I was running behind on making a donation quilt for the International Quilt Association, the non-profit umbrella organization behind the Houston Int’l Quilt Festival. IQA asks teachers to volunteer a piece of their work for a fundraising silent auction held at Festival. I’ve donated each of the previous 5 years I’ve taught there and did not want to break the chain. My thought was to go with trapunto and silk, how could I go wrong?
After a good bit of auditioning I selected this combination of silk Radiance and silk dupioni. I sprayed a layer of Terial Magic on all the fabrics to create a super stiff and stable surface to quilt on.
I do not know how this style got in my head, but I’ve done it before, most noteably on Back Story (Gallery here) and the Kraft Tex jacket in my book. I never studied this, not exactly sure what era this is from (Jacobean, no?) but it is in my head and I love it. I drew the shape onto the top before figuring out I did not like this orientation.
I was drawing this entirely free-form so of course there were some corrections needed. I opted for the only truly safe method of marking, the blue wash-out, and “erased” when needed with a q-tip dipped in a tiny bit of water.
Here we are all assembled. Yikes, do NOT like that orientation! Why didn’t I notice this before? I asked my good friend Nancy for advice and also consulted my Facebook friends, which stimulated a LOT of answers and some interesting discussion.
I opted for this orientation. Ahhh, much better.
I used the normal method of trapunto-by-machine first written about by Hari Walner way back in the 90’s. It is a tedious but fairly straight-forward method. I have come up with some good methods of my own that I think make it easier and better, but the basics remain the same. I began with 2 layers of batting – wool and thin poly, with the wool next to the top. The poly pushes the puff to the front of the top and the wool provides the puff.
After stitching with water soluble thread top and bobbin, I began to carefully cut away the excess batting.
The “tree” all cut away.
Cutting the bubbles away. Free motioned them free hand, quite a trick. The cutting was not so easy either but I LOVE those trapunto’d bubbles!
There it is all layered up, now with a new layer of wool, ready to quilt. Yay! But of course, the quilting came with some issues:
The brown thread is completely invisible on the brown silk. Duh. Well, that should not be a problem, I decided to quilt from the back:
Okay, just a wee bit better but still, barely visible. I just had to suffer through the quilting on the brown.
I decided I wanted to do my “curves” motif for the border. I auditioned eight threads before choosing. That also meant I needed to rip out all of the stitching you see on the border. Not. Fun. But better than quilting the entire border and not liking it. The threads I thought would work were the worst, so I’m glad I took the time to do this.
On this particular motif, I quilt all the way around and then work back to the beginning, infilling as I go. The tendancy is to over-fill this one. I don’t see other quilters quilting this as I do, everything stitched twice, not one or more times. I think it makes for a much more attractive design.
Of course there was more trouble along the way. I stitched the through excess backing to to back…twice!
Slight diversion here – I keep seeing these generic clear ruler feet coming into my fmq classes. Many are using it for free motion work also. and here is clear proof (yes, pun intended) why I don’t like them:
This is the view “through” the clear foot. On this motif I have to make decisions on the fly and I need to be able to see what has been stitched twice. Can you tell if that line behind the foot has been stitched twice? Nope. The truth is you can’t see well through any plastic foot – it distorts the lines and also gives a hazy view.
WIth a proper fmq foot I can see what is behind. In general, I would not choose a generic foot over a foot designed for my machine. For a BERNINA, the generic foot has to be attached to an adapter, using a screw driver, from the left-hand side. There is a cost factor to all of this but at the end of the day, I need good equipment to do the job. I may write more on this later.
I had to block it because it was a bit distorted. I wanted to get this post up so this is all I have right now. I’ll post the final version next week. In the meantime I need to label, sleeve and send it off. I hope it nets a good return! If you are at the Houston Festival, be sure to go by the auction area and choose a quilt (or two!) to bid on.
Oh yeah, I don’t have a name. Suggestions?
Also, the Studio Art Quilt Associates annual fundraiser auction is happening right now! Hop over and see the incredible art for purchase. Here is my contribution, Hope Rising:
I’ll be linking up as usual with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday, always filled with great links!