Does your quilting need to cover the whole quilt?
Today I'm going to be talking about how much quilting, your quilt needs
for it to sit correctly.
When I start designing my quilts, normally within my head, as I’m a
person that doesn’t need to draw up the entire quilt as I normally have it pictured or embedded in my head very strongly, then I think about how much applique and quilting I'd like within my quilts.
When I was thinking about my A Caterpillars Dream quilt, then I always knew that there had to be a lot of area left for quilting, as I always wanted to
have many feathers around the outer border of the quilt, but I also wanted to create movement within the quilt.
During my designing stage I allowed a balance between the positive
(filled areas) and the negative (unfilled areas) areas within the quilt.
So within this quilt I was able to create a balance within the quilting.
Now the general rule of quilting is that you “Do Need” to have your quilt, quilted the same amount of density across the whole of the quilt otherwise you “will” create many problems.
With “A Caterpillars Dream”, I had used a very small stipple within the centre to the second outer boarder, so this was very balanced. On the outer border is where I placed all those beautiful feathers and the appliquéd Rose buds.
The negative areas on the outside of the feathers were then once again
quilted with a very small stipple. This quilt had very good balance throughout
the whole of the quilt both ascetically and hanging correctly.
What happens if you don’t quilt evenly and balanced across your quilt?
If you quilt densely within the centre of the quilt and not quilt on the outer
edges, then the problem that you’ll come across is that you risk either the
outer edges rippling all the way down and across your quilt, regardless how
well you have attached your binding or at worst the outer edges will “Flip in”.
This is not a good look.
While planning my “Through the garden gate” quilt, within my head, I
decided to use the Birch trees that are within our garden as a framing to the
inner section….By bringing the greater outer part of the garden into the picture but by using the Trapunto it would keep it subdued, which is just what the quilt needed.
I always knew from the start of this idea into that I would possibly
run problems with this, as I wanted things to be as they are in real life, but
sometimes this is how I work, taking the hard and difficult and working it out
as I go. May I suggest that this is not always a good idea?
Trees are a very strong and dominant feature in the real life of nature,
and I wanted to bring out the fullness of the tree and not to have it flat, but I
also knew that I needed to have a certain amount of quilting otherwise this quilt would “flip”, as the bottom of the garden is incredibly dense and very heavily appliquéd and stitched.
So how did I achieve this without the quilt flipping ... with great difficulty.
I had decided early on that there would be many hundreds of leaves,
some are Trapuntoed, some aren’t, and this gives the quilt much more
dimension. The stippling around the leaves and branches is small and dense,
so this part is good. The branches that run across the top of the quilt are also good, as there is more quilting in the negative areas here, being the stipple between the leaves, than in the positive areas.
As the trunk of the tree itself is quite thick due to the amount of
thickness that I had used within my Trapunto and the actual width of the trunks,
I knew that this is where I was going to be creating problems ... and yes I did create problems.
How would I be able to quilt the trunk enough to balance the outer edges
out to match the rest of the quilt?
Even though there was quilting to define the trunk and the branches, I
knew that I would need to quilt within the trunk itself. Originally I quilted it quite heavy and dense around the inside main branches, but this didn’t look right,
so what took me approx an hour to do, took me many days to tediously undo,
and I was also aware that the fabric may have been stressed and damaged
from being quilted so densely.
Firstly I decided to use my “wash away” thread to quilt the areas that I
thought would need it. With doing this I was able to see just what would and would not work, also I would then be able to just wet that particular area and the stitches would fall away if needed. Once I was happy with where I was quilting, I needed to rework the colours I was using.
So then I tried different thread colours and quilted less, having left
the “wash away” thread in at this stage. This now looked so much better, so
I decided it would be fine and proceed to finish the quilt, not really sure if it
would hang correct as I thought & felt it still needed more quilting.
By now all the quilting had been finished and the outer sashings and
binding had been attached, and yes, you guessed it, it was rippled right
down the edge.
Off came the binding, then I proceeded to quilt more leaves within the
trunk of the tree, this made a huge difference. I needed to still create a balance
with the leaves, as otherwise the trunk would look rather odd with different
highs and lows.
I would sew a few and check. I knew that although I needed to have this
quilting just right, so the quilt would now sit correct, it also needed to look balanced….a hard ask at this stage of the quilt. I felt less was best.
When comfortable with its density and aesthetics, I once again proceeded to
the next stage.
I made a complete new binding, checked for the squareness of the quilt,
and then proceeded to sew the binding back on and now the quilt is fine.
So when you’re planning your quilting, you do need to always look at
amount of negative and positive areas, the size of your quilting design and
try to have a balance right throughout the entire quilt.
Sometimes when there's a problem, you do need to just sit back and look
at it for a few days, trying to see it with completely fresh eyes ... ahhh,
this can be hard at times.
I hope that this will help you out at different times within your personal
You may like to read another blog posting on how you can improve your
quilting with doing in just 15 minutes every day. CLICK HERE
I'll leave you all here today with this little quote,
that hopefully may help you within your quilting journey,
and mishaps at sometime.
"Everything Is Figureoutable" (Marie Forleo)
Have the most beautiful, creative & inspiring day