This is a whole cloth CQ that I finished back in 2004. I submitted it to the 2004 Houston Quilt Show and it was accepted. I was very excited! It was a learning experience in many ways. If I ever submit another CQ, I will use another color of border fabric than black as they hang the quilts on black fabric and the border kind of disappeared into it.
It is hand pieced and I tried to use different stitch combination on each seam so that there were no two alike. That was quite a challenge.
I used several things as inspiration for the stitches. Some were taken from antique quilts, pamphlets and books, some are from Dorothy Bond's book, some are from Carole Samples CQ Stitches book, and several I designed. Many of my designs were inspired from Nature. Fish, birds, flowers, bugs, etc.
I had a note pad that I kept with me and I would sketch out stitch combinations. I used a chalk pencil (not wax - very important!) and a small ruler to temporaroily draw the stitches on the seams as I worked them. The chalk will brush or wear off. A wax pencil may not come off.
The pictures were scans of antique trade cards that I printed onto silk. Some of the fabrics were hand dyed by my Friend Sue Miller and some by me.
I wish the photos were better. I would have scanned the quilt but MS Vista in it's great upgrade (Sarcastic), doesn't support my legal size, perfectly good, HP flatbed scanner.
This is what I learned from the experience of making this CQ.
I started my embroidery on one side and moved across the quilt. I noticed that over time, my stitching got a little better. I went back and re-did some of the areas from the beginning as they were not as good as the stitches at the end. If I were to do this again, I would spread the stitches out as I worked so that wouldn't show. If you want to improve your stitching, try a stitch challenge quilt like this!
As far as fabric choice goes, I would not use polyester again. I found that the constant handling of the quilt while stitching would snag and wear the polyester. Some areas I had to, kind of, shave the fabric. I now prefer cotton, silk, rayon and other natural fabrics.
I had trouble with some ribbons not wearing well either. The ribbons that had the long threads on the back side snagged sometimes and I would have to clip the threads. I found that if you want to have a CQ that will stand the test of time, use the best quality materials that you can or just think about how well the materials will wear over time and with handling.
I have trouble with rough hands so I got to the point that I used mostly pearl cotton thread and cotton floss. I used some silk and I snagged some of it and had to redo it in cotton.
Along with not using black border fabric, the judge's comments from the Houston Quilt Show said that I needed to put some quilting in the border. I have gotten that comment on a couple different pieces. Ah, those sane quilt judges! I think of those antique CQ's that have velvet border fabric. No quilting there!