Saturday, December 28, 2019

Designing on the Longarm

I've joined an online special interest group to learn about ways to design quilts on the longarm machine and save steps.  I've tried a bit with this technique, and worked with it again today.  I thought I would explain my process so others might try it and avoid the mistakes I made!

My goal is to be able to applique without pinning or basting the pieces.  The idea is that you lay all the pieces on the quilt top, right on the longarm, and cover them gently with tulle.  The tulle holds the pieces relatively in place while you quilt all over the quilt top.

Here is how I started today.
1.  I selected a piece of ice dyed fabric, and pinned it to the longarm machine.  Keep reading, because this is not how I should have started!  This piece is about 45 by 25".

2.  I wanted to use up these scraps from a recent project, and make an abstract garden design that I can cut up into postcard size pieces when it is finished.

3.  I randomly spread the scraps around onto the background.

4.  I pulled apart some old silk flowers to add to the mix.

5.  Then I added some yarn.

6.  I gently layered all with tulle.

7.  At this point, I thought I was ready to quilt, but before I did . . . . . I realized that I had forgotten the backing and batting, which should have gone on the machine FIRST.  

So, I carefully took off the top, so that the pieces would not fall off.  I laid this all onto a small design board so I could move it out of the way without disturbing my design too much.  I then cut a second piece of hand dyed fabric to serve as a backing, and pieced some batting scraps onto the backing.  I enlisted help to transfer the top with all the parts and the tulle back into place on the longarm.  Now I had a sandwich and was ready to quilt.  I pinned just the sides of the tulle to hold it in place.  I started by loosely quilting over each piece of the composition.

8.  I continued quilting over the design, adding extra stuff in the empty spaces. 

9.  The finished panel.  Now (tomorrow) I will divide it into smaller pieces and decide how to finish the edges.

10.  My next project using this technique will be portraits. They may end up pretty abstract, as pieces do move with this method.  But that could be a good thing!!