Sunday, February 7, 2016

Project Quilting "It's All About That Thread": Mystical Mandala

This week's Project Quilting Season 7 Challenge was "It's All About That Thread."  Immediately, I knew I wanted to create a whole cloth mandala quilt.  Within a day or two, I had my quilt sandwich basted and ready for quilting with solid black for my quilt top and solid white for the backing.  Freezer paper and a compass were used to draft up the rings and lines as the foundation for my mandala, and my acrylic plastic/whiteboard markers were used to audition various free motion filler designs and motifs.  An assortment of Aurifil threads were selected to create a gradation from white/yellow in the center, out to orange, red, pink, purple and finally my green leaves.

Several days lapsed, as I wasn't 100% sure of my design or exact process.  I kept trying to assure myself that once I got started with the quilting that I would find my zen and the design would just flow.  Sure enough, once I got started Friday morning, my mandala just blossomed.  Only the center circle was marked with chalk.  Otherwise, I relied on elements from my design and the freezer paper templates to hit various marks as I free motion quilted various designs.  Before starting each ring, I would sketch out a few ideas, but as I began to quilt, new ideas would often arise and so my initial design certainly evolved as I went along.
Watching My Mandala Bloom Ring By Ring
I found the entire process very meditative, up until the very end!  After taking a dinner break Friday night, I returned to my studio to find a "Fatal Error" message flashing on the screen of my Bernina with several lines breaking up the screen!  Panic set in as I powered it off, and hoped it was just a temporary glitch.  I experienced a very similar glitch this past summer, requiring the replacement of the screen and ultimately computer.  Fearing the worst, I made the decision to eliminate a 5th ring from my original design, as I was not sure how much longer my Bernina would continue to cooperate.  This turned out to be a very smart decision, as once I got to quilting the four corner leaves, the messages began to pop up at a faster rate and would require me to power off my machine and restart to resume quilting.  As soon as the quilting was complete, my machine was sent out for repairs, and I turned to my "Old Reliable," my Brother to add the label and binding!
From Doodles to Done!:  My Journal Practice Page to Reverse Side of Finished Quilt
Here is my finished "Mystical Mandala" whole cloth quilt.  A total of 11 colors of Aurifil 50 weight threads were used for my finished design!  I will be linking it up to the Project Quilting page, where online voting will start later today at 10 AM (PST) and continue through 2/12.  Be sure to vote for your favorites, as there are some really spectacular interpretations of this week's theme!!
"Mystical Mandala" Wholecloth Quilt, Finished 21" x 21"

12 comments:

  1. So pretty. Your quilting is superb! I'm so sorry for your machine troubles. Hope it's not a major fix...

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    1. Thanks Carla--this was the perfect challenge to try out mandala quilting...and I am keeping my fingers crossed about my sewing machine...

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  2. Wow is all I can say. I am curious if you used the same thread color on top at bottom for each color change? I try to use light colors with one light bobbin thread but it always pulls up to the top or down to the bottom.

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    1. Thanks Kris...I typically use the same thread or same color Aurifil for the bobbin...which greatly helps alleviate any tension woes.

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  3. You are just burning up your machines with these lovely quilts. Beautiful job!

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    1. Thanks Diane! Yeah--I hope my machine recovers as I have several more quilts to finish soon!

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    1. Awww! Thanks Pam! I had a lot of fun quilting this one...

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  5. Wow! What an inspiration. I just love this.

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    1. Thanks Janet--I am happy to hear you found inspiration with my quilted mandala! I see more being made in my future!!

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  6. Oh, I can't wait to see this in person. What a great job you did. So many computer and/or sewing machines have gone on the fritz. Do you think it could be solar flares?

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    1. Thanks Ann--I believe the quilt looks even better in person (hard to photograph solid black fabric). I suspect our machines are simply protesting after all their overtime work from the recent holidays and overdue for a much needed spa visit! Sending happy thoughts to you and your machine(s).

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