Jun 14 14

Understated Fabric and Thread Choices: The White on White on White Quilt

(I’m apologizing up front for the poor photography in this post.  It is very hard to get good photos of bright white fabric, and I thought I would have access to this sample to take additional photos, but it’s out of my hands for the next few weeks at least, so I’m stuck with the photos I have.  Know that all of these photos are really meant to represent a bright white fabric with bright white thread work.)
This quilt came together very quickly.  It was borne out of a need to quickly prepare a sample of hyperquilting that did not involve high contrast threads.  I would guess that about 99% of what I hyperquilt uses very high contrast threads because I’m aiming for a “bowl-you-over kind of effect.”  Many people don’t realize that hyperquilting can also be very useful when it’s done with understated thread choices.  What could be more understated than white thread on white fabric hyperquilted with the same white thread?!  This is white cotton sateen fabric and white trilobal polyster thread:
wow fleur de lis
Nothing beats cotton sateen for really showing off quilting to the max!  It has a subtle luster to it, so once it’s been quilted, it throws off incredible shadows and the result is a texture that makes me think of Royal Icing:
Each of the wreaths on this quilt is different from the others:
The wreaths all have 1 trapunto layer of Quilters Dream Select (midloft) polyester batting-I LOVE this batting!  There’s a layer of 100% cotton Warm and White underneath the whole quilt.  I was in a real rush to get this done so I quilted each 14-inch square wreath block on my embroidery machine using one of the wreath files from Majestic Feathered Wreaths Volume 2, then pieced the 4 blocks together.  This left a blank area in the center that begged to be filled with a smaller wreath.  Using the free downloadable crosshair files that are available here on the web site, I hooped a piece of cutaway stabilizer and stitched out the center crosshairs directly onto the stabilizer:
These crosshairs represent the center of the design you’re going to have the machine stitch out, so if you “affix” your quilt top/block onto those crosshairs where you want the design to fall, you’re guaranteed perfect placement and there is no messing around with hooping the quilt top or quilt block!  I then pierced that center intersection of the stabilizer with a flat headed straight pin, pierced the center intersection of the quilt top with the same pin, then threw one of Patsy’s Foam Pin Anchors onto the pin to hold it in place.  The seam lines provided the other lines that I matched up with the stitched lines on the stabilizer and here’s what the hooped quilt top looked like before I’d removed the pin anchors and the pins inside them:
(Important-I forgot to mention that I placed a piece of scrap batting behind the quilt top and on top of the stabilizer to get a trapunto layer.)  This is such an easy way to work!  I placed that hoop onto the embroidery machine and then shrunk a 7 inch wreath file on my embroidery machine so it was only about 6 ½ inch in diameter, then started quilting that center wreath.  Here’s a shot of it in the embroidery machine as it had started the hyperquilting sequence:
Once done, I removed everything from the hoop and then cut away the excess stabilizer and batting.  Here’s what the backside of the quilt top looked like as I was cutting away the excess batting from that center wreath:
I spray basted the top into the final quilt sandwich and began  free motion quilting it.  Can you see the rich detail of all the various “zones” of this wreath?:
Part of the reason those zones are so discernible is because of the trapunto layer.  When you make a quilt like this and begin the quilting process once it’s in the final quilt sandwich, the first thing you want to do is to start outlining zones of the trapuntoed motif.  I do this with invisible thread (Monopoly by Superior threads) in my top needle.  I start at the center of each wreath and work my way outward:
Notice that you don’t want to go back in and re-quilt everything that’s already been quilted.  Pick and choose what zones you want to pop out and just outline those.  I never touch the hyperquilting when I go back in because I want the entire plume to pop out and if I were to enter the plumes for outlining of the hyperquilting, it would flatten all that trapunto.  I also don’t enter the spine zone at all; I just outline the inner and outer rings of it so the spine will protrude out as one zone.   Once all my wreaths had been outlined with invisible thread, I switched to trilobal polyester white thread in my top needle and free motion quilted the background fill design.  This is McTavishing with a very heavy emphasis on the swirls  and if you don’t know how to do McTavishing, it’s covered in our DVD called Fast and Free Volume 3:
wow fleur de lis
If you haven’t tried trapunto, please give it  a shot as it is so much easier than you think it will be!  If you haven’t tried quilting part of your quilt with an embroidery machine and then going back in and doing your own freehand work to blend it all together, this is also worth a shot!  I love, love, love to free motion quilt but this is a blast as well!  Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Majestic Feathered Wreaths CDs have files for really cool, intricate feathered wreaths, and you can now buy the compilation CD for all the wreath designs together for a great price here.


  1. Leeanne Says:

    LOVE LOVE! Wish I had more time to do trapunto.

  2. Jocelyn Says:

    Wow! Your quilt is so beautiful!!

  3. SewCalGal Says:

    Inspirational. While white on white, neutrals, even reds on reds, just don’t seem to photograph well, these photos still pop. What an heirloom quilt. Absolutely gorgeous and I appreciate seeing how you incorporate machine embroidery with free-motion quilting. Yumm.


  4. Hannele Says:

    Sooo beautiful!

  5. Kelly Jackson Says:

    Patsy your white on white quilt is stunning. I just love it….another amazing quilt 🙂