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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.