Stitch by stitch this Christmas panel has come to life under the needle of my machine. Choosing threads of matching colours and some special highlight threads, working out which shapes to outline and which to leave - I spent much more time than I had originally anticipated on this panel.
With many different colours and fine details to stitch, there were hundreds of threads to knot and bury......
Some tips for quilting a panel which I learnt along the way include sewing at very slow speeds, decreasing stitch length where curves are involved and minimising presser foot tension to give a little more wriggle room for smoother curves. I had never used a presser foot knee lifter until my new machine arrived two weeks ago. The knee lifter proved to be extremely helpful while stitching this panel due to the constant changes in sewing direction. A walking foot/dual feed system works great for sewing long straight lines/borders, keeping top and lower fabrics in alignment.
Choosing a presser foot with maximum visibility made it much easier to see and follow the lines. I took opportunity to try out three suitable decorative stitches too. It really was quite a perfect little project to learn more about my new machine.
Sulky/Gutermann Sliver thread* proved to be the perfect feature thread. I used small amounts of silver Sliver in several places and outlined the tree topper stars in dark gold Sliver.
Longer stitches make the most of Slivers sparkle qualities. A little care with tension is needed and it's advised to use a vertical spindle holder. Both my new and old (broken) machines have a vertical holder, designed for use in winding the bobbin without needing to unthread the machine.
Sulky Sliver in Opalescent was the perfect choice for all the gorgeous snowflakes and snowmen. It very difficult to try and capture the opal-sparkle-reflective qualities of this thread in photos. It's beautifully subtle yet pearly shiny at the same time.
Due to Opalescent's subtle visual qualities last night I ended up using the machine's lock stitch for many of the snowflakes - much quicker than knotting and burying all those hard to see, slippery tails.
Yes, it was a little hard to part with this one. This morning I finished attaching a hanging sleeve.....
and gently bundled it up with the Owl panel quilt. They are now both safely on their return journey to Creative Sewing Centre in Sydney where customers may enjoy their many colours and beautiful little sparkles.
* Thank you to Gutermann who provided me with the Sliver threads as I couldn't source them locally.
Sharing at WIP Wednesday.