The Free Motion Quilting Project: Casual Cam - Blocking Duchess Reigns Wholecloth

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Casual Cam - Blocking Duchess Reigns Wholecloth

Yes, it's finally time to get Duchess Reigns reigned in and under control! This massive wholecloth project has gone on long enough and I'm ready to get her bound and finished so I can ship her to her first show.

So yesterday I filled up the bathtub and dumped her in. I needed to soak the quilt to remove any remaining chemicals - starch, excess dye, water soluble thread, pen marks, etc, and to give the thread and fabric a reset of sorts.

You might have heard this before - thread has memory. Right now the thread in Duchess Reigns just remembers being quilted, then wrinkled up, so the surface is anything BUT flat!

She also has some distortion issues caused by the density of the quilting combined with the distortion that happened after dyeing. Who knew so many issues could be caused by getting a quilt really wet halfway through the quilting process?! Lesson learned.

So after a good soak and several rinses in water (the dye never really stopped leaking, but I got bored and impatient), I pulled her out and took her down to my tables set up for blocking. Here's a video we shot to capture the moment:

Eventually, after about 700 pins, Duchess Reigns did chill out and rest flat...mostly. I'd be lying if I said this quilt is perfect. She's definitely suffering from some distortion caused by the density of the quilting. But I love her and that's what matters.

I'm super happy just to be finishing her up and finally seeing her hang flat and straight on the wall. She will be heading out to her first show in just a few days so I'd better get a move on with this binding!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Congratulations. Always fun to celebrate a finish, but something special about finishing the Duchess. So happy to hear she is going off to her first show. May she have a safe and fun journey and many more shows to follow, so that many will have a chance to see and admire.


  2. I have watched this quilt being made. It's extraordinary! I hope it does well in the shows.

  3. Love this quilt! I just heard a tip about fabric dyeing. As you know we rinse, rinse and rinse some more of the excess dye out of the fabric. Take a BIG stainless steel pot (depending on how much dyed fabric you have to rinse) and fill halfway with water and get it to a boil. Then put the fabric in and let it sit until cool and drain it down the sink. You won't believe how much the hot water took out the excess dye and you have to rinse very little. Then wash and dry as normal. I have tried this tip several times and it works!!

    Good luck at the shows, there won't be another like it for sure.

    Sharon in Colorado

    1. Sharon,

      Do you do this before your wash the fabric with Synthrapol? Prior to this I always used a variety of textile paints on my fabric or on a quilt as it is made. I've finally decided to dip my toes into dying fabric so I'm thankful for all of the tips I can get! Thanks in advance!

  4. Congratulations! Wherever she goes, I know she will be admired. Beautiful. Thanks for the tips on blocking. I didn't occur to me that you could do this.

  5. Love to see your gorgeous smile of pleasure to be finishing this quilt. She is gorgeous too! Congratulations! And thanks for helping me learn as I have watched your progress. Enjoy! :)

  6. I was intrigued to see you wrangle that gorgeous, huge quilt into submission with water and pins. I realize I've been too timid about reshaping my quilts after quilting. And I want to thank you for all the knowledge you've made available to quilters. These casual videos really do help me.

  7. The Duchess is absolutely gorgeous and I think she will win a LOT of prizes! I'm fighting with an ornery quilt right now so your post couldn't have at a better time for me!

  8. I'm so excited to see that you have finished the Duchess! When you had posted that you were sick of working on her and might quilt the remaining part very differently, it made me sad. :) I am so glad you found the reserve to finish her. I was lucky enough to see your sampler quilt at Road to California and I hope you'll tell us where the Duchess is going to be displayed. I would love to see her in person. Actually I really hope you will enter her in QuiltCon 2016. From what I have seen of the entries from this year and 2013, your style would really add another dimension to the display as it's so unique. :)


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