Friday, January 26, 2007

experiments in trapunto

For the last few years quilts in shows have become more and more heavily quilted. This seems to impress judges. With this quilt I want to do less quilting. (I still want to impress the judges, but this time with painting. I know that may require a small miracle, quilt judges are often not impressed with the skill of a paintbrush).

This small version of Arbol de Vida (16 inches square) was done a couple months ago to try out the painting technique. I was pleased with the results except that the rabbit looked like it needed more quilting. Or needed to be fatter. I do not want to quilt the animals and obsure the painting. I only want to quilt them enough to give the body definition. I think trapunto may solve this problem.

Remember this old thing, this was my experimental sample I made when I was trying to figure out how I wanted to make this quilt. It was the perfect thing to try out some trapunto on. Although this fish is larger than any of my animals on the quilt, it will give me a good idea of what two layers of wool batting will do when it is layered under an animal.

I want the animals to be fat and stuffed on a quilted black background. The two layers of wool batting really puffed up this big fish nicely but then I was worried about what would happen when there were skinny legs and tentacles on an animal as well as a smaller body. So the odd shapes resembling animal parts were my trial for that. It seems that wool flattens down so nicely when it is quilted closely that it will not be a problem.


  1. This is going to be so lovely! I think the trapunto will really spice it up. Do you quilt by hand or by machine?

  2. I just quilt by machine.

    1. I don't have the patience for hand quilting i want faster results and 2. I have problems with my joints and hand sewing for too long causes pain in my fingers.

  3. I'm loving this, how is the quilting going?

  4. Judy how did you paint the black background so smoothly--meaning no edges where black met white. This is so large you couldn't have kept a wet edge or could you?

  5. When it comes to painting black up to the edge of the animals etc. I use a tiny brush and outline around each animal very carefully. Then I outline that area with a thicker paintbrush so there is about a quarter to half inch border of black around all the painted objects and then fill in the background. Occasionally there may be a hair thin line of white showing around the painted animal, my quilted outline around each animal should take care of that. There are paint strokes visible on the black background, but they should become less visible after the quilting.


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