It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

About two years ago I pieced a top based on a RaNae Merrill pattern. It was inspired by some hand dyed scraps from Vicki Welsh and augmented with a black gradient and graduated gray fat quarters from her Etsy shop. It’s been hanging in my fabric closet waiting for me to summon the courage to free motion quilt it.

Two weeks ago I pulled it out and forced myself to quilt it before I could start another project. I wanted the quilting to give the effect of clouds scudding across a night sky as the moon rises. I laid vinyl on top and drew quilting designs. Because the color values change so dramatically, I decided it was futile to mark my quilting lines.

Six different thread types and a lot of ripping out later, I decided to call this done. The black fabric on the left side of the photo is being auditioned for a binding.

moon riseI used Aurifil 50 weight cotton, Sulky 40 weight solid and variegated rayon, and Sulky Holo Shimmer threads. The last I found hard to work with – lots of breaking, knotting, not stitching well – even with the use of a spool stand. Finally, by accident I discovered that Superior polyester invisible thread in the bobbin made my stitches work.

moon rise detail 1My moons have extra batting to prevent the seam allowance from showing.

moon rise detail 3I had issues with the long quilting lines that run from side to side. Forget stitch regulators. I want a quilt bulk regulator.

moon rise backMy backing fabric does a great job of hiding my stitching. In fact, I hard a hard time finding the stitches when I had to rip them out.

I don’t know whether to put a binding on this with the black grunge fabric I have or face it. I’m in no hurry. This won’t be hung in my house any time soon as my husband’s reaction was, “that’s really dark.”



Filed under Completed Projects

19 responses to “It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

  1. Pam

    This reminds me so much of photos I took of the moon when we had a black out. I had nothing to do inside the house, so I took my camera outside to shoot the moon. You really captured it – thank you so much!

  2. patty

    I hope you bring it on Wednesday as I would like to see it in person.

  3. I’ve never machine quilted anything and I cannot imagine handling the bulk of fabric and shifting it around–I get agitated just thinking about it! Your (almost) finished product looks splendid! I would call it moody but not “dark”–I hope you find the prefect spot for it.

    • Quilts do scrunch up a lot so you can shove them around. It helps to have a sewing machine with a lot of space between the needle end and the end to the right (the space is called the harp) or to have a longarm machine. The advantage of free motion quilting is that you stitch forwards/backwards/sideways without having to turn the quilt. Thanks for the kind words about “Moon Rise.” I told my husband that it’s meant to represent night, which is, duh, dark.

  4. Judy

    Question: Did you add a thin layer of extra batting just under the moon or past it a bit or…?
    And A agree about Superior poly– it has been a godsend to my free motion quilting. It does not crimp up or break and just keeps any mischief hidden. Plus. my Janome is prone to occasionally pulling up bobbin threads just enough to mar an effect on the front and that does not happen with Superior poly.

    • I cut circles of batting a hair under the size of the finished moons and tucked the circles under the seam allowances, which were pressed to the centers. When I steam pressed the moons I found the extra seam allowance fabric left an impression on the top, and I was anxious to remove that tacky effect. Re: the Superior invisible thread, I thought that I had been swept away by a spur of the moment purchase, but have been thankful for that impulse ever since.

  5. jennyklyon

    I love this piece-it’s unique, evocative and thought provoking. I can understand hubby having that reaction as it does not fit into “expected” nor “pretty”. Ya know you can enter the Modern QG Showcase for Houston until the 26th of this month, just sayin’……..

  6. I really like that, actually far more than the pattern it was inspired by. I love the effect created by the graduated hand dyes you have in the horizontal strips, and I think the quilting looks great. I can imagine this quilt hanging against a red wall with a spotlight on it…You may just need to convince your husband to paint a wall! I would go with facing on this one, personally.

  7. Your quilting is really evocative of the clouds, as I think you hoped. It is “dark” and I can see it would be hard to find the right place to hang it, but I do think it’s worthy of hanging. Really fascinating — a lot I see each time I look at it.

  8. Lesley

    I don’t/can’t do fmq but I do manage to achieve not-to-swirly random quilting, and even large circles and spirals, without lowering the feed dogs and using a walking foot, as long as I go slowly. If I am teaching Granny to suck eggs, then I apologise!

    • I love using a walking foot and am always surprised that more quilters haven’t explored their possibilities. I’m glad you’ve experimented with them. My only real complaint is the manipulations sometimes required to turn the quilt.

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