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Thread: Help..advise! Outline, meandering..soft cuddly quilt, please!

  1. #1
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Help..advise! Outline, meandering..soft cuddly quilt, please!

    I need some advise. I am making a quilt for my 12 yo gd for christmas. SHe loves Orca Whales so this has to be perfect...okay, at least pretty darn good!

    The back is 12 shades of blue/greens/teals/white (solids and prints) for a look of ocean water and in the bargello style pattern trying to mimic waves; which didn't come ou t that great in that respect but stille really pretty in the color area. She already saw this part and said she thought it was really cool!

    The front is a panel with the scene of Orca whales in the ocean..2 under the water with coral etc, and 3 jumping out of the water. Then it is framed with about a 1 inch border of tiny whales in lt/dk blue..then a larger border about 4 inches of dark blue and then I added a royal blue (matching the blue in the panel) all around the sides to make it big enough to match the front piece. And she has seen the Orca panel and loves that too.

    Now I have it all assembled and ready for the top stitching FMQ. I do meandering and will be doing about 2 inches between the stitches as I want a soft, cuddly quilt...not one that is stiff and hard and won't even fold around her legs when she wraps up in it.

    I want to make the whale stand out as much as possible ...if possible. I was thinking to outline each of the whales and the coral...basically the whole ocean panel...and then meandering everything else..all the dark borders and the extra I added to make the back big as the front. If I do this...I can see it'd look good on the whale side..but...how would it look on the bargello sides? in the center would be visalbe hte stitching of the outline of the whales, and the meandering elsewhere. Would the outline of the whales on the bargello look silly or like I missed some meandering in the center? If I meander all over...that'd look good on the bargello side, but it'd I guess be ok on the whale side, but I was hoping to make the whales stand out a bit...as she loves Orcas so much.

    Any suggestions, comments or likes on how to do the top stitching...what and where? Or any thoughts, comments or suggestions as to how to make sure I get a soft cuddly, wrappable finished quilt? I have 100% poly batting...I think it is 8oz weight..not that really thin thick style. I heard that was better for softness...in addition to the wide meandering.

    I have a pic of the panel here..but haven't got a battery for camera so I can't show the bargello side. Thanks so much for any help anyone can offer!
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  2. #2
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    The batting makes a huge difference in softness. Although you mention 100% polyester 8 oz, what is the brand? There are good brands and not-so-good brands of batting. In terms of a polyester batting, I believe Quilter's Dream polydown is supposed to be one of the very best. (I haven't used the QD yet.)

    If you want to make the whales puff out a little, what you can do is trace the whale outline with a Sharpie permanent marker onto paper. Pin this to a spare piece of batting and cut out inside the traced lines. Use a little basting spray or Elmer's washable white school glue to secure the extra batting piece to the wrong side of the top. (If using the glue, you will want to iron to dry out the glue and keep everything stuck together.) When you quilt around the whale shapes, they will puff out a little more than the background. You might want to hand stitch some of the details of the whales, inside the trapunto (or machine outline if you are comfortable with doing that).

    I think the bargello side will look fine.

    Instead of meandering all of the background, you might want to consider quilting wavy lines through the water (or straight lines following the rays of light in the water) and outline quilting the rocks and mountains. Maybe swirls for the sky and clouds.

    Edit: Also, what kind of thread will you be using? Using a finer thread would allow you to do more quilting without adding stiffness. I have found that Aurifil 50wt 2-ply is very good for this. A variegated blue for the top could work very well.
    Last edited by Prism99; 10-23-2012 at 11:06 AM.

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    I am in the process of quilting one that has animals on the front and a pieced back. I outlined the animals then looped around the rest. The back looks cool - you can see the outlines of the animals with the quilting all around them. Your idea was great - outline the whales and other items you choose and then meander around in the background. I can see it now - the whales dancing on the back side will be wonderful.

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    I would outline stitch the main features in the pattern and then quilt in a water pattern in the water area. Water pattern is kind of like horizontal meandering? If you put the Bargello back so the horizontal water pattern goes with the strips, it will go very well together. A regular meander would be fine as well because I find meandering doesn't draw my eye away from the pattern.

  5. #5
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    The batting makes a huge difference in softness. Although you mention 100% polyester 8 oz, what is the brand? There are good brands and not-so-good brands of batting. In terms of a polyester batting, I believe Quilter's Dream polydown is supposed to be one of the very best. (I haven't used the QD yet.)

    If you want to make the whales puff out a little, what you can do is trace the whale outline with a Sharpie permanent marker onto paper. Pin this to a spare piece of batting and cut out inside the traced lines. Use a little basting spray or Elmer's washable white school glue to secure the extra batting piece to the wrong side of the top. (If using the glue, you will want to iron to dry out the glue and keep everything stuck together.) When you quilt around the whale shapes, they will puff out a little more than the background. You might want to hand stitch some of the details of the whales, inside the trapunto (or machine outline if you are comfortable with doing that).

    I think the bargello side will look fine.

    Instead of meandering all of the background, you might want to consider quilting wavy lines through the water (or straight lines following the rays of light in the water) and outline quilting the rocks and mountains. Maybe swirls for the sky and clouds.

    Edit: Also, what kind of thread will you be using? Using a finer thread would allow you to do more quilting without adding stiffness. I have found that Aurifil 50wt 2-ply is very good for this. A variegated blue for the top could work very well.
    Prism99 - thanks so much for the help! You said "instead of meandering the background" did you mean the background IN the panel or the rest of the quilt "background"? IF IN the panel......I had planned on doing the outline stitching on most of what is in the panel...but hadn't thought about the sun rays...that will be good. And yeah...that would be cool to accentuate the whales like that... I will do that too!

