I hope you don’t think quilters come up with a great idea and just go into their studio and create it. It ain’t so! It is always a circuitous path for me, never direct. I created this diagram awhile back:
I am somewhere in that jumbly area to the left on that drawing. Even getting to where I am now was a muddle.
I started out with this fabulous idea for a happy, trapunto’d whole cloth quilt on metallic linen. There were all sorts of logistics issues, not the least of which was dealing with the significant glare from the linen. A reader suggested shooting glasses, as they reduce glare.
Got em, tried em, didn’t work. But hey, wouldn’t you try that?
I really love this concept but there are a lots of issues to resolve and conquer. I think it needs to marinate for awhile. Plan A – nixed for the time being.
Plan B. I did love the quilt I created for my give-away and envisioned a quilt made from various blocks of cutwork:
Consider the above a very rough draft. I loved the concept, but again, there were huge logistical issues around construction. I really want to work on something NOW, so, Plan B, set aside for the moment.
In an “Oh, squirrel!” moment, I saw this divine trapunto’d whole cloth quilt on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum’s website (my Mecca, in Lincoln, NE) and my world stopped. What a beauty! How exquisite! It’s a lot “happier” than some historical whole cloth quilts. This one was from France in the 1800’s. I HAD to do something inspired by this quilt. NOW!
Oh, and that led to looking at boutis work, follow the link if you’re interested. Oh my, I MUST do that sometime too. I did order books and I have the supplies, so that may be a Plan D for a future date. Oh, I got off topic…
Aside: A brief primer on trapunto by machine. You might not understand what I’m writing about below if you’re not familiar with this method. Trapunto simply means some portions of the quilt are stuffed with extra batting. Trapunto is beautiful!
To start, mark the trapunto’d parts on the top of the quilt. Add 2 layers of batting beneath – sturdy poly and another layer of wool which faces the top of the quilt. Thread your machine with water soluble thread top and bobbin and outline those areas with free motion stitching. Now carefully cut around the trapunto’d (made that word up since trapunto does not show up as a verb in the dictionary) areas, leaving a double layer of batting in the trapunto. Now layer with batting as you would a normal quilt. Begin the quilting process by stitching with quilting-thread-of-choice around the trapunto’d areas. Finish the quilting as you would on any other quilt. The trapunto’d areas will have 3 layers of batting; the rest of the quilt will have one.
I do not intend to replicate this piece nor do I intend to be true-to-period in its design. I started my research here…
and did a rough, conceptual sketch…
and made a very quick, rough prototype to play upon. I like the basic look. But there is sooooo much to do before I put a needle in a real quilt. At this point, I’ve already made some discoveries. The only way to baste this is with, gasp, pins. I hate a safety pin baste, but in this case, given the materials I’m using, neither spray baste nor Misty Fuse will work. And I do not hand baste – it does not hold firmly in place and I am going to quilt the heck out of this. I will pound over that basting thread over and over. I can’t release the basting early – this is trapunto.
When I know I’m going to quilt something to death, I stiffen the fabric so that it’s less likely to bunch up from the quilting. Here, I am comparing Odif’s Easy Fabric Stiffener with Terial Magic. Both are spray on products that make the fabric stiff as paper. I prefer the Odif as it is self-leveling – that is, you spray it on as best you can and it spreads itself evenly over the fabric. I LOVE that. The Terial Magic (perhaps hard to see in the photo) sprays unevenly. Then when I press it, the fabric ripples, which makes quilting more challenging.
Background fill will be important. If I bubble it, it will take a lot longer but I’ll do whatever looks best.
I’ve already settled on some things here which I did not document. I’m going with 12 wt Aurifil for the main motifs. The motifs are already trapunto’d and so far, I like the light blue 100 wt silk thread for the background fill. My real quilt will use a divine, light blue dupioni which I can’t wait to get! Thread color may change but I will probably stick with these threads.
Does stipple work better? It’s too early to tell. I made a huge mistake which is visible here. I wanted the blue wash out to go away so that I could appreciate the design. Um, that is water soluble thread there and I sprayed it with water? Duh. The thread in some places is gone, no longer holding the trapunto’d batting behind it and in some places, it has morphed into an almost plastic-y mess which is hard to quilt. Sigh.
The parts where the water soluble thread went plastic-y also pulled the fabric, so I have some significant puffy areas to quilt. This will not be a problem on my real quilt because I won’t spray with water!
Gotta figure out this mess. The bobbin tension occasionally goes tight in the middle of a line of stitching. I’ll figure that out.
Trying to show here how lovely trapunto is. The added dimension is striking.
Yet to be researched:
– Proportion of outer design to inner design and the width of the space in between.
– The edge design. I am thinking of going with a technique that I am borrowing from my garment sewing days – it will be very cool. But it also may not work. The edge design is important to this whole cloth quilt. I love, love, love the “fluffy” edge on the inspiration quilt.
– I have a fabulous idea for some embellishments with a little hand work – little critters and other things that would hang out with the flowers and leaves.
– I have yet to receive my dupioni. The dupioni could react surprisingly to the design I have, so the jury is still out.
– I’d like to have this finished as a possible for Houston but I think that is very ambitious. I have a heavy teaching schedule and the effect of my book has not hit yet.
Oh, BTW, my episode of The Quilt Show is coming out this weekend – squeeee! This is huge! Usually the first weekend you can view the episode for free. Set your calendars and watches – it debuts at 12:05AM this Sunday, Feb 10th!! I had a blast at taping and I’m hoping that will be evident.