Thursday, December 03, 2009

Trial and Error

I am now quilting the grass, while delaying my decision about what to do about the little deer.

My initial thoughts on quilting the grass was to use three shades of green; light yellow green for the lower half, a leafy green for the mid section and darker green for the darkest part of the grass along the top edge and quilting between the painted blades, but then, I was not sure exactly how to do it.

I started with the leaf green and quilted around each paint stroke defining it like a blade of grass. I did not like the way it looked at all. It seemed messy and the green thread looked too dark. So I changed threads to the lighter green and started working in another area making my lines continuous from one plant to the next, carefully stitching along the previously quilted outlines of the plants to get to the next blade.

I am happy with how this looks, I have also decided to only use the two lighter greens and skip the dark one. Now I have lots of thread snipping to do from the first grass quilting attempt.

I am really torn about quilting the little deer. I am thinking about either stuffing it a little bit with trapunto and not quilting it, so it really contrasts with its surroundings or quilt it with some big flower power style floral motifs. I have been debating this point since I began the quilting and was hoping I would come to a decision by the time I have to do it. I guess I have 24 hours or less left.

I think I may need to go back and do a little more quilting in the scroll designs in the sky, I would like to leave them fairly simple, but I don't want them to look buckled or bumpy. So I need to quilt them just enough to lay smooth.

I know all the "rules" about having quilting that is consistent across the quilt surface so that it hangs right, etc., but I think it is also nice to see the contrast in textures with different types of quilting, especially when its use or lack of use works conceptually with the design. Hold your torches please, I am not a big fan of the trend toward excessive infinitesimal all over quilting.


  1. diane9:54 AM

    This may be a foolish question but I have never quilted on a painted surface for a quilt. If you make a mistake, can you rip it out or does it leave tiny holes where the needle punctured the surface?

    I love the way you're doing this piece and it inspires me to try something myself. Your work is always just amazing to me.

  2. I love the lighter green also - you are right on about that! I'll be interested to see what you do about the "little guy" he is so cute!
    Laura T

  3. Try it you'll love it! I bought the DVD Painting Fabric for Wholecloth Quilts and was so pleased with my bird:) I'm more of a paint by numbers person so I need the directions/patterns that Judy gives. Now if I can get Judy to do a book with just pattern and paint suggestions I could fly! I love all the patterns for her classes and quilts. Hint - Hint!

    Judy your attention to detail warms my Type A, perfectionist heart.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Diane, unfortunately the needle does make little holes. I try to burnish over the holes with my fingernail or something to make them less noticeable when I do not want any stitching in that area and then try to stitch directly over the holes again in places where I want quilting.

  5. Jojo, you are so sweet, making a little book of patterns has crossed my mind since I use them in my classes so much. Maybe one of these days...

  6. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I vote for stuffing the little deer trapunto style. I think that would be perfect with the concept of him being the retro toy deer.

  7. Hey thanks for leaving a comment Mom! The trapunto is kind of what I am leaning towards.

  8. Looks great! The second try at the grass makes it move more. And the large deer is very handsome. The quilting seems to make him a little furrier and that is perfect.

  9. You just seem to outdo yourself with each step. Whatever you choose will be fabulous I have no doubt.
    When I am unsure of what I want to do,(quilting wise) I often take a photo of the piece, print it, and then "draw" my different ideas of quilting on it.......this usually settles the dilemma for me.

  10. The grass stitching you decided on looks fabulous! It really does add to the painting. A quilted painting IS more than just a painting. That texture just takes it all up a notch.

  11. I think your idea about a flower power style motif on the little deer would be so appropriate! Can't wait to see what you decide.

  12. I love that I can open the photos all the way up and get a nice close look at the stitches because I couldn't see the color difference in the smaller photos. I do like the lighter colored thread.

    Your stitches are so even - are you using a walking foot or doing free motion stitching? I am still working on getting my free motion stitches so even. I suppose if I had a stitch regulator then it might be a bit easier too.

  13. Hi Lisa, it is all free motion. I think it takes practice and a lot of warm up time. When I started the quilt, I was feeling a little out of practice and I have noticed over time it has become easier to stay consistent with my stitches. But I still have stitches here and there that are too big or too small. I notice that happens most often when the quilt gets caught on something, like the bulk of the rolled up portion gets stuck against the presser foot lever or something. That is always annoying and I am always debating about stopping and doing it over or just going on. If it is very noticeable I stop and re do the stitching.

    I don't know about other people, but I also tend to use my body to move the quilt when I am doing long lines (3-5 inches) free motion and not moving my wrists and hands.

  14. wow wow wow.... what more can I say... it's gorgeous and i might have said it before, but i'll say it again - it's really neat to see you go through creating this quilt step by step. thank you.

  15. Looking fab! I totally agree about varying the density of the stitching depending on what texture is desired. The consistent stitching is more of an issue for a large quilt anyway, isn't it? (I'm fairly clueless on that stuff, though.) The trapunto idea for the little deer sounds great.

    On the holes issue, two ideas:

    1) Mix matching paint and "spackle" over them.

    2) Insert a pin or needle from behind and gently push the threads together again. I had to do this recently on a painted piece and it definitely helped.


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