Friday, June 10, 2022

The Quilting Line on Off the Wall Friday

I am traveling this week so it gives me a good chance to procrastinate on finishing Tessa's face.  I'm so close to getting that piece done that it has me thinking about the quilting.  I tend to do three kinds of quilting on an art piece...lines that are essential for the composition....lines that are essential for the texture...lines that hold together the three layers.  

Lines that are Essential for the Composition

After much trial and error, I usually will add these lines with just the top and batting layered (no backing).  This way I can really do as much stitching as I want and not have to worry about the nosey people who look at the back of my quilts.  (Okay, I 'fess up.  I'm a nosey netty who does that to pretty much every quilt that I can get my hands on!)  I create the lines through free-motion stitches usually with a small back and forth motion of my hands.  Not too much forward ... not too much back but moving progressively forward.  Don't even ask me how I started doing this.  It just gave me the little bit of texture and line I wanted on the quilt without too much uniformity.  Lots of times I'll use it to give a somewhat finished edge to rough edge applique.  I never use a statin stitch ... hmmmm I'm not even sure how my machine creates a statin stitch.

You can see it here ...all the elements are stitched on the outside with a scribble kind of effect

Lines that create Texture and Definition

For my work, these are the most common.  I'll look at a piece and think about what lines are needed to support the shape.  Normally, I do this with free-motion stitching but once in a while, I'll do it with a regular foot if the lines are gentle enough.  Also, I have to be careful with these types of lines.  Too many and the piece starts looking scribbled on and too flat.  Too few and the piece looks like a coloring book rendering.  Plus I need to leave off lines so I can add them in on the quilting stage.  Like I said ... tricky!!  Honestly, out of all the steps in an art quilt, I feel like this is the most important.  Let's face it!  The reason we use fabric, thread, and batting is the allure of texture.  If not we would all be painting..and ya'll know how I feel about painting.  

Here the lines transform the organic shapes into a lily and leaves

You can also catch a bit of that scribbling around the lily which I wanted to stand out more than the leaves.  Also, see how I don't stitch in the grey background of the wall.  I want that to recede.

Lines that Hold it Together

Finally, it's time to add the backing.  Most of the time, I'll layer it with safety pins.  For smaller pieces, I've used a light layer of adhesive spray (which surprisingly works better than I would have thought!).  I know that lots of quilters plan out their quilt lines.  I might do a loose line drawing but normally I follow the lines of the elements of the quilt.  This step  I pretty much always do with a regular foot on.  I do have a walking foot that "flips" into place easily on my Janome Horizon, but I never seem to need it.  One thing I never - ever - do is introduce a new element into a piece through the quilting.  So if the quilt is all curves, the quilting will reflect curves.  If the quilt is all angles and lines, the quilting will reflect that.  Now don't get me wrong, I've seen great curvey quilting done over a straight quilt top.  I just can't get myself to do it.  Not to mention, I'm not one for cutesy motifs in my quilting either.  (I don't think I've drawn a quilt line in my life!) For me, it's all about the composition which dictates the line. For once, I mostly quilt innately. 

 My favorite is the echo line which creates movement  and texture

There are simple lines that hold it together and give a nod to the composition.  It's a "less is more" approach.  

Ironically, by the time I get to this stage of a quilt, I feel like I know the piece so intimately that the quilt line comes naturally.  I seem to sweat blood and tears over the other stages of creation, but the quilting comes much easier.  I'm already itching to stitching Tessa's Mosiac ... if I could only finish her face!

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Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

From reading just this post, I think you have mastered how to add just the right amount and kind of quilting lines to suit a piece. These are all lovely and enhancing. I have never gotten the hang of machine quilting.

Angela said...

You do a great job with the quilting. That is definitely not my strength!

Michelle said...

Your quilting is just beautiful! It adds so much to the piece.

Melva said...

All great tips for quilting. Thanks!

Nina Marie said...

So I want to encourage anybody who says, " Oh, I can't free motion quilt or thread painting. All it takes is practice and finding what works best for you. After a lot of trial and error, I found out which thread my Janome Horizon liked - Poly sheen. Plus, I do all my thread work in the way I LIKE...not what others might think you should. I've seen people who do perfectly wonderful free motion work with lines evenly placed - stitches perfectly even etc. Ahhh that is not for me! Nothing else on the quilt is done to precision so why would the thread work be. For me, I add a line just like I would as if I was drawing it on - mostly straight - mostly spaced, etc - but definitely not perfect. So give it a try - practice and remember - YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF YOUR QUILT!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

How exciting! You are close to finishing Tessa's face. I can't wait to see that piece!