Ok, I need some outside perspective on this one. I’ve been kind of hating this quilt from the beginning, EXCEPT now that it’s quilted I think maybe I love it, EXCEPT… it’s not what I planned. And so I’m not sure — should I stop, or should I add the hand-quilting that I thought was going to “rescue” it? Help!
Here is the finished top. As you can see, it is lacking a certain something. Contrast, maybe?
I thought quite a bit about how I could quilt this. I printed out about 10 copies of the photo and doodled over all of them. In all of my doodles, I incorporated big-stitch hand quilting around each of the stars, because that was what I thought would make those stars pop a bit more. (Actually that’s exactly why I did the hand-stitching on this pillow, which worked like a charm.)
Anyway, here is what it looks like now, after the machine quilting portion of my plan. There’s a stitching line 1/4 inch away from each star, which I used as a boundary for the swirls, and I also thought I would hand stitch over it. But now that I’m looking at it, I think maybe the quilting itself already solved the problem. I’m struck by how much more cohesive it looks already.
Here’s a closer look at what I’ve done so far. The overlapping swirls are a pain to quilt but they give such a nice texture. In the colored portions, I stitched in the ditch and then did some freehand arcs. I’ve become a big believer in stitching in the ditch after taking “Design It, Quilt It” with Cindy Needham on Craftsy. She has a sample of two free-motion quilted blocks, one with ditch stitching and one without, and the piecing looks SO much better on the one that has it. It’s like Spanx for your quilt, invisible but just works to tighten everything up!
What do you think? Should I still add the big-stitch quilting? I’m leaning towards yes, but I’m not sure I trust my reasons. (I already bought the special colors of perle cotton, for example. I’m pretty sure that’s the worst reason ever.) Also it doesn’t match the vision I had of what I thought this quilt was going to be. I think the hand stitching might take it there, but I also wonder if it might over-complicate what is now a pretty nice quilt. Any thoughts?