by Sandra | January 26th, 2010
After spending so much time trimming trapunto for machine quilting the normal way, which is sewing around the trapunto elements with wash away thread and a layer of batting behind the top–no backing, I wanted to see if there was a different way to achieve the look without the trimming step.
For some time I had been thinking about trying machine quilting with two batting thicknesses as I machine quilt all of the layers. The usual wool with a thinner batt combined for the trapunto effect. Then recently I learned that the competitive longarmers had been doing this already for competition. Would it work on a home machine?
The one thing you can’t do at a quilt show is feel the quilts. I would have known by feeling those quilts, that they are stiffer and do not have the drape of a normal combination of top, one batt & backing. I did not like the feel or the drape of my sample at all.
The other problem I had was the tension with the loft. For machine quilting, we have to pin it and do not get the consistent tension and “flatness” that the longarm rollers provide. For me, it was like trying to walk through deep snow. My hands ached after a few hours of quilting and I felt like I had run a mile. This was just a small sample! Can you imagine a big quilt? Fitting the added bulk under the machine head would also be problematic.
As far as the trapunto effect of the design elements, I found I did not like the one size fits all approach. Although dense quilting filled the areas that were supposed to be flat, these areas felt particularly stiff because of all that batting density was heavily compressed under the stitching. Back to the drawing board and the usual trimming for now. This technique looks good hanging in a show, but for me, it didn’t pass the feel and drape test of what a usable quilt should have.
I will keep playing to find a different technique to satisfy both the aesthetics and the drape and feel for my preferences.
A side note: The blue background is not as neon as in these photos. I can’t seem to get the camera to capture the right “blue” and it would take too much fussing in Photoshop this morning. I have to get back to work!