Thursday, September 3, 2015

Testing Always Works - NOT

I spent a lot of time testing materials and techniques for my Phoenix bird and was confident that I had the process carefully planned.  In March I wrote:
Normally I don't worry much about my quilting ahead of time although it does bang around in my head as I work.  However, on this project I have thought a lot about how to quilt the painted background so I tried some of my ideas.  When I looked at the results I realized that there was way too much interest and texture.  The problem is that the bird will be very flat after all the thread painting and I don't want the background to cause visual interference.  My new decision is to do McTavishing with champagne-color, silk thread.  This will tame the beast and still look really nice, maybe a little like smoke from the fire below the bird.  It will allow the bird to fly. 

Now the bird is done, the fire is done and one side of the painted background is McTavished.  The result?  I don't like it at all, even though it looks great on the back:

Backside Quilting 
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the front, which may be stuck in Adobe Lightroom, which won't open.  Computer frustration is as bad as quilting frustration.  Anyhow, the background is very geometric (thread painting of the bird has not been done in the photo below):

Note background here
When I looked at the McTavishing I had done, I felt it fought with the background design with bumps and poofs that didn't align with the geometry.  The bird is so vivacious and colorful that the background couldn't possibly outshine it.  So I ripped out all the McTavishing, and did precise, tight, geometrical fillers in each section of the background.  BTW  the thread was silk and it is strong and slippery so is relatively easy to rip out...the operative word here is "relatively."

Here is an example of what I finally decided to do with the background:

New background quilting plan
It eats up the extra fabric that was created by the thread painting, but there are still problems, which I will describe next week.

TIP:  Testing is very important in the development of your quilt, but remain flexible because things don't always work out as planned.  (Stay tuned).

Sew a happy seam this week.


  1. What a LOT of work! This is a beautiful work of art in progress! I really look forward to seeing how this evolves. I'm a new follower today :)

  2. You are so brave! I can't imagine picking out all that quilting, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

  3. Is think you are right, while I do love the look of McTavishing it can be the star very easily and you don't always want that, especially in a printed background. Your new look is perfect. What a glorious quilt this will be!