Saturday, October 1, 2011

I hate Squiggles

I hate squiggles when it is used as an allover design on a pieced quilt. They do nothing for me! I do not like the big irregular puffiness that destroy the straight piecing lines and let them all look crooked. The irregular texture do not invite me to touch the quilt and my eye isn't invited to explore the design of the quilt any further. I have stood in front of quilts at shows swearing at the long arm quilter who have destroyed another beautiful quilt.

I feel squiggles should be small and used to flatten the background so that the design can really stand out. Squiggles with loops stitched  in different directions, reflect the light in different directions to give a dull appearance, that do not distract the viewers attention from the actual show pieces. When used in this way squiggles is still a favorite pattern for me. I do not need 365 different background patterns. I am satisfied to have a few background patterns that I can choose from. A background pattern should never take center stage. It should play the supportive role that accentuate the beautiful and elegant quilt designs or the striking pieced design. It should not destroy the story the applique motifs are telling, but help them to do it better.

Quilting embroidery designs present some difficulties. Embroidery can stand on it's own when it is used in a tablecloth, as table runner or doilies. When incorporated in a quilt, unquilted areas can look very "disturbing". Quilting lines distorted unquilted areas and distract attention from their beauty. One must either not quilt embroidery designs at all, or very carefully quilt it so that the quilting do not distract from the embroidered design. When the embroidery is a small square, ditch quilting in the sewing lines around it might be the safer option. Once you start to quilt the embroidery-as in blocks that is bigger than 5-6 inches one must consider the options.

In this Redwork block I only follow the red outlines trying to create texture without drawing the attention away from the embroidery. I quilted it from the outside and was reminded why one should quilt from the middle out. A lot of the fullness was pushed into the middle and I saw it just in time to rescue the situation by quilting around the middle circle. This was not enough and I had to follow the curvy red lines to flatten this section a bit more. I echoed the outside and was wondering afterwards if I should not have left that part unquilted.

The problem is that an amount of puffiness was created between the outside edge of the embroidery and the ditch quilting line. Some distortion was forming there that made the further quilting necessary. This problem could be avoided if I had cut the embroidery block smaller with less "white" around the design. This might have looked as if the embroidery was squashed into the "patchwork". For me the extra white was necessary to make sure that the focus was on the embroidery.

I skipped the ditch quilting in this heart embroidery, because I placed the embroidery on the batting before I add the corner triangles, adding them in a quilt-as-you-piece fashion. I only added the backing once the block was sewn and thought that ditch stitching was unnecessary. I just outline quilted the block. This outline was sewn with the walking foot and I did not move the needle position. The outline was about 9 mm (3/8 inch) from the piecing line. This width and the feather design I quilted in the triangles distorted this area.

This was corrected by adding a ditch quilting line in the seam.

Incorrect quilting is distracting and can spoil the stunning aspects of a quilt to the extend that it is not appreciated. It is necessary to pay attention to everything one do, to provide you the beautiful results you try to achieve.

Some one was asking me what do I do with all the things I embroidered. My quilts I do finish one or another time (I have already completed more than 200 quilts- so I know I can do this even though it might take a number of years before it is finished.) When I have a specific project for my embroidery I also work towards "completion". I do have to admit though that I have a lot of embroidered blocks with no plan. Although I enjoy just looking at them I thought maybe I should do something about it so that others can also enjoy it. The two Redwork embroideries was pieced to form a pillow top. I planned from the start that the heart embroidery will be used as a pillow, so I just quilted it as well.

My birds, appliqued with a blanket stitch by machine, was also quilted and a cover for the box for my hand piecing project was made. I just stapled the green fabric to the sides of the box.


  1. Love how you quilt. You know so much more about that aspect than I do. Strictly a "stitch-in-the ditch" girl!


  2. Your quilting is exquisite! I think there is something special about custom quilting.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...