Jun 04 07

More Fun and Games With Trapunto

Don’t you sometimes just need to do something that’s a “quickie-fix” to let your hands make something with fabric and thread? I sure do! Our quilt guild in Asheville is having a 25th anniversary celebration in August, so we’re making small, (25 in or less on a side) quilts to submit for auction to raise money for the guild. The catch: we have to use something silver, (ANYTHING SILVER) on the top of the quilt. I figured I would use this opportunity to play with a trapuntoed pansy. I don’t usually do challenges, but I figured I could make something to donate to the guild that would let me play around with a new idea all at the same time. The quilt below is what I made. The picture doesn’t show it well, but the most interesting part of the quilt is the raised and irregular texture created by the trapunto:


The piece begins with fusing the parts of the pansy together and then fusing the pansy to a background fabric. I highlighted the pansy, (in the lighter center parts as well as all around the outer edges of the 4 purple petals), with pastels. In this case, I used “Shadowbox Chalk Pastels” which I purchased in the scrapbooking/stamping section at AC Moore. I applied them dry and then added water for a “wash effect,” but you can apply them wet as well. In the picture below, you can tell that the pastels are very light compared to the finished quilt and that’s because I was very timid when I first applied them and went back later as I was quilting it and added more color. This is what’s fun about them-you can just keep adding more highlights and more layers of color!


Do you see the pins surrounding the pansy? Those pins hold a scrap of batting and this will make up my trapunto layer. My next move will be to add thread highlighting around the center of the pansy and also around the outer petals. You can use whatever thread colors you wish for these areas:


Next, I added more thread embellishment in the center. This is the one place I added that required silver. I never would have added it on my own, but I think it passes for OK because it’s hardly noticeable here:


I now cut away all my extra batting that falls outside the pansy and this is what the backside looks like:


Next, place the whole top into a quilt sandwich and stitch around all fused edges with a monofilament or invisible thread. This is when you REALLY start to appreciate the magic of trapunto because the pansy takes on many different layers. Next, using purple thread, I went back in and added more threadwork, which creates more depths of interest, into the petals. I’m not sure the picture shows this well:


Once I was done with the pansy itself, I started quilting the background area. This went very fast. First, I quilted the large leaves using a heavy hand dyed size 12 pearl cotton thread. This heavy thread makes these leaves more prominent:


Next, I quilted the rest of the background using a variegated trilobal polyester thread. Because it is of a lighter weight, this irregular swirl pattern kind of fades into the background:


This whole thing was very fast and very fun! I may just have to make it into a class to learn trapunto and coloring with pastels/colored pencils/crayons/whatever!

One Comment

  1. Caitlin O'Connor Says:

    Patsy – GREAT job! I really like the step-by-step photos, too. What a difference using that lighter and heavier weight thread made!