Machine Quilting: Crazy Thistle Pods

I don't mean crazy as in this quilt is crazy. I mean the quilting in this quilt is crazy! Maryellen sent me this quilt after she worked on it for a long time. Knowing that she put blood, sweat, and tears into this quilt, she wanted the quilting to be in the same ballpark.
 I mean seriously, when you have this much work in all of those points and curves... you want the quilting to be awesome. And crazy. And that's what we did.

Maryellen and I went back and forth for a while trying to decide on a plan. There were definite elements she knew she wanted in the quilting and other areas we had to figure out as we went. All in all, it is stunning, but I'll let the pictures do the talking...
 I only used two different threads for the top - a light green and a variegated blue and green for the darker fabrics. The majority of the quilt was filled with a mixture of pebbles, swirls and a random feather or two.
 The outer border was split between these fun feathers in the lighter fabrics and simple shadow compasses (mimicking the pieced compasses) and wavy lines in the darker fabrics.
 The variegated thread worked so well in the darker fabrics. It had just enough pop and sparkle without being too bold.

 These stars are very similar to a New York Beauty block that you'll find in several of Judy Niemeyer's patterns (this is four of them put together). I quilted this ribbon candy design in a New York Beauty section of this quilt, and I knew it would look so neat as a continuous design in a circle. To contrast the curves in the center and the pebbles in the background, the spikes were kept simple with straight lines.
 The biggest trick with quilts like this that have several complex elements already - keep it all cohesive. You don't want any one area to stand out too much and it all has to work well together.
 I can't get enough of these feathers! I may have to do them again soon! You can probably see a shadow compass here a bit better.
 All in all, this quilt is large and crazy quilted. However, at the end of the day I'm so excited with the result and Maryellen is too. I think her exact word when she got the quilt back was YOWZA!
 I could stare at this quilt all day...
 I love how the texture turned out and everything is quilted just enough...
 I used two different threads on the back of the quilt, but both blend in well enough on this fun fabric.
 I love being able to see the designs and details on the back as well as the front.
Here you can see the thread detail a bit better. The fabric was a very blue-green and it altered the thread colors just enough that my first choices were too bright or dark or something. I ended up using Midnight Harbor and Olive Green and I'm so pleased with how they worked out. In this picture, the blue is on the left and the green is on the right. The straight lines are done, one of each color.

I chose to use the blue with the variegated thread since I was dealing with batiks top and bottom. It limits the range of thread colors I can use (if I'm not using the same thread top and bottom) since batiks are woven much denser and can cause some tension issues if you're not careful. The closer the thread colors are to eachother, the better the end results will be.

Phew, what a quilt! Wouldn't you agree? Thank you, Maryellen!!! I hope some binding fairies came to help and you can enjoy your masterpiece of a quilt.

If you're interested in learning more about my quilting services, please e-mail me at RubyBlueQuilts at gmail dot com, or you can see more information on the Machine Quilting Information page here on the blog.


  1. Oh my word...I would love to make a quilt one day that would warrant having such beautiful quilting done on it. It really turns quilts into works of art, doesn't it. I am so impressed with your work - also the oriental panel in your previous post. Such detail. One day, perhaps....

  2. Wow! beautiful! that is ALOT of pebble work (which I can appreciate the time to accomplish)

  3. Once again, you have outdone yourself. This is a gorgeous quilt (one of my favorites) made more beautiful with your artistry! I, too, could stare at this quilt all day!

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  5. I can't begin to tell you what a stunning job Rebecca did on the quilting. It is even more beautiful in-person. Her creativity and execution is truly second to none.

    Thanks so much for helping my dream quilt shine!!


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