Quilting – Celtic Moon (part one)

Celtic Moon

With National Quilt Day and St. Patrick’s Day falling on the same weekend, I decided to make a Celtic-themed quilt using several techniques that I think you will enjoy using in your own work.

Of course, the quilt is predominantly green. It’s kind of funny. I was listening to an Alex Anderson pod cast the other day regarding color. She shared how she disliked fall colors in her early quilting days but grew to appreciate all colors. Greens and browns would be my early “dislike” colors. Now I notice that the two colors show up frequently in the things I create.

When I began designing this quilt, I wanted the feeling of motion to play a large part, so I chose a marbled fabric for the water background and a print with lots of fluid lines for the land.

The first stage of the quilt involved the winding Celtic design. I thought about painting the design onto the fabric but decided that some kind of thread work would be a better choice. After backing the fabric with Decor Bond, I penciled in the outline of the design. I then chose a variegated cotton thread (35 wt.) and set up my sewing machine for free motion embroidery.

This technique is fun, easy to do, good practice for other kinds of free motion work, and adds a unique quality to your work. I call it a meandering garnet stitch since you work in a circular motion but alter the size and shape of your circles as you move across the fabric. You could use this technique with just about any shape imaginable.

Lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine. Hoop your design and begin with a few securing stitches. Clip you thread tail.

Clip Thread Tail

Now move the hoop in a circular motion, creating small, medium, and large circles, covering the interior of your outlined shape. Allow some of your circles to elongate and cross over previous stitching lines, forming a web-like appearance.

Meandering Garnet Stitch

When the interior of your design is complete, make a few rounds of outline stitches, allowing them to build up on each pass.

Outline Stitches

You can use any kind of thread you like with this technique. Decorative and metallic threads work well. You could also sandwich fibers under tulle and then stitch the meandering garnet stitch over them. The choices are yours to make.

Garnet Stitch

In part two, I will share with you how I machine felted the land piece, free motion quilted the water and land shapes with lots and lots of thread, and with fear and trepidation, formed the moon on the surface.

Celtic Motif


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

1 Comment

  1. November 20, 2009 at 3:27 am

    this is beautiful. can you give me more info. I’m thinking of buying the babylock embellisher. I love fiber and texter. thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

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