I’ve started a new quilted piece that will be a mere 12 inches square and somehow I have already put in maybe 15 hours? There is definitely a learning curve involved.
In this piece I wanted to try several things: two threads running through one needle to achieve color blending, two layers of wool batting to achieve uber puff, and using very thick threads to ramp up visual impact from afar.
Given that I was going to experiment with all of these challenging techniques on one piece, I decided to work the piece with no backing-just the silk on the front, batting, and a layer of silk organza on the back to preserve stability. That way any thread tension issues will be hidden in the quilt sandwich. I’ll add backing later when the stitching is done.
Good thing I decided to quilt it in this manner as there was no way to achieve pretty back tension with two thick threads on top! I deliberately torqued the bobbin tension up to pull the top thread to the bobbin side.
I did not want to pin baste this piece with that thick batting so I machine basted using water soluble thread top and bobbin. I pick out the basting stitches after I quilt an area since I don’t intend to wet this piece. It is heaven to be able to quilt without pins!
The two layers of wool batting were excessive and it was hard to control the puff. At some points I had to use my unconventional way of controlling puff. I don’t know that I recommend this to others but it does work for me.
I take my thick, cheap, rot gut pins and heavily pin the area that has excess puff. Those huge pins take up some of the puff and make it manageable. Believe it or not, I did not break a needle going through these. I did have to be very mindful as I was going over them though. The silk I am using for the top is just wonderful-beautiful sheen and texture, holding no trace of the pin holes.
I was changing needles with every thread. I used needles from size 60 for the silk thread you see at the bottom, to a 120 for the curves you see at the top. When I used double thread I used either Superior King Tut (30 wt) or Aurifil (28 wt). Both behaved well in the needle and gave me no problems. I did go slower with the thicker threads.
I’ve already reached some conclusions:
-I don’t think I will use 2 layers of wool again. I have used two layers of batting before with desirable results, but 2 layers of wool batting is just too much.
-I do like the double thread look. It gives an almost hand embroidered look at times and it gives me the strong visual impact that I was looking for.
-This piece is crying out for beads-I’m definitely going to bead it up.
-This was fun-it felt like doodling, only with my machine. I will probably do another piece this way, with less quilting and definitely less batting!