    What about the rest of the quilt for meandering? I was thinking to do wavey stitch but just am not that good yet to do specific design work on this large a quilt in a regular machine. That is why I am doing the meandering.

    Thread for softness...didn't know about that. I am using Coats and Clark 100% mercerized cotton thread 30 wt. What is your take on that for softness? Is the higher the wt the better for softness and the lower stronger..thereby causing stiffness? This is new to me.. learning about thread. 100% poly causes to much fluff and jams my machine when doing FMQ'ing but I use it for piece work with no problem.

    And the batting...I don't remember the name of it...Joann's only has a 2-3 choice variety..it is the fluffier kind..white...and $4.99 a yard. They only have a tag with the price and content and bar code on it...didn't notice a brand name.
    Last edited by coffeebreak; 10-23-2012 at 03:40 PM. Reason: add something

  6. #6
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    I am in the process of quilting one that has animals on the front and a pieced back. I outlined the animals then looped around the rest. The back looks cool - you can see the outlines of the animals with the quilting all around them. Your idea was great - outline the whales and other items you choose and then meander around in the background. I can see it now - the whales dancing on the back side will be wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing...that is what I was looking for...someone that had done this and how it turned out. The bargello on the back is so many colors and small (1") squares and inthe lines of waves (up and down) and REALLY busy...so I was not sure how the outline of the things from the front would like like showing up on the back. I am going to "stuff" them as prism99 above mentioned and I think that will look great. Thanks for sharing your experience

  7. #7
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I would outline stitch the main features in the pattern and then quilt in a water pattern in the water area. Water pattern is kind of like horizontal meandering? If you put the Bargello back so the horizontal water pattern goes with the strips, it will go very well together. A regular meander would be fine as well because I find meandering doesn't draw my eye away from the pattern.
    Do you have a picture of the "water pattern" you mention? I have searched so many sites for patterns and all I can find is the really close lines...and that makes for a stiff quilt I am told. Plus...no way could I do that intricate work on this size twin quilt. But if there is some lines for waves I could do....I'd like to try it. In my head I was hoping for a watery/wavy look to the top stitching instead of plain meandering to incorporate the wave effect throughout the quilt

  8. #8
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    The backside being so busy as you say won't really show allot of quilting so going for the front sounds good to me. I made a Christmas quilt for my GD, with a horse in a stable with a wreath on the door. I stuffed and outlined the head halter eyes nose et and outlined different aspects of it. It turned out great. Your will also!

  9. #9
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    The batting makes a huge difference in softness.
    If you want to make the whales puff out a little, what you can do is trace the whale outline with a Sharpie permanent marker onto paper. Pin this to a spare piece of batting and cut out inside the traced lines. Use a little basting spray or Elmer's washable white school glue to secure the extra batting piece to the wrong side of the top. (If using the glue, you will want to iron to dry out the glue and keep everything stuck together.) When you quilt around the whale shapes, they will puff out a little more than the background. You might want to hand stitch some of the details of the whales, inside the trapunto (or machine outline if you are comfortable with doing that).y well.
    Just a thought...if I do as you instruct with adding the batting for puffiness...I ave the basting spray, but it says it washes out...if so...and I don't actully catch that bit of batting in the outline stitching...how do I keep it from bunching up after use and washing? I am guessing do some outline of little areas...like the white on each whales side...is that enough? I have not heard about this...it is called trapunto?

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Regarding the extra batting under the whales, yes, this is called trapunto. You would need to quilt some of the details in the whale to keep the extra batting in place. Actually, instead of spray basting the extra batting to the top, you could use a soft fusible such as MistyFuse to fuse it to the top.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep the amount of quilting somewhat uniform across the quilt. If the background is fairly densely quilted, you don't want to leave the large whales completely unquilted (even though outlined). You need to add some quilting to the whales. It would be pretty easy with this panel to simply quilt where the white and black meet, around the fins, around the eyes, etc.

    The lower the number on thread, the thicker it is. 30wt is thicker thread. Regular weight that most people use for piecing and quilting is 50wt 3-ply. I like Aurifil 50wt 2-ply for quilting. Another option would be a polyester 60wt thread. JoAnn Fabrics has a fairly good assortment of C&C 60wt polyester, although I don't remember them having any variegated. Aurifil has variegated as well as solid colors.

    To be honest, if this is a special quilt I would not take a chance on an unknown brand of polyester batting from JoAnn's. I'd probably order some Quilter's Dream polydown online. Perhaps you could go back to JoAnn's and figure out what brand you have? Maybe I'm overly cautious, but years ago I used a poly batting that did not hold up well.

    For quilting the background, I meant using either wavy lines across the water background in the panel, or quilting the rays of light into the water. For the coral and stones I would probably switch to a brown thread (for the top, anyway), outline quilt them, and outline quilt along any of the interior shapes.

    Edit: There is a method for adding trapunto where you add a layer of batting underneath the shape and use water-dissolving thread to sew around the outline from the top. Then you turn the quilt over and, being ***very*** careful, trim the batting to just outside of the sewn outline. That way you can be sure to catch all of the whale outline in the quilting, as you will be able to see where the water-dissolvable thread is. However, this is a lot more work than the other method and you do risk accidentally cutting a hole in your panel.
    Last edited by Prism99; 10-23-2012 at 05:40 PM.

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