A couple of months ago, my mother in law asked if I'd quilt a baby quilt top she made. I wasn't too worried about the request, until I asked what kind of quilting she wanted. Her response: "Oh, well, I really like the quilting that's on the cover of the pattern. Maybe you can just quilt it like that quilt." Even though I had never quilted a quilt for someone else, I wasn't all that worried. That is, until she showed me the quilt top.
I recognized it immediately - it's Jaybird Quilts' Carnival pattern. You see, this development worried me because Angela, the same Angela who quilts most all of Tula Pink's masterpieces, quilted that quilt. Go on. Go ogle her work. It's pretty incredible. She's one of my machine quilting idols. Intimidation much?
So I took a few deep breaths, zoomed in on all the photos in Julie's post about the Carnival pattern to get a better look at the quilting, and decided I'd do my best.
I started with the leaves in the chunky pinwheels.
Then I moved to filling in the background space with lots of layered scallopy loopy things. And kept filling and kept filling.
With the border, I did some large-scale loops, mixed in with some flowers. It's kind of tough to see here.
Uou can see it a little better on the back. I was pretty nervous about quilting with a solid backing fabric, since it highlights everything, including your mistakes, but in the end, it all worked out alright.
Thus ended my first commissioned machine quilting project. My mother-in-law's piecing is pretty spot-on perfect - no puckers or wavy borders anywhere to be found. The process, however, deepened my respect for longarm quilters. Quilting for other people can be nerve-wracking. I definitely cut myself a lot of slack on my own projects. I didn't really feel that I had that luxury, working on someone else's quilt. I also understand why custom machine quilting is so much more expensive than an allover pattern or pantograph. It takes some serious time and close attention to make sure you're quilting "inside the lines" and filling up as much space as possible with the background filler designs.