I thought I would share my latest creation with you: I purchased 2 print panels: the central Japanese lady in her kimono as well as the 4 Geisha’s in the corners of the quilt at quilt shows over the past year or so. I had no idea how I would use them in a quilt – in fact, I do not believe that I initially even thought I would use them both in the same quilt.
Here’s a tip: when you have some lovely fabric but are not sure how to use it or what to use it with, pin it up on your quilt wall and look at it from time to time over the next while. After looking at the panels for a week or 2, it suddenly came to me: Kimono lady in the center, cut up the other panel to put one Geisha in each corner. But I had gaps on the 2 sides ??? I then remembered the Janome Osawa Fish Collection of embroidery designs. I thought those beautiful needle painted koi fish would do just perfectly in my “gaps”. I was also pleased as these designs were digitized by a Japanese lady, Kyomi Osawa, for Janome. I obviously did not use the Elna 740 Excellence for the embroidery – I switched to the EL9500 and stitched both designs in the 8 inch square hoop.
I pieced the quilt blocks using the Elna 740 Excellence, added a red border and then let the quilt sit on my work table for another week until I knew how I wanted to quilt it. I decided to do trapunto quilting on the central kimono lady. I actually added 2 layers of poly loft batting behind the shape of the kimono lady as well as one layer of Hobbs Hierloom 80/20 batting to the whole quilt. My lady was quite heavily “puffy”. Now I do not mind admitting that this quilt was quite a challenge for me (which is GOOD as the same old -same old tends to bore me nowadays and so I welcomed the challenge). I set up the EL740 Excellence with its incredible Convertible Free motion foot (I used the small open toe so I could see very clearly where I was going) and was then a teeny bit nervous to stitch all around my Japanese lady. It was a bit like being a child again and learning to colour in the lines! I was stitching with black thread so if I did not stay ON the black outlines on the print, it would show. Did I do a perfect job? No, I did not, but the overall result is pleasing to me so I am happy.
First thing I did was stitch all the way around my lady so she “puffed” up a bit with all that poly batting behind her. Then I stippled the entire background behind her in cream thread. She then literally blossomed. Then it was back to the black thread to fill in the details: the lines of her kimono, fan, etc. This was not as easy as I had perhaps thought it might be: I was “wrestling” with the whole sandwiched quilt; trying to ensure I free motion stitched EXACTLY on the lines through a rather “puffy” sandwich. Those extra layers of trapunto batting were not so easy to tame. But I got it done and breathed a big sigh of relief. It is a good feeling to know you tackled something that broadens your skill level.
Next came the stippling around my embroidered koi fish and lastly the geisha’s which I outline-quilted. I also did a bunch of ditch quilting around the various blocks. However, instead of straight stitching in the ditch (which has me yawning), I used a decorative stitch: stitch #100 in the Quilt category on the EL740 Excellence. I used this same stitch to attach the binding to the quilt.
I attached the binding using the Quilt Binder attachment. See your local Elna dealer to purchase one of these incredible accessories. I’m serious! This binder will literally halve the time it takes you to attach binding by machine becuase it folds over & attaches the binding IN ONE STEP. Forget hand sewing your binding…..this Quilt binder attachment probably does it in 1/10 or 1/20 of the time it would take to hand sew but seeing as I do not hand sew my bindings, I am not real sure on that.
I will be doing a 3 part series with step-by-step pics of how to use this QUILT BINDER . My Geisha quilt binding took longer than it would otherwise have taken as I stopped along the way to take pics for these blog posts……..COMING SOON TO THE ELNA CANADA BLOG.