Skip to main content

Free Motion Butterfly

A Fine "Feathered" Friend

On my current "to do" list is a new bed quilt for my husband and myself. When I design a quilt I try to choose symbols and motifs that have significance to the recipient, in this case, my husband and me.

This ceramic butterfly has been with us since before we were married. It's image, in one form or another, will be the focal point of the quilt. The quilt will be whole cloth and free motion machine stitched. Right now I am auditioning different design concepts, and experimenting with different fabrics, threads and battings.

The first sample shows my stitched interpretation of this butterfly using cotton sateen fabric on the top and bottom, with Heirloom Hobbs cotton batting.

For all of these samples, I used a variety of very fine threads (#100). In all cases, the bobbin thread is "Superior Bottom Line". Here the top thread is a rayon machine embroidery thread .


The next sample shows the same design using silk dupioni fabric on the quilt top and bottom, with a wool batting, and stitched with YLI silk thread #100. What a revelation! Having used neither silk cloth or wool batting for a quilt before, I really did not understand what a difference it could make. The difference in the loft is amazing, and because it is significantly lighter in weight, it is much easier to work with. I am sold on both the wool batting and the silk fabric for future whole cloth quilts. It's a good thing!

The light, fluffy, crinkly feel of the silk and wool reminded me of the "poofy" taffeta dresses with crinolines that I used to wear to birthday parties when I was a kid.  (I have always thought that quilting is a party!!!)


Side by side comparison; silk on the left, cotton on the right. Note the difference in the relief.


In this last sample I'm playing with the design of a gardenia, which was the flower in my wedding bouquet.

For future reference,  I keep track of details such as thread type, needle size and tensions right on the sampler.


The design will evolve and change many times before I am ready to commit actual stitches to the real thing next autumn, when we will have been to and from France again. Until then, I will continue to have fun experimenting and playing with ideas.

Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, these designs are incredible. My mind is completely boggled as to how you achieved such complicated designs on your machine. Your quilt is going to be amazing, truly an heirloom to be passed down to the next generation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am impressed with the difference between the two test pieces. The wool and silk look so much better!

    It will be fun to see this develop. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Michelle.Working on a small sample like I did with these butterflies, it's not as difficult to control the fabric under the needle. It gets to be a lot more "interesting" when it becomes a queen size bedspread. Yikes! I'm looking forward to the challenge though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HI Monica. I like the wool and silk sample better as well, and for a whole cloth quilt, it will be much easier to work with. I'm excited to be working with these two "new for me" materials. (It's also fun just to allow myself some time to "play"!)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.


After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 


The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
- "Spring of Sweden" close -up - by Yoko Saito

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.



Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France, www.patchwork-europe.com, I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple wooden frame upon which the 3 layers of the quilt have been stretched. To accomodate the 18 women in the class, Esther set up 3 quilt frames, with 6 students at each frame. Because the quilt is on a large, unm…