Nearly two years after finishing the quilt top, I’m finally hip-deep in quilting Bright Sisters. This is my version of the Color Block Quilt designed by Carl Hentsch of 3 Dog Designs, which I first saw on an episode of The Midnight Quilt Show. It was love at first sight. I couldn’t wait to make the quilt and I had a blast piecing it. Plus I learned a lot along the way.
When I completed the top, I didn’t feel ready to quilt it. I hadn’t quite gotten comfortable with free-motion work, I was planning a move from California to Seattle, and I was terrified of “ruining” the quilt with unskilled stitching. So I folded the quilt carefully and placed it inside a clean pillowcase for safekeeping. I did want the quilting to be something special, so in the meantime I planned an involved and challenging design for it.
I spent a lot of this year (2019) practicing my free-motion quilting, and I finally felt like I could tackle this baby. Before I could do anything, it needed a good pressing and a thread or two trimmed on the back.
After layering and pin-basting it I was ready to go. Oh, and by the way, you can measure twice and still cut wrong, in case anyone ever asks. Luckily I had some extra batting lying around.
I wanted the quilting to be very dense and to enhance different parts of the quilt design. I also wanted to match the top thread to the fabrics so it would blend in and hide any not-so-perfect parts. I planned to work from the center out, so I began by looking at my original quilting design for the inside of the center circle (see above). It didn’t really grab me this time around so I consulted some quilt design books and started doodling other patterns.
I came up with a feathered one that I really like. Before starting on the quilt itself, I made up some practice blocks and took a few runs at it. The fourth attempt came out pretty well:
So I took my courage in both hands and quilted the center circle. It was while working on this design that I finally grokked how to quilt bump-back feathers. Now I can’t get enough of them.
I continued to work my way out from the center. Before each new color, I spent some time looking at my original plan and re-drawing it using my iPad until I came up with something I liked and was confident I could quilt.
I’m working my way out toward the edges now, and nearly finished with the yellow and lime square-in-a-square that you see in the photo above. I’m planning more feathers for the dark green circles and I can’t wait to get to those. I’m doing minimal marking as I go, so it’s moving along quickly. More soon!