Saturday, 11 February 2012

Taming the Tangled Garden

Tangled Garden - Fini!
Quilt Challenge Save a UFOI tamed the beast! My Tangled Garden is finally done and barely squeaking in before the deadline of the Quilting is Murder UFO Challenge! EDITED: I just realized that I'd forgotten to mention that I gave myself the added incentive to finish this quilt this week by making it my One Thing for Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenge. Thanks Amy for another great challenge!
Amy's Creative Side

As I mentioned in this post, this quilt was started 11 or 12 years ago. I got the top done and sandwiched 9-ish years ago for a machine quilting class. It was a very disappointing experience, so I put this poor neglected garden away.
Tangle Garden - Before UFO Challenge
After another frustrating session this week of broken threads and needles, I was about to give up on free motion quilting the flowers. As a last ditch effort Wednesday afternoon, I changed the needle to a 90/14 and the thread to rayon and held my breath. One flower, two flowers, three flowers done – it worked!
Tangled Garden - all quilted
For the quilting, I did a variety of flower motifs (daisies, lazy daisies, roses, wavy roses) in the flowers, a loopy loop around the flowers, stippling in the dirt trench, which gave it a good pebbly look, and leafy vines in the border.
Detail - Free motion daisies
Detail of free motion quilting
One of the other things I really didn’t like about this quilt was the pop of white in a couple of places that was too stark a contrast. Once the quilt was finished, I used Shiva Oil Sticks to darken the white. Not ideal, but it did softens the contrast.
Detail - White flower
Detail - White flower coloured with Shiva Oil Sticks
This was the first quilt I ever designed improvisationally. Boy, did I learn a lot. Some of my key lessons learned are:

Detail - You can't quilt it all out - ;)
• When doing improv foundation log cabins, trim the seam allowances to a 1/4” or less so that the layers don’t build up too much.
• Trim the squares accurately so that the top lies flat when it's all pieced together.
• You can only “quilt out” so much puffiness. LOL.
• With a quilt that has a lot of layers, go straight for an embroidery needle rather than a quilting needle and use strong, thin thread. I used Aurifil 50 wt. on the bottom and a variety of rayons and Aurifil on the top.

The finished quilt:
Tangled Garden - Finished Quilt
Thanks Michele (Quilting Gallery) and the Quilting is Murder folks for motivating me to save one of my UFOs!

Hope you are having a great weekend,


  1. Nice job any piece of art; you have to stand back and take a look....

  2. Way to go Michelle! Very pretty and thanks for the tips.

  3. That's a long time coming!! ;)
    The detail is fantastic and I absolutely love the fmq!!

  4. What a great quilt!! Good job! I really like the quilting in the flowers, a great detail!


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