Stitching a Raven

Celia's Raven in progress (6)My Night Circus quilt is coming right along (previously blogged here).  I have never had such an easy time with a book quilt.  I will have this done over 6 months ahead of time!  I think it's because I decided not to obsess about it and add a million details. It's actually pretty simple, and except for the hand applique, is all done by machine.  I am posting these photos to show my hand applique technique.  Celia's Raven in progress (4)The raven is done with black silk.  It's a fairly substantial silk, so it's pretty stable, but it is slippery.  I didn't use any kind of stabilizer here.  Most of the time with cotton I don't bother with thread basting unless the pieces are unusually large.  The raven is large and also has those annoying points and is slippery.  

I draw the design out onto freezer paper.  Then iron the freezer paper to the applique fabric right side up.  I draw around the pattern on the fabric with a Sewline pencil (my favorite for white and black lines).  I cut out the applique (adding a scant 1/4" for the seam allowance) and remove the freezer paper.  The applique is laid on the quilt top in place and pinned in a few places. I then thread baste about 1/2" in from the line that I drew.  I use a blind applique stitch with lightweight thread and clip corners as I go. I use a combination of hand and needle turning. and usually just do a bit at a time.  I like to turn a few inches or a small section and pin in place, then stitch.  

Celia's Raven in progress (2)

I spent the weekend working on the raven and was so happy when it was done.  I also remembered that I needed some tent flags, so I did those.  I got the quilt layers basted on Sunday night and started machine quilting yesterday.  

Celia's Raven in progress (11)Yesterday I started with the big tent, then did the background around it.  I followed up with the smaller tents this morning and just did the raven.  One thing I hate is marking.  I don't mark when I hand quilt and I sure don't want to mark when I'm machine quilting.  I think there would be no way I could stick to the line and the thought of having to later remove the lines gives me the willies!  So, with the raven I did one section at a time, deciding how I wanted the long wing feathers to look, then deciding what to do with the top part of the wing, etc.

Celia's Raven in progress (14)

I am so pleased with how it came out!  Do I sound surprised?  I am, I really, really am.  For many years I struggled to machine quilt and thought that I'd never be pleased with my own effort, but I think I've improved a lot in the past few years.

Celia's Raven in progress (15)

In other news,tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 28, I will be doing the program at the Sisters quilt guild (aka East of the Cascades Quilters).  It takes place at the Stitchin' Post in the classroom at 6:30 pm.  I will be doing a Trunk Show (aka glorified show and tell) with some of the quilts from the last few years.  I'll also have my newest pieces, including this one!  Hope to see some locals there.

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