Taming the Beast

Sometimes you will hear longarm quilters complain about their client’s quilt tops because they dont lay flat.  So at the risk of sounding like I am complaining, this post is to explain WHY it is a problem when quilt tops arent flat.

A picture is often worth many words…. (some of those words arent nice!)


All those wrinkles of fabric have to go SOMEwhere.  They have to be eased in, pushed, pulled, redirected.  Or pleated.  When quilting, we do NOT want to put pleats in a quilt.


It takes a LOT of fabric manipulation to avoid pleats.  The photo above shows a section of the quilt before the stitch in the ditch (SID)….. or the stitching in the seams….. was done.


And this is after the stitching is done.  It looks ripply now….. but it isnt pleated.  (hey, its MY story, I’m sticking to it)


She had completely pre-marked her quilt for hand quilting, then decided to have us quilt it for her.  She is responsible for getting the pencil marks off.  The quilting in the border, that you can see above…… it is not enough for the wide border.  I had to add something to what she wanted so the quilt would hang better.


I decided to do a simple beadboard.  But the spacing still wasnt enough.


So I added more lines in between and was then satisfied.

Here is the quilt done:



The photo above shows the purposely gathered purple petals in the middle of the star.  Those gathers and pleats are intentional to give it dimension to look like a dahlia.  Any loose fabric in the white is NOT supposed to be there.




This quilt is called an Amish Dahlia.  It is very commonly seen in the Amish quilt shops here.  I have never seen the pattern sold though, and would love to find one so I can make one.  Gee, think I can put it together better than this one?  I hope!

The client loved the quilt when she picked it up.  And was totally satisfied with the quilting job.  It’s funny….. we kind of bond with quilts we work on….. and wanted to keep this one ourselves!


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki W
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 11:25:59

    That was a boat load of work!


  2. Trackback: » Blog Archive » Taming the Beast
  3. AllenQuilts
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 12:24:23

    Turned out awesome, Gayle! Great job…good luck to her getting those marks out…


  4. CarolK
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 12:40:08

    Your did a wonderful job “taming” that one! It is a beauty now.


  5. andicrafts
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 13:03:06

    Beautiful job, as usual, Gayle! And here is a link to the block pattern for you: http://www.quilterscache.com/A/AmishDahliaBlock.html
    Guess you have another project to add to your to-do list now! LOL

    Thanks Andi. It’s close, but not exactly the same. I think I need to take a trip to see Mrs. Hostettler at the Amish quilt shop. The one I am looking for, the petals are made more like a yoyo.



  6. Jo Ann
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 14:03:33

    Lovely quilting, Gayle! I believe that the pattern is in the “Dahlia Quilts & Projects” book by Cheryl Benner & Rachel T. Pellman.


  7. Kim S
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 14:42:53

    You did a great job taming the fullness in that quilt… your customer should be very pleased!!!!


  8. Jan
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 19:17:39

    You are so right! A picture is worth a thousand words!! And so many times the full friendly wave doesn’t show up until it’s on the table so it’s hard to explain.

    You did a fabulous job!! And I do love that pattern too!! Those Y seams are just tough to master… pile some bias on there and it’s a tough pattern. But I bet you would do a stunning & gorgeous one!! 😀


  9. TeresaL
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 22:17:33

    Gayle, it looks very nice and I, too, hope the quilt owner is able to get her pencil marks out.


  10. KK
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 06:25:14

    Gayle – once again you have done a superb job of quilting. Did you follow her markings “freehand” or use some rulers/templates. It looks so pretty from the back. Looks good from the front, too but the back is very very nice. Applause applause!

    I used a ruler for the straight line work, but the swirly things and the feathers she marked are all done freehand, following her line.



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