Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Works-in-Progress: Trapunto

While working on the twelve-inch quilt for the Breaking Traditions exhibit, I decided to browse through my pieces of batiste and colored felt, and make a few more twelve-inch trapunto wall-hangings. I have made five of these before, and like the surprising colors, layers, and textures of the quilted pieces. They are especially fun to embellish with inks, colored pencils, and beads or crystals.

I have colored this one and added a few crystals. It may get a little more coloring, which would be fun to do on a day like today when the tail end of Tropical Storm Fay is finally bringing us clouds and rain.

This one actually has a piece of lime green fleece under the trapuntoed top. I think I like using felt better, as this has a little stretch to it. But I really like the pastel effect of using the bright color under the sheer white batiste.

I also made these two pieces, one with a cherry red felt layer and the other with hot pink.
The rose wreath is from a Flowers pattern pack by Julie Mullins, a fellow Carolina Long-arm Quilter. Julie lives in my county and has designed many continuous-line quilting patterns. Most of them are nature-related.
The feathered heart is from a pattern pack from Judy Allen. Everything else is just freehand. You can still see the blue marks on the heart.
These quilts are actually wholecloth quilts made from a sheer batiste. You mark the trapunto design, which is the white part. Then you quilt just the outside of the design with water-soluble thread. I use Vanish-Extra. No backing yet, just Quilters' Dream Poly batting. Do not use cotton! For this step, I mounted all three tops on the batting at the same time.
When you wash out the Vanish tread and markings, the cotton will seep through. Ask me how I know! When you are finished doing the trapunto, you have an awful-looking puckery thing like this.
Then you carefully cut away all of the white batting layer along the stitching line. Be careful not to snip the top! I managed to cut all three designs away with no cuts in the top layer this time.
Then you have the fun of auditioning a colored felt, fleece or other fabric beneath the top. They should all start with vibrant colors, because they pale considerably under the batiste. I also use another batting behind the felt to make these very textural pieces. A pretty, coordinating and busy background fabric helps disguise any quilting flubs.
I use fine polyester threads to quilt the final layers. On these, I used Sew Fine in the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin. First, go over the trapunto design, making a good attempt to follow the exact edge of the cut-away polyester batting. You quilt all the lines this time. Then, quilt the remaining background areas as desired. Since I like to paint these, I try to quilt in some motifs like flowers and leaves.
When you finish quilting, soak the piece in cold water first to remove the blue marker, and then in warm to dissolve the water-soluble thread. Here is the green piece after wetting.

On this one, I drew my own little freehand wreath and flower. Not too precise. I want the whole thing to look casual.
I had a problem with the tension on the other two pieces- it was not tight enough, and I've been picking out some of the motifs that were not going to stay quilted. They will go back on the machine for a little tightening up.
Yes, I quilt these little twelve-inch babies on my twelve-foot Gammill frame.
Thanks to Karen McTavish for all her instruction on making these shadow trapunto quilts in her book, Secrets of Elemental Quilting. She even has a DVD showing how to make them included in the book.

Coloring/painting was my own idea. I use Tsukineko inks and/or colored pencils. Lots of fun!


Karen E. Overton said...

These are simply stunning. I have wanted to try my hand at colored trapunto, even have all the supplies, but alas haven't taken the time. Your projects inspire me! Thank you for the photo play-by-play instructions. I too have Karen's book, but your projects seem to make the process more understandable and doable. Perhaps soon I'll give this a try ~ at least I know where to go for help! thanks Jeanne! karen O in Texas

Vicki W said...

These are very nice! Great tutorial too.

Feeling Simply Quilty said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I like that trapunto look. I did something very similar with Ricki Tims-no felt, just trapunto.