Tuesday, November 15, 2011

big quiltin' - some helpful advice

After seeing the effect on a number of duvet covers and simple patchwork pieces in retail shops, I decided that when I was finishing a quilt for my new nephew - I would try out what I could best describe as "heavy quilting done with thick cotton".

The trouble with deciding that you are going to try a technique you don't know the name of, is that you don't know how to ask for advice or what to call it - and so began my hunt to find the name.

It seems that each time someone suggested a name to me, there was another person there to categorically say that it was definitely not that technique and imply that to suggest otherwise was not only incorrect, but an insult to that technique. Whoops! I guess that's the problem with internet forums - sometimes you get lots of advice that takes you further away from your goal.

Was it Shashiko? A very neat and orderly Japanese stitch. Certainly not and how dare anyone suggest that?

Was it perhaps Kantha ? A form of embroidery popular in India...? Heavens no!

The more I thought I was nearing my answer, the more I realised I was getting further away from it and closer to getting tangle up in an online debate over world stitching styles.

So I present - 'Shashiko and Kantha inspired big chunky running stitch' or as I now call it "Big Quiltin'"

For those wanting to try this and want some advice - here is the advice I came up with in my search/discovered myself.

1. Use Perle Cotton rather than embroidery floss for the thread - you don't want to fight with lots of fibers and want something that will thread together and stay together.

2. Get yourself some quilter's wax/thread conditioner which will help keep your threads together, prevent your long threads from tangling, and also protect them a bit in the first wash so that your thread colours don't run.

3. Time how long it takes you to do your first thread, before deciding how far apart you want do complete the rest of your threads.

4. For the first few threads draw your line on with a disappearing marker, so that you have a guide. Once you have a few lines completed it should be easier to follow with parallel lines, so you shouldn't need to draw out every line.

5. Play with colours, stitch sizes, and distance between threads - have fun with it.

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