrasing helps me not to PANIC! I find that I can create a smoother more flowing line of stitching when I'm not in a flap. Sometimes I just add a single image, a star or heart, whatever I've added to the loops, to fill a particular space. I find it helpful to be able to step back and plan my next move.

AnnieOf Blue Gables said...

I totally love this background. I love the idea of phrasing as well. I have pinned this picture on my Pinterest board, because I am going to use this idea in my next quilt. I will keep you posted. Thanks for the great inspiration.