Dec 06 14

More Messing Around with Ruler Work




I have a new class to introduce people to trapunto in a super easy/quick way and I need to make some new samples for it because one of the samples that I loaned out never made it back to me.  This class starts by me giving the students a quilt block that already has an intricate feathered wreath quilted in the center with 1 layer of batting under the wreath zone.  These take a really long time to stitch out by hand, (I know this only because I’ve quilted about 30 of them by now), but it’s easy for me to do this now because I can take care of this preliminary stage on the embroidery machine.  Here’s a shot of what this block looked like when I first started (and an example of what a student’s block will look like as the class begins):



Notice that there are chalk lines that divide the block into eight equal portions.  I added that because for the quilting design I’ll be making here, I need those reference points.  (The point of the class is to learn how to do trapunto, so once the trapunto is completed, a person can quilt the surrounding area in anyway he/she sees fit.)  Here is the backside of the block at the beginning of the class.  What’s pertinent to note is that there is a layer of batting underneath that wreath:



(Don’t worry about those white smears…those are remnants from a glue stick.)  Next up, the block is placed into a quilt sandwich.  Beginning at the center portion of the wreath, the inner plumes are outlined with invisible thread and then the outer plumes are outlined.  This causes the wreath to begin to protrude:



I’m going to show you a shot of the backside so you’ll really be able to see what was outlined clearly, but before I do, note that there are lines of invisible thread that run across the plumes.  Those are my “jump stitches” and they will be trimmed away later.  Also note that I’ve drawn a circle on the fabric around the wreath.  I’m going to use that circle to help me with the ruler work that I’ll be doing next.  Here’s what the backside looked like after the round of stitching with invisible thread:



See?  It really doesn’t take much to make that trapunto layer start to pop!  Normally, I’d swap to a high contrast decorative thread at this stage and do 2-3 lines of echo quilting around that wreath to add a halo of color and also to heighten the trapunto effcet.  Instead, I’m going to do something different just to do something different.  I swapped to gold rayon thread and using the circle and my previously drawn 8 chalk lines, I stitched the inner side of my crescent shapes:



(Sorry for the blurry photo, but it’s the only 1 I’ve got for this stage.)  Those crescents were created by holding an acrylic long arm circle template so that the needle would hit each intersection of the circle and the 8 chalk lines.  I then swapped to my 6 1/2 inch long curved ruler and stitched another row of crescents.  because the 2nd cresecent row had a different curve than the circle ruler, I ended up with a pair of crescents that ran along my marked circle.  I filled in the “blank space” between the crescents with a single row of pearls, and then stitched an “inchworm” design between the crescents and the original feathered wreath.  This is how the block looked at this point:



…and here’s a little more of a close up shot so you can see the detail better:



(Note that I’ve also stitched inside the center of the wreath.  The reason I did that was to heighten the trapunto effect.)  One last shot before we move to the next step;  here’s what the backside of the block looked like at this point:



So now what’s left is the area outside the crescents.  Since I already had all my chalk lines that divided up the space into 8 quadrants, I went ahead and used them for this last part.  My diagonal lines are the longest/largest “blank areas” to fill, so I used a portion of a stencil for those and just made sure I aligned the design’s axis along the diagonals.  For the larger stencil design, I borrowed  the longest outer section of the design from our stencil called PT35 and here’s what it looks like:




…and you can find it here.  I couldn’t use those same large designs for the remaining 4 chalk lines, so I borrowed the tiny “outside”design from our stencil called PT30 which looks like this:



…and you can find this stencil here.   Here is the finished shot after all 8 diagonal lines have been filled with designs and those designs have been hyperquilted:




And here’s a tangential shot that gives a better sense of the trapunto effect in the wreath:



I’m off to try another one with a different set of rulers.  This is somewhat addictive!


  1. Hannele Says:

    It looks gourgeous – you do a lot for your students, I’d love to be one of them 🙂

  2. SewCalGal Says:

    Gorgeous. I think you have an opportunity for another DVD in the makes with this technique. Love it!


  3. Pamelyn Says:

    I love this tutorial! I’m going to try it out for myself. Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. Linda E in AZ Says:

    thanks for the detailed instructions, very helpful!

  5. Valerie Smith Says:

    This is lovely and as always I am inspired by your bright color palette. This will be a wonderful tool for your class and the stencil is sooooo pretty!

  6. Lorie Bugaiski Says:

    Love it! Love your work!

  7. Kelly Jackson Says:

    Addictive…I trust you….cuz you are the one who started my addiction….giggles!


  8. Patrica Says:

    A little birdy told me it might be your birthday (Kelly) – Happy Birthday Patsy!

  9. Leslie McNEil Says:

    Happy Birthday, and I LOVE this stencil {so glad I have it}… it’s on that proverbial LIST!! EnJoy your special day, and so glad your creative, beautiful life is a small part of ours.

  10. Maria Gardner Says:

    Thanks again for such a great inspirational tutorial, Patsy. You are like chocolate – so addictive! Can’t get enough of you!