Thursday 13 June 2013

TGIFF! - Hard Core

Hard Core meets Orange Julep
Welcome to TGIFF!

I thought I became a hard core quilter when I started quilting every day and writing this blog two years ago. The quilt I'm sharing with you today showed me otherwise.

Hard Core began in a Liberated Radial Piecing workshop with Elaine Quehl in February, just ten days  after I'd broken my wrist (love her classes, btw!). I didn't think I'd be able to do much with the cast, but it turned out that the piecing technique was "liberated" enough for casted me to do it. Yay! And since I made the medallion with a broken wrist and it kind of looks like the core of the earth, I thought Hard Core would work well as a name. :)

Most of the other participants used beautiful batiks and hand dyed fabrics, but I'm still loving my solids so I went with purple, red, orange, pink, and yellow palette to see what they could do. I also seem to be in an asymmetrical phase so I placed my medallion off centre to the left. Perhaps it's because I'm a little leftie? Yes, perhaps in more ways than one.

Hard Core - Front
Once the top was done, you guys helped me figure out the quilting. Thank you! Quilting in the rays seemed to win out. I knew that would work well for the negative space. I didn't think it would work so well in the wonky medallion part though so after some more experiments, I finally decided to go with a flame spiral in the medallion.

I used a variegated rayon thread in pink, orange, yellow and red for the medallion. Frustration! It kept getting caught coming off the cardboard spool and breaking. Love the colours, hate the thread. Once I got to the edge of the medallion though, I switched to Aurifil #2581. Oh, sweet heaven, what a difference! The rest of the quilting proceeded smoothly and problem free. :)

Quilting Detail - post blocking,
what quilting?
Quilting Detail - pre-blocking.
See the bearding?
I did straight lines outward in alternating rays. In the remaining rays, I did different motifs - swirls, pebbles, flames, spiral flames, etc.

Fabulous, right? Yes, but guess what? After blocking it, you can't see any of the quilting motifs unless you are 5" away from it. All that effort and I could have gotten the same effect just doing one motif all the way around. Hmmm.

Hard Core is 39" by 56.5" and is currently decorating my dining room wall.

Lessons Learned:
The back - nothing exciting,
but I know some of you like seeing the back
  • The centre of the medallion has a very bulky seam. I didn't want it to stick out so I thought if I cut away the batting behind that section, it would lay flush with the rest of the quilt. It worked.  
  • If you are going to do a lot of free motion quilting in the negative space and want it to show the texture, choose a loftier batting and/or a different colour thread. 
  • I do not like bamboo batting, at least the one I've tried (I can't find the paper that came with it to say what brand it is). I had problems with it Clockwork Orange, but I thought it would be fine for a wallhanging because the quilt wouldn't get washed much. However, just wetting the quilt to block it caused more bearding. It also bearded terribly while sewing and has very little loft. Hopefully it will improve because making batting from bamboo seems like such a great idea ie. fast-growing, renewable resource. 
Now don't get me wrong, while I'm disappointed with a few things about this piece, I still really love it, I learned a lot, and I'm proud of it! And, if nothing else, it confirmed that I am indeed a hardcore quilter. :D

Hard Core hanging out with
Griffin, our garden gnome - best
buds those two


  1. I love "Hard Core" and from you (?) holding it up it seems a good size for a wallhanging! Well done on a great finish!

  2. "Hard Core" is just amazing! I love how the colours work. Awesome design. Thanks for sharing the great info. Good to know.

  3. This is an amazing quilt. Amazing that you made it with your broken wrist! It's a real inspiration to try liberated piecing :)

  4. This quilt is just stunning! The colors are fantastic together, and despite the quilting disappearing, I think it looks great, and adds a lot of character! I'm not sure what bearding means?

  5. Great again!!!! I too love your solids

  6. Oh it's just stunning! Love the colour palette and as always your quilting sets it off beautifully!

  7. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing so much about your process, what went wrong, what went OK!

  8. Amazing! Love the colours (purple... yum!!) and, as always, your quilting is fabulous. Great finish! x

  9. Such a gorgeous quilt!

  10. beautiful colors, and beautiful quilt! I totally sympathize with your frustration regarding the bearding though!

    -Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  11. oooh shiny....
    Great finish!

  12. Love the colors and the off center design.

  13. Amazing and so striking! I love the piecing and the asymmetry - a great addition to your dining room!

  14. It is stunning!!
    And your quilting could not be any more perfect!!

  15. It's a lovely quilt. Having just finished making a spiderweb quilt, I don't know how you coped with even more seam intersections. It looks like you coped very well!

  16. It is beautiful! I love the colours and the off center placement.

  17. Thanks for sharing the finished work M-R. It turned out great, and I don't think your wonderful quilting job is wasted. If you want even more impact next time, just use a variegated thread ;-) But you already know that. I have heard from others about the bearding problem with bamboo, but have never tried it myself since I'm always happy with my Quilters Dream Cotton (Request weight). Now I get the "hard core" title, and to think it sounded like porn! HA! It brings back fond memories of when I was a hard core quilter, but then I decided to have a career with my quilts, and alas I have not much time to make quilts! But it's all good. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hard Core is fabulous! I've had that bearding problem too unfortunately, as I love the idea of using bamboo. More loft in the batting, or using a thread that is a few shades lighter than your background will make all that gorgeous detail quilting stand out a little better, without detracting from the rest of the design

  19. Despite the problems with the batting I think this look amazing!

  20. That´s a stunning quilt! I´ve just used bamboo batting once for a summer quilt and liked how light and cool it was.

  21. It is completely gorgeous! I love the solids you chose and who cares if the different quilting only shows up from 5". it gives people something else to discover as they get close to it. What a great idea to cut the batting away behind that bulky center. I need to keep that in mind!

  22. WOW! You are hardcore:) Love everything about this quilt. I hear your pain with all the work on the FMQ. At this point I am still trying to keep people from seeing it,lol.

  23. This is beautiful! Could you show (or email) a better picture of the flame spiral in the center? I was thinking of doing something like that for a mini that I have and would love to see how you ended up doing it.

  24. You are indeed hard-core!! I love this one and always say that if you learn something while doing it, it was probably worth your time. :-)

    Sorry to hear you and bamboo batting don't get along. I'm a big fan.

  25. It's really a beautiful quilt. I'm impressed with the quilting especially since I can only do straight line. Good info on the bamboo batting--thanks.


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