Weblog and Idea Spot for Quilters

11 February 2009

Quilting Experimental Bubbles

It was a toss up between the title I chose and "Too Much Spare Time".

I recently designed a quilt (which hasn't been built yet so I can't really show you anything) that I wanted to quilt spheres on. Now you have all probably just stopped and said to yourselves, "but tirane, spheres are 3 dimensional and quilts are only 2 dimensional!" I'm with you on that. I considered things like trapunto which definitely gives a 3D feel to a quilt, but I don't think it would have suited my goals here. Instead I went for the sketcher's solution, shading. I loaded up a piece of boring white on Terpsichore and threaded up a pale color. I outlined a circle and then meandered almost all the way to the center. Then I threaded up a medium shade of the same color and meandered from the outer edge to about halfway into the center. Finally, I put a dark shade of the same color through the needle and meandered just around the outer edge of the circle. I made several of these practise spheres, changing the density of stitches, the size of the meander and the focal point of the sphere.

The only hard part of this technique will sound astoundingly simple-minded to those of you who don't meander, but for those of you who can meander in your sleep, you'll understand. The really tricky part is when you're going over the first meander with the second thread - because you're so inured to the idea that you NEVER CROSS YOUR STITCHES you end up almost following your first meander. Of course, that'd ruin the look, so you have to bravely cross the first lines over and over, pretty much ignoring the first run. It makes you sweat and twitch the first few times, but then you get used to it.

I turned the experimental bubbles into a baby quilt. I don't currently know any babies in need of a quilt, but I'm sure one will turn up. They tend to do that.