The Free Motion Quilting Project: Torrent of Fear - Part 4

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Torrent of Fear - Part 4

Today I'm finishing up Torrent of Fear, a goddess quilt I started back in January. I'm super happy with this quilt because it's been such a quick finish, and seems to be a perfect balance of texture, color, and design.

free motion quilting | Leah DayUnfortunately even though it's been a quick quilt, it hasn't been quite quick enough. Over two areas I got a bit bogged down. The first was the decision to add thick gray yarn over the hair and clouds.

free motion quilting | Leah DayFor this, I had to learn how to spin art yarn, and I had to find the right colored fleece to make the yarn! Kind of a weird delay, but now that I know how to spin, I can't seem to stop!

Once the yarn was on the hair, securing it became a bit of a problem. I was considering the idea of layering some Sulky water soluble stabilizer over the top and quilting over it all, but was unsure if it would wash out over the wool yarn or just get gummy and nasty.

A quick facebook post about the issue resolved my fears. Many quilters recommended using water soluble stabilizer and I'm happy to say it worked great! I hand basted it over the surface of the hair, then quilted the area with 1/4" wide stippling from the BACK. This was much easier from the back because I couldn't see the yarn lines and obsess too much about how it looked.

free motion quilting | Leah DayAnother delay has been deciding what to quilt over the rain section. This section was quite tricky because the blue fabric strips were all running vertically, which made most designs just look weird over the surface. Added to the fabric was the thick yarn in the hair and clouds, which was quite frankly a &*^@$ to stitch close to.

Several times I stitched a design, only to look at it and rip it right back out. Stitch and rip. Stitch and rip. It gets tedious after awhile!

Eventually I realized that this area was limiting my ability to finish the entire quilt. I was focusing on it so hard, I couldn't see the other areas that needed quilting, like the hair, background gray section, and black border.

I think this is a good lesson for most problems: when you focus on something too much, it becomes all you can think about. When you move on to something else, that problem usually sorts itself out.

So I moved on to the gray section and even started filling the black section and suddenly an idea popped into my head: why not hand quilt the rain section with thick metallic thread?

And that's what worked! In truth this isn't hand quilting this section because the metallic Razzle Dazzle thread isn't going through all 3 layers of the quilt. I'm stitching it down into the quilt, through the batting, then back up to the quilt top. So technically this is embroidery?

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhatever it's called, it's perfect! It makes me think of raindrops and I love the little bit of glitz the metallic thread adds to the surface.

So now all that's left is binding, hanging sleeve, and a tag on the back!

Overall I'm extremely pleased. To go from quilting super elaborate, ultra time consuming, ridiculous fills over Emergence to this much more open, much faster, much more enjoyable quilting is a very nice change.

I just hope as I keep moving with this new style that it's not a detrimental change to the series. I don't want it to end up that you see the group of all the girls together and when you get to this quilt you think "And here's where Leah's style fell off a cliff..."

But the truth is, I'm happier with this quilt and more enthusiastic about finishing it than I have been with either Hot Cast or Emergence. While it might not look as impressive, it's certainly been a much more enjoyable experience, and that is the most important thing.

Now it's high time I shut up and finished up this little quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I would think the series would be of less artistic value if it did not represent your evolution. Whether the evolution is characterized (by you or anyone else) as growth, or whim, or something else. The quilts are telling their own stories; the series is telling your story. That's what I think, anyway.

  2. Leah, you're a genius. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the metallic thread! It's beautiful, and it does look like tiny rain drops. I also love the gold. It felt like light shining out around the gloom, to me. I've been thinking about experimenting with special threads and techniques in my quilting, and it's all thanks to you. You are such an inspiration. Thank you.

  3. this quilt is perfect! Thank you for sharing the journey so far. I can't wait to watch the rest unfold.

  4. Leah--I think you did a beautiful job! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  5. How wonderfully evocative your piece Torrent of Fear is. When I was younger, I enjoyed the pictorial graphics of the Crowley Tarot Deck and this makes me think of that because it is a single image that conveys so much. Thank you for sharing your design process.

  6. I, too, read The Power of Now many years ago, with the hope that I could encourage my husband to enjoy the now. Did you ever have a TV series called The Magic Boomerang (or a title very similar to that) in the States, and when the boomerang was thrown time stopped in the area it passed over? But the person who threw the boomerang was able to live in the real time (or the NOW). Anyway, I had one such moment one evening, when out with my (then) boyfriend (now husband) and the whole world stopped around me, and the colours and the noises and, as you say, the deep, intense calm and sense of peace that engulfed me ......we still hold hands when out walking! So, yes, what a fabulous experience to have when having James. I have read through all your angst postings, and have sometimes wondered where I, as a mother of 5 very different individuals, stand with regard to their feelings for me....we have all been through some very difficult and intense times, which have affected all of us, but in such different ways.
    Finally, I read the following (can't remember where now): PEACE: It does not mean to be in a place where there is now noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart (unknown).


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