After finishing the preparation for the Stone Sheep Mini quilt and writing the layout blog post, I had some time to consider how I wanted to start. Another reality about quilting while traveling this summer: when the weather is beautiful, we are outside. When it is raining, I have more ample time in the afternoons and evenings for other endeavors.
So it was that on a rainy afternoon I was able to baste the mini quilt; the backing is also Kona Cotton in White. Being sufficiently small to fit on our dinette table, it didn’t take long to have it complete and ready to quilt. After my musings about the background quilting, I realized that I needed to quilt the background before quilting the Stone sheep himself so as to allow him to appear in the foreground. With that in mind, I heavily basted the background space and quickly set to work filling in the background with pebble (or rather stone) quilting to replace the basting pins.
I did consider whether to quilt the background in mottled colors, much like the photograph, dove grey (Aurifil 2600), or white. I opted for using Aurifil 50wt 2024 (white) in the end so as to blend in with the Kona White, the goal being to create texture but not a visual distraction or competition for the Stone sheep.
After a few hours of work, I was able to get all the basting pins except for one removed from the quilt sandwich; in other words, all of the background quilting completed. I think that the ‘stones’ are a nice compliment to the Stone sheep.
I had a bit more time before I needed to break down for dinner, so I went straight into quilting the Stone Sheep. My plan is to quilt the sheep in layers of dark to light with the finishing touches being the fur. I started with 50wt Aurifil 2692 (Black) to fill in the darkest areas. For the pupil, the 40wt Aurifl 2340 (Cafe’ au Lait ) was the perfect shade and because the 40wt is just bit thicker it helped to make the eye stand out a bit; I was worried that heavily quilting some areas would cause them to cave in and seem too recessed. I plan to come back and add a highlight to the eye as the quilting progresses.
After the deep black lowlight areas were established, I used 50wt Aurifil 4241 (Very Dark Grey) to fill in the rest of the dark underlying areas. There is a value difference between the very dark grey and black, but catching the subtle differences in a photograph on a rainy day was not something I was able to achieve. When I am able to resume quilting, I’ll be starting with 50wt Aurifil 2630 (Dark Pewter).
As far as differences go in working on this quilt on my Emerald 118 versus my Juki TL-2200QVP (that is at home), the biggest difference that I am working with is the hopping foot I am using. I prefer to use an open hopping foot (the foot looks like a C) so that I can see the area I am working in. The Emerald 118 has an enclosed plastic ring for its foot and I am finding that I am having a harder time knowing where I am working. As this is such tiny, precise work, that means I am stopping and starting a little bit more than I normally would.
I have to admit to feeling less apprehension than excitement about the project at this phase, although it is definitely in the Ugly Duckling phase. What this quilt clearly needs is more thread! I’m torn between wanting the final days of my trip to be clear (good for long walks) and rainy (good for quilting)!