Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Galloping Garlic Batman! We finally tamed the poof!!!

Happy New Year gang!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.

I finally completed the machine quilting on a small whole cloth I began in class with Diane Gaudynski ( ) last August. In class I was able to complete the first row of stitches that defined the shapes. The challenge I set up for myself with this piece was to "Tame the Poof" as I stitched the filler designs and the border. Poof is an excess fabric on the quilt top that if not handled correctly may cause a pleat as you quilt. I have been down the echo quilting route and that just corralled (word?) the poof into one big pleat that was REALLY visible .

In class with Diane I learned that the best way to fight poof it to attack it head on - or at least perpendicularly (is that a word?) OK - perpendicular, change direction, hmmm... Bouncing banana would be perfect for the filler in this piece.

Scissors pointing to my doodle of Bouncing Bananas and stitched on a warm up piece.

I love this filler - probably my favorite of all time, but it belongs to Diane Gaudynski. When I use it I feel I am paying tribute to her and all she has contributed to the world of quilting and to me personally as a quilter. At the same time I felt compelled to make it my own. But no matter what design I tried it always morphed back into bananas.

Then came Thanksgiving! One of the few times during the year I actually cook. I'm not a very good cook but I'm a great Cuban American so I start every dish with at least an entire head of garlic. Until recently, we didn't own a cutting board so I placed the head of garlic on a plate from my everyday dishes. hmmmm....pretty shapes.... leaves in the background....hhmmmm

Then I forgot all about cooking and scattered the individual cloves on the plate. Hey! That looks nice. The shapes shared all the design qualities that makes bouncing bananas so fabulous. A pivot at both top and bottom, can very width and length, and can change directions at any point.

Wow - can I draw this? If I can draw it then I might be able to stitch it!

Hey - yeah! More practice and refining.....
My white board in my office...
My note pad I take into meetings.....
Now the acid test - can I stitch it?
Well yuck and double yuck!
But never say die! I decided what I didn't like was the color of the thread on the background and not the actual shapes themselves. So I decided to just do it. I loaded the right color silk in the ol' bernina and just had fun.
And that boys and girls is the story of how Galloping Garlic was born. See closeup photos below. Notice there is not a single poof to be found! with flash

.... to give an idea of scale

One other huge lesson learned from this project that I wanted to share. Don't under estimate the power of Dianeshiko. Another one of Diane's killer background fillers and the best substitute for crosshatching ever. This is the first time I have ever used Dianeshiko in a border. OMG! It totally stabilized it. It's the first border that I have ever done that was perfectly flat BEFORE I blocked. Usually I can't get the border flat even AFTER I block it. Another huge plus is that even it it's not perfect it still looks great. And believe me, each time you stitch this design it gets better and better.
Go to Diane's website to see an example of how it looks when you actually master the design. Amazing! If you are interested in learning any of these filler designs, they are all in her book Diane Gaudynski's Machine Quilting Guidebook - less than $15 on Amazon.

I wish you all lots of health, happiness, and good cheer for 2010 and beyond. To my applique friends, may all your stitches be invisible. To my machine quilting friends may your tension be perfectly balanced. To all, may you always see the positive in every challenge.

Best stitches,
Mercy aka
The Savage Quilter

1 comment:

  1. Mercy, I LOVE the garlic fill!!! It is beautiful and "you." Thanks for the comments - note: I did not pay Mercy to say these things, but have to agree about Diane-shiko stabilizing the borders. It does. Your piece is lovely, it all worked, the poof is tamed. Hurray!