Aug 26 07

Pictures of a New Quilt In Progress


This is not actually a whole quilt; it’s the center of a quilt that has trapunto and free motion embroidery. I try to get as much detail work done as possible on the parts of a quilt when they are still relatively small. This center part measures roughly 46″ W by 24″ wide at this point. Here’s how it started. The picture below is of my fused pansy sitting on a teflon sheet. These are handy if you want to assemble the pieces of a fusible applique BEFORE you fuse them to your background piece, and they’re also handy if you want to add some coloring detail with colored pencils, inkpads, crayons etc. This picture shows my fused pansy with some highlights that are difficult to see:


Note that the center is pretty clear…you’ll understand later why I’m pointing this out! I used water soluble artists crayons to color it:


…and I’ve used these before with great results. I applied them dry and then did a gentle brushing with light water to help blend the colors a bit, but what happened was that all the color wicked to the center, and collected near the fused edges! At first, this really bugged me, but the more I’ve worked with this piece, I’ve grown to like this effect. (I should add that I heat set these colors with my iron once it had dried). I fused my pansy to my top and then added my trapunto layer and did all my “outlining” in decorative rayon threads. Next, I went back in and did some threadpainting, but this time I went back in layers and changed my thread color with each pass. The camera doesn’t show this well, but this added a wonderful effect, giving the yellow center a much richer outline. If you could see it in real life, it would make you think of a lion’s mane, with a rich array of related, yet different, hair colors:


I did a similar thing in the purple top part of the pansy, but only went in with 2 thread colors:


I added a narrow purple border so that I’d have a better defined “bottom” of the quilt top, and this way, I could start fusing pieces around the pansy and feel ok about my placement. Once I’d fused my swirls in place, I did free motion embroidery around the edges of the swirls:


This is just a straight stitch done in what I call the “EKG free motion stitch,” since it kind of looks like a run of V-fib:


This is what the backside looks like at this point. If you look to the side, you’ll see the FME along the edges of the swirls. The nice thing about that stitch is that you stay INSIDE the fused area completely, so you don’t need to use a stabilizer:


One of my favorite parts of this is the little blooming thingy at the bottom:


I’ll post more as it’s quilted, but it will be a good while because I want to add some borders to it before I can lay it out in a quilt sandwich, so one last look:



  1. Sally Bramald Says:

    It’s lovely. Does the heat really set the colour? Please stop doing stuff I NEED to play with when I should be doing my own work (grin).

    Hi Sally,
    I did not answer this post right away because I am very perplexed by this same question, so I wanted some time to test this piece. I have NEVER really bought the notion that heat will permanently set colors like this because it’s never COMPLETELY set the colors I’ve added to fabric, (i.e. chalks, ink pads, colored pencils, crayons, etc). BUT, this piece is behaving differently and it even LOOKS different where the color has been added. I have now spent days trying to get some color to rub off onto various bright white fabrics and I can’t get any color to come off! The only difference here is that the flower is made of silk charmeuse and this is the first time I’ve colored silk. When I began dyeing silk, I was told I didn’t need to prewash it because there are never any finishes applied that might interfere with the silk accepting the dye. I’m starting to wonder if that’s why the crayons I used cannot be rubbed off-it’s as if the silk has actually incorporated the color into the fabric. I’ll keep experiemnting with this and get back to you.

  2. Maggie Hawk Says:

    The silk having no “finish” on it – that implies Prepared for Dye cotton might have the same quality? Yes?

    The piece is magnificent! Thank you so much for sharing with us!


    Hi Maggie,
    In theory, that sounds to me like it would be true, but I’m not absolutely certain that it is because I’ve never used PFD fabrics. My negative heat setting experiences have all been with commercial fabrics, so we need someone who’s added color to PFD fabrics with colored pencils, pastels, inkpads, crayons, etc to chime in here and let us know if these can truly be heat-set!