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need advice please - finishing a quilt for a friend

need advice please - finishing a quilt for a friend

Old 08-21-2019, 04:08 AM
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Default need advice please - finishing a quilt for a friend

I am finishing a quilt for a friend who's mother started this about 15 years ago...the mother passed away in 2007 and he asked me to finish this for him. The top you see in the picture was already completed. I making the "sandwich". I have sewn around the outside of each block to stabilize the top to the backing.

My question is...would you leave the plain white blocks as they are or possibly add something to them, however I am concerned if I do that it will take away from the tractors she has embroidered in every other block.

It's hard to see in the photo, but there is an 8" white border around the outside, I was thinking of adding a stencil type decoration on the border in red or green thread to match the tractors.
I would appreciate your opinions please. I am using a standard Janome machine with a 7" throat, so I don't have a lot of room to work with. This is laid on our queen size bed for photo purposes.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-21-2019, 04:29 AM
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I'd leave the white squares plain. And I'd stitch in the ditch. That would be leaving it as much as possible to the original design. If you think about anything else, maybe you should speak with your friend and let him think about it for a while so he doesn't just say, " Whatever ..."
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:39 AM
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Personally, I think the white blocks need something....maybe a cross-hatch...nothing fancy though...
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:58 AM
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Maybe just an x/diagonal from corner to corner in the plain white squares?
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:00 AM
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Plowed Furrows - straight lines running horizontally for the plain blocks.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:15 AM
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It is always difficult to finish someone else's quilt since we have no idea what their plan was. I can't count how many quilts started one way and I changed my mind mid way or even at the end. This quilt is very "flat" and does not jump out where the tractors now get lost in the white. Even a red or black SITD could help them spring out a bit. Give a few ideas to your friend let him think on it for a bit. There is no hurry since it has been incomplete for all these year. You will get it just right. Be confident that it will be just how he envisions his mom had it in her mind .
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:22 AM
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It looks like you have already quilted the seams between the blocks? If so, I see a little “extra” fabric in the plain blocks which means you can’t really quilt anything in them that goes from seam to seams or you will have puckers. My suggestion would be to trace one of embroidered tractors on cardboard and use the template outline to mark a tractor you can quilt in the center of the plain blocks. I would also outline quilt the tractors in the embroidered blocks.

p.s. With the difficulty of marking on white, I might use the tractor template to trace the outline on freezer paper several times. You can then iron the freezer paper template on the plain blocks to stick it down to quilt around. If you have use a polyester batt, be careful with your iron though. Polyester batt melts if it gets too hot.

Last edited by Tartan; 08-21-2019 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:43 AM
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I would echo a single line about a fourth of an inch around each tractor to stabilize those blocks and make them stand out. Then cross hatch the plain squares to stabilize those. I think you are right about not upstaging the tractor blocks. By adding a quilted line you are enhancing them not detracting from them.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:48 AM
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I would definitely add more quilting. It stabilizes everything and helps avoid real problems later with washing and drying.
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:04 AM
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I am often curious where the idea that quilting will detract from other elements of the quilt. That quilt definitely needs additional quilting both in the embroidered tractor blocks and in the plain blocks. If you use a white thread that blends with the fabric it will enhance the quilt as well as reinforce it and make it more durable. I agree with juliasb that the embroidered tractors are lost in that massive sea of white with nothing to break up all that negative space.

I think quilting in both the tractor blocks and the plain blocks would not only bring the embroidery to the forefront, it would look much better. Here is a visual example of an embroidered quilt I did several years ago showing before and after pics of each block so you can see what I am talking about.


Obviously what I did would not fit that quilt but you definitely need something. I do like the idea of doing straight line quilting to resemble the tractor furrows. Maybe do them going horizontal in the tractor blocks and vertical in the plain blocks. Here is a link to a google search of clip art tractor tracks to get your creative juices flowing. https://www.google.com/search?tbm=is...&bih=753&dpr=1

Another option is to do crops in the plain blocks. Ears of corn, sheafs of wheat, that idea. Quilts with this much negative space need quilting. If done densely enough you will be able to take up the extra fabric that has resulted in the ditch work stablizing. Use a walking foot if you are not comfortable doing FMQ
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