1) how much does very closely spaced quilting obscure the fabric design? And..
2) at what point does it make the finished piece unacceptably stiff? And...
3) how labor intensive a process is this?
Better to test this out on a small project, before committing to the whole shebang, right? So I sewed together two great fabrics, layered them into a sandwich with batting and backing and created a test panel, which will be used for something fun at a later time. I began by quilting straight lines every 1/2 inch. Next I went back and filled them in more and more with lines that were 1/4, 1/8, and finally about 1/16th of an inch apart. That is Uber matchstick quilting, I know, but the whole purpose for doing it was to see how far I could take it and at what points it would be most useful for different kinds of projects.
Did you ever give matchstick quilting a try? Does it take you a freakishly long time to fill it all in? It did for me. But... it is a fun, almost meditative kind of sewing and very relaxing to do.
|Strange partners - Connecting threads, King Tut, and 25 year old Dual Duty.|
The first thing I learned was a surprise: Even super closely spaced matchstick quilting does not hide the design of the fabric as much as I thought it would. In fact, the closer the stitched lines got, the less disruptive they seemed. Look at the photos and you can still see Philip Jacobs' Painted Daisies in all their colorful brilliance. (The pictures show better detail if you click to enlarge them) In fact by, switching thread colors a few times, the stitching adds a wonderful effect to the fabric design. I even used a King Tut variegated thread in there. What fun that is to see it travel over colors and draw them out into the background of the design! The Peppered Cotton quilted up great this way too.
|Peppered Cotton in Blue Jay & Philip Jacobs Painted Daisy in Magenta|
The second thing I learned was just what you would expect: The closer your stitching lines get, the stiffer and thinner the quilted piece becomes. This is great for some purposes, but would not make for a very cuddly quilt. It became too stiff to be useful for Sam's quilt at the point where the sewing lines were less than 1/4" apart. The quilting spaced like you see it in the above photos would be great on a wall quilt or on a bag, table topper, or a decorative pillow though.
So I am still undecided on how to quilt Sam's quilt. If you have any suggestions for quilting that would go with a clean lined modern quilt and still be within the grasp of a quilting beginner, I'd love to hear them. (You can see the EQ Mockup of "Serenity Now!" here.) I am still pondering doing matchstick quilting, but sewing it far enough apart that it would be more akin to go-fetch-stick quilting. I'm also considering wavy organic quilting lines like Lorna does (Sew Fresh Quilts). Just look at Lorna's closeups in photos 5 and 6 of that post and you will see why I love that.
Would you like to see something else fun that you can do with matchstick quilting? Kitty (Night Quilter) just posted a great example of matchstick quilting with the use of negative space to create letters in relief. In her Terrific Tutorial, Kitty explains a clever trick she uses to avoid the problem of all those little stops and starts around the letters.
Our crabapple trees were in full bloom last week and I thought you might enjoy seeing them. We planted this variety because the trees hold onto their red little apples right through the winter and into early spring, which makes a pretty sight with the snow as a backdrop. They put on a beautiful show in springtime too, and cover themselves in pink buds which open up into rosy centered white flowers.
|Malus 'Sugar Tyme' - Crabapple|
|Malus 'Sugar Tyme' - Crabapple|
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