Nov 28, 2014

Celtic Cross art quilt - back to the front

The mind works in mysterious ways. After starting an ambitious Celtic Cross art quilt back in March, it was set aside. This week, I've moved it back to the front of the list.

The background is white on white, one inch squares... not easy to photograph.

The cross is a cream/beige fabric, with white Celtic knots which I hand appliqued and hand stuffed (trapunto)! The circle is completely open, and the circle in circle Celtic shape around the arms of the cross is not covered yet - the white showing here is just the batting.

Its still very much a work in progress --- there's a lot of work to be done here, but the quilting on the background squares is done! And for that, I'm thrilled.

Here's the inspiration for my cross --- a family marker at the cemetery where my father is buried.

I found this vintage doily at an antique fair and I've added the same Celtic knot in the center in white lace. This will eventually become the centerpiece of the cross.

I am quilting each one inch square one design at a time. Several of the designs are repeated, but the overall effect is that they all look slightly different.

At first, I had a completely different quilting plan in mind. But I sought some expert advice from the master of intense quilting - Hilary at Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop. Her art, and her blog, are truly amazing. You must visit her!  Every time I visit I am so inspired.

The quilting I've done here is not as meticulous or as beautiful as Hilary's work... it is a bit more 'improv' we'll call it. But I owe credit to Hilary for the idea and I love the effect - gives the whole background a mosaic effect.

When I finish this, I promise to capture some better photos!

Two truly amazing things have happened while working on this. One, I have consumed almost an entire spool of 50 wt white Aurifil thread. This is incredible! Do you know how much thread is on there? I checked: 1,422 yards, 1,300 meters!!! This spool was brand new when I started!

Second, I have actually worn out the Bernina free-motion foot 44C... another thing I would not have imagined was possible.

For several hours, I kept finding these tiny black specs... looked like grease, or metal shards... unfortunately they were all too easy to see on the white fabric. I kept cleaning the machine... trying to figure out what was going on... finally I noticed it was coming from the foot. On closer inspection, I see that the spring might be shot.

So I did some math. It is very probable that I have put about 900 hours on that foot in the last 7 months. Math is not my strong point, but I believe this is a fairly accurate estimate. That is my 'go to' foot, for sure!

Anyway... back to my Celtic Cross quilt... I'm thrilled with the progress so far and I'm totally psyched to keep working and finish!

I like to include links to my previous posts. Part one began in March and part two was April 2014.

And its Friday, so I am linking up with Nina Marie's art quilts. This week especially, I am thankful for having a place to share work and see how so many creative minds work!


  1. An ambitious project, to be sure! At first I didn't realize that there was a cut out section in the centre. That gives the piece unique dimension. Also I love the tiny quilted motifs inspired by Hilary. I expect now you'll be replacing that foot...and get on with finishing. I look forward to seeing it when it's done!

    P.S. Your cross reminds me of St. Martin's Cross on Iona, Scotland: I've been there and seen it -- very old and very beautiful.

  2. Oh boy, what a hard work, but it was worth to do, result is stunning! So sad for the spool and the foot, but your quilt is very unique.

  3. Worn out a FMQ foot!? I can't imagine! I've used mine for so long, since I owned the machine. It's metal though. Your project is already very unique and personal and IMHO very well done! Congrats on that, and have you considered the Sweet 16? I don't have one but wearing out a foot! LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  4. Teresa, this is looking fantastic! I'd love to see some more close-ups of the quilting, but it has added so much texture and interest to the background. It has also made the cross really stand out.I know it was my suggestion, but i really think it was worth all that hard work. I really love the result.
    As to wearing out a foot! I've never done that. I tend to use an open toed foot, so must try the 44C. And yes, doesn't it eat up thread!
    Thanks for the shout-out and your kind words, but this was all your work. And it is beautiful.