Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Medallion Quilt Finish!

This project that I've had in my head and now finally finished was about a five year journey. Do you have projects like that? It's such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when it's completed!

This quilt was a unique project for me since it started with the Colonial Williamsburg Restoration Inc. (copyright 1959) linen toile as the centerpiece. I used the selvages of said linen piece in the borders around it to document the importance of the center.


It was not a perfect square, but close to it so succeeding borders had to be slightly adjusted to make it around the medallion. Designing everything as I went was a quilting journey for me, searching "medallion quilts" and reading books to figure out all of the borders. But I enjoy a challenge.

The last border to be quilted was another "Borders Made Easy" design that I also echoed (just like the first one) to fill it out a little bit using my quarter inch foot.
It was a bold choice to machine quilt this Kona cotton cream border in the King Tut Chalice (#970) thread with variegated colors of wine to camel. Sort of sticks out, you know...highlighted the experience of the quilter. Well, it's not perfect but I'm satisfied because I don't think any quilt is "perfect" when handmade.

The bias binding was already made: made it when I made the binding for the Cream and Sugar Quilt I finished last year. So after finishing quilting and basting around the circumference of the quilt I trimmed off the excess making sure the corners were square. Stitching the raw edges together with a 3/8 seam made easy work, covering the machine basting. I mitered the corners using instructions from "Floral Bouquet Quilts from In The Beginning" by Sharon Evans Yenter. This photo below shows some stitching on the left, folding the bias at 45% then fold down, and restarting machine stitching on the next side. Pretty ingenious as long as you keep to the 3/8" seam.


After pressing the binding away from the quilt I hand stitched one side or more of the binding to the quilt each day and completed the stitching in three days.

The red binding really sets off the quilt top and compliments the quilt back floral fabric. I'm really happy with this project because I learned a lot and it's one more project completed!

Except I have enough fabric left to make matching pillow shams.....oops, another project is born!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Medallion "Borders Made Easy"

 I've been working every day for an hour or two on this quilt. The last quilt-in-the-ditch border is a piano key design, so named for the strips used and sewn together to resemble piano keys. The one I used I nicknamed an "offset piano key" border because it resembles black and white key piano keys. 
You can see the quilting-in-the-ditch design I decided upon in the photo below, second from right, even though it's a bit blurry.
Basically it's two trips around the border with lots of turns using the machine's "needle down" feature. It took about four days to do this, a little every day. There are two borders that will have designs using Borders Made Easy, a product from "Quilting Made Easy".

I discovered this product by chance looking around at several quilt store websites. It comes with 26 feet of design and four corners in each package. The designs are rated by difficulty, the 100 level is for me, a beginner in sewing machine quilting. And it's very easy to fit the design to the length needed since the sides of the roll are sticky: you can just cut, reposition and re-draw lines (if needed). 
Just don't stitch over the sticky parts according to the instructions. The corners are just pinned...no sticky stuff on those. Sewing these easy borders is done with a regular foot: no free-motion quilting. I chose an open toe foot to make it easier to see the solid and dotted lines on the paper.
This design is four trips around the quilt on each side. It took about and hour and half to do. Then you just pull off the sticky sides first and then remove all the other paper pieces. I didn't find this a problem since I'm used to doing this in heirloom machine sewing. As a matter of fact, this particular paper is easier to pull off!
Here you can see the sticky borders are removed with just the center left to do. I have one more border to do. It's wider and on the cream Kona cloth so my stitching will have to be really good. I think I'll save that for next week, along with the binding. I can't wait to finish this quilt and move on to other projects!!


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Medallion Machine Quilting

I have a confession. I've never done free-motion embroidery before on my Pfaff 7570.And now I'm going to learn it on my Medallion Quilt. Hmmm....should be interesting.

First I had to get the big instruction book out and actually read it. My Pfaff 7570 has a built-in even-feed system, an absolute must for machine quilting (most machines don't and you have to purchaser an extra attachment). Then I attached the free-motion embroidery foot (foot #6), lowered the feed dogs and put the foot into the darning position (I call it half mast since it's between all the way up and down). I tightened the tension a little to make sure I had good stitches on the quilt back.


Using free motion embroidery makes it a whole lot easier to quilt the figures in the center Toile medallion rather than constantly twisting and turning the quilt around to get where I need to go.  The Fons and Porter quilting grip gloves really help! This machine quilting is a new experience for me and I always enjoy a challenge! I worked on and off for four days quilting figures, trees, wheat and hills and valleys, horizons. A veritable set of five scenes in all. Oh, and the verse for Bonny Bonny Charlie, too, the theme of this vintage 1959 Williamsburg Toile.

The center round border was done with an open toe foot and regular machine settings, as was the large square border. The photo below shows the open toe foot foot but I found it wasn't a good choice for stitching in the ditch between the antique linen and red floral.

So I changed to a better foot: the narrow edge stitch foot which has a 'blade' (does not cut anything) that acts as a guide between two pieces of fabric or on a seam. Perfect for this technique!
The rest of the quilting is mostly stitching-in-the-ditch on the seam lines using this foot and regular machine settings. Every "seam" is started and ended with 8-10 tiny stitches (0.5mm length) then 2.5mm for the quilting.
How do you manage a large quilt when machine quilting?  You roll it up to expose the area to work on. 
I re-roll the quilt to expose the area to be worked on as I go. The quilting is worked in a specific order to keep the quilt from getting off-kilter, or stretched. See the photo below and the drawing on the left with the arrows that's the order, or direction, for quilting this, finishing top and bottom, then each side. 
When all of the stitching in the ditch is completed then I will tackle the two borders with quilted designs using the "Borders Made Easy" that I purchased. That's another challenge!!