So, funny story: I took a 5 1/2 day class from Diane Gaudynski at Empty Spools/Assilomar. Right next to us was a group whose mission was to legalize marijuana. They were an odd bunch, no two ways about it. The men were wearing rumpled message t-shirts with phrases like “If the whole world smoked weed, peace would break out”. The women wore mounds of fabric on their bodies. And many did appear to be, um, compromised, and pretty happy.
They were a peaceable bunch and tended to take their breaks around the same time we did, which led to some very interesting juxtapositions. Envision the bespeckled, gray-haired quilter of a certain age awkwardly chatting with the
stoners marijuana people. I wasn’t all that uncomfortable-I did go to college in the 70’s after all.
But then, at some point, we realized we did have something in common-it was all about the puff! Their puff was a wee bit different than ours, but it was indeed about the puff. Diane led us through a great mini-lecture about puff and free motion quilting.
Be mindful of the puff you create with your quilting. It is powerful and can make or break your look. The puff is what makes your quilting stand out; puff gives it dimension and elegance. Here’s what I mean:
See how the tiny micro-stippling around the feathers really make the feathers stand out? If I quilt very closely, I smash down the background and command it to be flat. Therefore any puff that flatness surrounds will become even more pronounced. Here’s a larger view of that same area:
I think you can see pretty clearly how the stipple compacts the batting and makes the feathers appear super puffy. Almost all of these photos are of samples that I used to experiment with different concepts. I’m also using my new phone for photos-not sure yet if I like them.
It may not be as obvious here, but what you’re looking at is my learning curve. The lower piece was made earlier. The lines are a wee bit close together and the beauty of the pattern is somewhat diminished. On the upper quilt (Poppies) I figured that out and did not quilt so densely. The texture on that piece is glorious and abundant.
This is a sample I’m working on to figure out a new whole cloth quilt I have in my mind. You can see lots of texture and puff between the quilting lines here-that’s what I want!
This photo and the one below are parts of bubbles samples I take to class. On this piece you can see how those large bubble really punch out-they are quilted less densely than the surrounding bubbles. If I want to highlight a shape, I can quilt less densely-up to a point.
Here you see the dimension of some large bubbles. The more densely quilted upper portion would be perfect against something less densely quilted that I wanted to highlight. And if I mico-stippled between the big bubbles they would really stand out!
The very tight micro-stipple highlights the curvaceous nature of the feather beautifully. I deliberately did not quilt the right side so that you can see how much difference the micro stippling makes around the feather. You will be relieved to know that I micro-stippled using an LED magnifier lamp. Only very young eyes could do that without assistance.
I hope you can clearly see here how much difference the distance between lines makes. The left side’s lines are quilted closely enough that it flattens the area. The right side has lines about 3/8″ apart and I see voluptuous puff there.
Just to be clear, I’ve got another example of how the puff is created by the distance between the quilting lines.
So many times at show I will see glorious, but over done quilting. In my opinion, the flattening of the quilt diminishes its beauty.
You have the power to manipulate the puff in your favor. If you want to highlight something, you can flatten the background around the motif to make it more prominent. If you want to create puff, find that perfect distance between quilting lines that highlights the billow of the batting.
Keep on puffin’.
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday!