Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butterflies quilted

                                  Butterflies quilted

Original charm layout

Butterflies arranged and oriented similarly to the charms above

I arranged the fused butterflies in a similar orientation as the charms were placed early on in the project. I removed the bodies and antennae, placing those on the corresponding scraps of butterfly wing pieces, to make sure they get back to the proper place later. Then I fused the wings to the sky background.
Zig-zag experiment
I experimented with zig-zagging around the edges of the wings and detail: first with closely matching thread, then with black. I didn’t like either way. They looked sloppy and the thought of turning the quilt top around and around seemed clunky. Discouraged, I took several days off to let my brain work on a solution.

Butterflies edgestitched

Close-up of edgestitching

I finally decided to stitch around the edges with invisible thread with free-motion quilting. I had recently purchased a YLI invisible thread for an online machine applique class. This was my first time working with invisible thread. Up to this point I had avoided using invisible thread, due to not-so-good memories of the stuff coming undone on bedspreads like loose fishing line, so invisible thread meant “cheap” to me. I went with YLI, which seemed like a good brand and presumably good quality. What surprised me was the fineness of the thread, like a hair. I experimented a little and decided to use grayish thread in the bobbin. If any bobbin thread appeared on the top at least it would not stick out too much. The quilting went alright. I went slowly, sometimes going off the fabric piece I was working on, but that was okay.

Butterfly before sheer added

Sheer added. Stitched along edges of wings only. Did not quilt dark pink detail.

I needed to deal with the sheer butterfly. I used Fray-Check on the edges of the sheer to keep it from fraying. When that was dry I used a good amount of fabric glue on the edges of the fused butterfly, placed the sheer on it and weighted it down with a stack of books. I didn’t want the sheer to go anywhere during the quilting process. It, too, went just fine.

Close-ups of a couple of finished butterflies
I like how the dark pink shows through the sheer and I love the sparkle.

Next, I used fabric glue to attach the antennae and bodies to the butterflies. I gave the glue time to dry, then quilted those in black thread. Perhaps my needle was tired, or perhaps it was the fabric paint on the pieces, but it was slow-going on the quilting, but it looked pretty good when it was finished. All in all, I’m glad I did an edgestitch instead of the zig-zag. From a distance I can’t see the quilting, and the edges are nice and clean, not muddled with zig-zag.

Next I’ll do a pillowcase finish with backing, then quilt the sky area. This project is almost done.

Design notes

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