Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Forward Quite the Learning Experience

I am finally starting to stitch the outside borders of Spring Forward. The quilt is basically a lap size, so really, if everything had went well, I could have already had it finished up by this point in May. Not that I have a deadline!
Spring Forward
Ah.. life. Why does it always get in the way?*wink  One of the things that has continually hi-jacked my quilting time in the last month or so is my daughters senior project. Now I'm happy to report that her cookbook has been completed and submitted for publishing! Yay! We're crossing our fingers it arrives in time for her senior presentation and then if she's pleased with it, there will be opportunity for family members to buy their own personal copy. Uh huh. This mama is getting one no matter what!
Making sure there's slack in the hoop
But maybe I can concentrate on my quilt a little better now? lol Over the years I've noticed that it helps to have a little slack in the hoop when I'm hand quilting. With this particular hoop, I can get my quilt top situated exactly how I like, no wrinkles etc and then I simply roll each of the top plastic grips to the inside--just enough to give me the perfect amount of slack. Since I'm switching back and forth between regular hand quilting thread and Perle Cotton, it's a simple matter to roll the top plastic grips to the outside when I want to tighten the quilt.

When working with Perle Cotton thread, I go ahead and loosen the quilt (in the hoop) up even more than usual. Fat thread seem to need even less resistance than normal, especially the larger #5 thread I'm experimenting with right now, and it will glide through the fabric so... much easier. I'm starting to see why many people quilt without a hoop when they're using this kind of thread. Personally, I still prefer using the hoop because I feel that I have more control over what my stitches are looking like on the backside of my quilt too (something I've always struggled with).
Stitching on the border now
One other thing I've noticed about using the #5 Perle Cotton thread. I had to go out and buy a little rubber gripper thing to help pull my needle through the tough spots. Thankfully Walmart carries them so I didn't have to spend an entire day tracking them down! Now, I probably could have used one of these a time or two in years past, but with this quilt? I'm using it all. the. time. It's that fat #5 thread. I just know it.
Looking at more stitching
The length of the Perle Cotton stitches could have (should have) been even longer than they are in this particular quilt. The longer stitches give such a fun vibe! That's why they call it Big Stitch! Why, oh why didn't I do that? Umm.. would you believe that I forget? Yep. I get in a rhythm born of years of hand quilting, visiting away with my family or just meditating. Next thing I know, I have a hoop full of smallish stitches (much smaller than I want for this Perle Cotton look) and I'm not gonna take them out. No way. No how. It'll just happen again and again and if I keep taking my stitches out, pretty soon I'll have hand quilted the entire quilt twice. Ughhh. Seriously? Even I'm not that crazy. This quilt is just gonna have to be happy with a mishmash of different stitching lengths!

And I can't help but appreciate the irony of the situation. Normally, I get in a rhythm and end up with a hoop full of 'too large' stitches. With Perle Cotton, that will NEVER be the problem!


  1. I love big stitch quilting and use #8 perle cotton. With this I don't use a hoop, I think it is great that I don't have to. But like you I need a needle puller, but then I have to use that with more traditional handquilting in the hoop as well.
    Your quilt looks wonderful, love that great big pink flower there!

  2. Your quilt looks great! I have never done an 'intentional' big stitch but I plan to try to do some big stitch quilting in the future.

  3. I think the texture you are creating looks marvelous. It is going to be a beautiful quilt!

  4. LOL, I don't think I've ever heard someone say their quilting stitches are too short! But you still have lots of great texture going on. Nice to be in the home stretch!

  5. As you know I love quilting with big stitches and agree with what you have to say. I use a hoop with slack, I find my stitches are messier if I try without a hoop. I think a variation in stitch length is fun eg longer stitches in a border, shorter stitches in a block. Your quilt is looking wonderful, you seem to have reached the border in no time! Congratulations to your daughter for writing a cook book!!

  6. I have not done any hand quilting lately, but I have been hearing a lot about big stitch quilting. I am going to have to give this a try in the future. Your quilt is looking fabulous! You are on the home stretch now. Congratulations to your daughter, That is quite a accomplishment!

  7. I cut the fingers off a latex glove for my finger pullers. I cannot quilt without them.
    I also have to "try" to make my stitches bigger.
    Also, perle cotton shrinks when washed and dried in the drier, so leave plenty of slack or don't put your quilt in the drier! I know this from experience.

  8. I love your quilt, and the quilting looks great! I love to hand quilt, but haven't tried the big stitch yet. I love the look of it...need to try that one of these days!

  9. I love your quilt. I love to hand quilt too. So far I have only used #8 and #12 for the big stitch. I love #12 the best. It is much thinner than what you are using. I love all the information you have shared. Hugs

  10. I have a hard time doing a big stitch, but my little stitch looks like it, so maybe I have a hard time with my regular stitch too. LOL

  11. The texture on this quilt is wonderful. I tried big stitch quilting on one of my first quilts and was disappointed at the shrinkage of the thread. (Maybe I shouldn't have put it in the dryer?) I wonder what your experience has been. I know many, many quilters are using thicker thread and seem to like it. Congratulations to your daughter on her recipe book. It's a great accomplishment.


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