Work in Progress – Optical Illusion Quilting Update

I’m plowing my way through the quilting on Optical Illusion this week. I hope to get it finished in time to enter it into QuiltCon. No pressure, right? (One of the things I love about entering quilt shows is that they light a fire under me to actually get things done.)

quilting_overviewDon’t you always match your clothing to your quilts when you sew?

I first created a small practice piece so that I could try out a couple of quilting variations with the same fabric, thread and batting as in the real quilt. I’d rather trouble shoot issues now, and know what I’m in for before starting the big quilt.

practice_pieceSmaller practice piece, sewn to scale using the same materials as the big quilt.

One tweak that I made to my spray basting method was to omit dragging my big tables downstairs and outside. I realized I could just lay a large sheet out on the patio and spray the layers of my quilt on the sheet, then take them back indoors for final assembly.

bastingI prefer to spray baste the top and backing separately, rather than the batting.

I tried out several different stitch textures before opting to go with Boxes, the squarish stipple design on the upper left hand of the picture below. After some practice, I realized that the design is really the star of this quilt, so I didn’t want to over-do it on the quilting.

texture_practiceThese textures were quilted on my practice piece so I could see how they looked “in the cloth” before picking a final design.

I realized that I prefer to add texture to my quilts with the quilting, so that I can enhance the piecing rather than overwhelm it. I quilted all of the black areas first in a matching thread, starting and stopping the quilting in each black box.  It was a lot of tying off, to bury my thread tails. But it really didn’t take that long, since I did a few rows each night while watching TV.

black_boxesI really like the texture of the boxes. I’m quilting the same motif right now in the white squares and I really like the effect. I chose Quilter’s Dream Orient batting which is super soft and I like the feel of it. However, the batting beards which means there is a lot of white fuzz showing through on the black fabric, so I’m constantly cleaning it off with a lint roller. (I’m still figuring out which battings I like best.)

I should have it all quilted soon and I plan to enjoy the holiday weekend hand stitching the binding on while visiting with the extended family.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Turkey Day!

17 thoughts on “Work in Progress – Optical Illusion Quilting Update

  1. Alice says:

    Hi Christa. I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving. On the subject of batting—-I like warm and natural and warm and white cotton batting so far in my quilting life. I am by no means an expert but have learned a lot from your blogs. I do need to consider cost and I have never made anything that is contest worthy. Good luck with your latest adventure.

  2. Elizabeth E. says:

    Quilt is looking good, and of course, I always try and match my quilt while quilting. You have a lot of great advice on bearding, but an after-the fact trick that helped me was to throw it in the dryer for a few minutes. That seemed to help stop the bearding. Don’t know why. . . and it may not work for you, but just thought I’d throw it into the mix (got that tip from the manufacturer).

  3. Carole Hill says:

    Hi Christa, the quilt is looking really good. I also use quilters dream, but I use the request, and I have not had any problems with it, Iike the sizes with it and it smooths out really well. It also has a right and wrong side, and sometimes I don’t always get it right, but the post by Duane is essential to finding the right way, thank you Duane for the Post! Christa, your quilts look spectacular when seen in person. I still need to work on other quilting patterns to make them a little easier. thanks for all the info on your sewing methods.

  4. Cheryl says:

    When I saw the 4 pictures of the quilting designs, my eyes immediately went to the upper left hand corner, it is a great design for the quilt. I can’t wait to see the finish!

  5. JulieAnn says:

    It has been so much fun watching this quilt come together and can’t wait to see the finished quilt. Just another wonderfully perfect Christa Quilt! Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  6. Duane Wiley says:

    I found this info very helpful…article by APQS

    Batting has an “up” and “down”
    January 22, 2013

    Well, most of it does, anyway! It may surprise you to know that many batting products have a right side and a wrong side, just like fabric. If you place the batting wrong side up, you’ll typically experience more batting “bearding” (small slubs of batting that pull to the back side of the quilt) or difficulty in maintaining consistent thread tension.
    The “right side” vs. the “wrong side”
    Batting that has been needle punched during its formation has a right side. Look at the batting and search for small pin holes or dimples in the batting. Needle-punching methods drive small needles from one side of the batting to the other as they compress the fibers together. These small holes will reveal the right side of the batting. You want your machine’s needle to penetrate the batting in the same direction as the needle-punching machine.
    The wrong side of the batting will have more slubs, which are tiny balls of batting. The wrong side looks much like a sweater that has been worn one too many seasons. If you have this side inadvertently facing up when you layer your quilt, your needle can catch one of these dense little balls of batting and try to force it back through the batting and out the back of the quilt, resulting in bearding.
    Examine your batting carefully
    For many products, the right side and wrong side will be very apparent. Others may take a little more studying to determine up from down. Sometimes you can tell the right side by trying to insert a pin into the batting from both directions. The pin will often slide through more easily from the right side to the wrong side.
    Some very popular products are often placed wrong side up in quilts by accident. For example, Warm and Natural 100% cotton has a “clean side” and a “dirty side” – you’ll notice more small cotton seed flecks on the dirty side. Quilters who don’t know about “up and down” often put the dirty side down, so that the seed flecks don’t shadow through the quilt top. However, this is incorrect! The dirty side is actually the right side of Warm and Natural and should face up when layering the quilt.
    Check you needle’s sharpness
    If you experience bearding with a batting, and the bearding happens with nearly every stitch, you most likely have a dull or burred needle. However, if you notice only an occasional dot of batting on the back side of your quilt, you may indeed have the batting upside down! Even with right side, wrong side knowledge, you can still have bearding with batting that is particularly dense or “slubby” on the backside.
    Some battings do not have any right side
    You can identify these battings by their processing. Thermal or resin bonding holds the fibers together differently from needle punching. Batting that has a scrim also has direction. The scrim prevents batting migration through your top. Quilters often debate whether the scrim side goes up or down. If the batting is needle punched, use that as your first choice for deciding direction. If it is bonded, however, place the scrim on the side of the batting which will receive the most wear. A bed quilt, for example, will rub against the sheets every single night. In this case, placing the scrim down will help reduce batting migration.
    Written by APQS Team

  7. Heulwen says:

    Ooo, love the graphic look of this, and the quilting sets it off beautifully. Also interested that you’re using Quilter’s Dream Orient – I’ve only used their cotton battings but I’d like to try that one too.

  8. quiltinghappy says:

    Hi Christa, cool quilt! Great idea to make a smallish sample of the same design to size, to explore the quilting options on. I always wish whenever I have a customer quilt, that they would also give me exactly that so I can experiment on something other than the real thing! great design choice also. Love Suzy

  9. Jane Brown says:

    I used Orient on two queen sized quilts and it didn’t beard at all. My quilts are made with 100 different FQs and varying qualities of fabric including some batiks. I never saw any bearding. Perhaps a different sized needle or brand would help.

  10. Carolyn Trezona says:

    Christa, the batting we have here in SA has a sort of “fluffy” side and a smoother side and I always make sure that I have the smoother side facing the quilt top. I wonder if this applies to the batting which you are using? Just a thought….

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