Thursday, May 31, 2012
I have a quilting friend whom I have never met, Sue B. We were introduced through the Quilts of Valor program. I happened to quilt some of her patriotic quilts that were ultimately donated to wounded soldiers. She chose me to quilt some of her own works of art, too. Eventually, she told her friends about me, and I am happy to say that several have taken the chance and sent me their work as well.
The latest "friend" quilt is this repro beauty that measures only 30" x 30", but was every bit as labor intensive as if it were queen or king size. Each block is only about 3.5" square, but I had to cram a 24 feather wreath into the ones with the appliqued circle and star in them and outline the circle as well as digitize a five petaled star in the middle, which made it look sort of like a starfish. There were 30 of these star blocks and 30 plain.
In the center of the quilt was this amazing star made out of teensy tiny appliqued circles, each measuring only 3/4 of an inch in diameter. The friend wanted stippling all around this star. I also did stitch-in-the-ditch along the inner border of this block.
This picture shows a 20 feather wreath that I put into the plain blocks and added the loopy star in the middle.
The outer border consists of a row of flying geese, which are quilted with stitch-in-the-ditch.
Lastly, the friend wanted to have the individual 3/4" appliqued circles outlined, but I ran into a problem with the outermost ones, which touched. I found that there was not enough room to outline these circles without having the thread show on top of the adjoining circle, so I only outlined the inner 16 circles, which, as you can see, had adequate space between them to keep the quilting clean.
This was a most difficult quilt to do. There were 60 3.5" blocks and one central block with innermost and outermost borders. I had to make every single circle for the inner star individually, since there was no reference point for their centers, and even a millimeter of difference would look sloppy if the threads crossed the fabric.
So I spent as much time on this little quilt as I would have on a much larger one -- and with much smaller tolerances -- and I learned a lesson: you can't base your fee for quilting something merely on the size of the article. You have to take into consideration the number of patterns you use and whether or not you had to digitize them yourself, special custom techniques, maneuverability, density, and labor intensity of the designs as well as structure of the quilt (how well it's put together - this one was very well done), number of colors of thread, any ruler work, etc.
A pantograph on this quilt would have been a travesty but would have taken one hour and it would have been off the frame. I spent 16 hours on this ultra custom quilt -- so you can see how all these things factored into the job. But oh! What a great quilt! This lady did such a great job with the tiniest applique stitches you can imagine! She created a work of art, and it deserved every bit as much attention to the quilting.
I was honored to have been chosen to do this for her. Some of her friends are making the same quilt, and Sue B. is passing my name along to them as well. To be forewarned is to be forearmed! I have saved all my patterns but will alter one: the 24 feather wreath is way too small for this size quilt, so I will, with the customer's consent, make the number of blades just a bit smaller, which will allow the feathers to be fuller looking. You can see the difference in these feathers in the second picture.
Today I'm in my studio working on my embroidery software homework -- woo hoo!
And I have to bind a baby quilt I made for a shower this Sunday.