Recently I talked up big stitches for quilting and embellishment to my MQG. I am on record as a resolute embroidery avoider, so I realize this this an about face for me. In my defense I’ll say that big stitch embroidery isn’t dainty and doesn’t use those blue stamped patterns.
What are big stitches? In my definition, they are quilting and embroidery stitches on steroids, done with multiple strands of embroidery floss, perl cotton, crochet cord, or 12 or 30 weight thread. And the stitching is often improvisational, made up on the spot, rather than pattern specific.
The photos below show parts of a pillow I made with techniques from Craftsy’s Stupendous Stitching class. I used french knots, lazy daisies, fern stitch, and lots of running stitch combinations. These are nestled between decorative machine stitches and couched trims.
So, what about big stitch quilting? I can tell you it goes a lot faster that “regular” hand quilting. I use it as an adjunct to machine quilting to add texture and color. Here’s a short video made by Tim Latimer that shows how he does big stitch quilting.
I’ve been hesitant to use it as the only quilting for fear the perl cotton wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the layers together for the years I hope my pieces last. Also, even though big stitches take less time than conventional hand quilting, the technique still takes more time than machine quilting.
Here’s the way a friend used big stitches to add an intriguing border to her work. It’s just weaving another color of thread through the existing stitches but it provides a great contrast.
I shared a few embroidery books with my guild that show all the cool effects you can get outside the world of traditional embroidery.
Jenny Hart shows how flowers and leaves can be enhanced with some quick stitching. I can see using this to embellish a quilt.
I’m in love with the leaves and cherries Aneela Hooey conjures up with lazy daisy and french knot stitches. And the grass is done with a fern stitch.
Have you found ways to use big stitches on your quilted stuff, or some great thread/floss, etc.?
Houston Quilt Festival Winners
Medallion quilts still rule at big national quilt shows. And the number of awards seems to be growing exponentially. That’s my takeaway after viewing pictures of award winning quilts at this year’s Houston international quilt festival.
You can check them out at the show organizer’s website. Melissa Sobotka’s Best of Show Chihuly’s Gondola has a special resonance with me as I saw its inspiration just last month.
Below are some of the quilts that caught my eye. Of course, photos are a pale substitute for actually seeing the quilts. They simply don’t show the dimensionality or the fine details.
Art Abstract-Small, Third Place, Spider Lilies, by ENID WEICHSELBAUM
of ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA. Unlike many floral closeup quilts, this one isn’t concerned with showing every detail. I like the floating circles.
Art-People, Portraits, and Figures, Honorable Mention, The Quiltmaker, by JENNIFER BOWKER of GARRAN, ACT, AUSTRALIA. This one is my sentimental favorite. Margaret Rolfe is a renowned Australian quilter, and I like the use of all the sampler blocks with the controlled color shift from light yellow to purple.
Innovative Appliqué, First Place, Primitive Web, by LINDA ROY of KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE. A medallion quilt that breaks the mold yet honors the form.
Mixed Technique, Third Place, Twirly Balls and Pinwheels by SUSAN GARMAN of FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS. I like the overlay effect of the pinwheel lattice.
Traditional Pieced, First Place, Roo Garden by VICKI BOHNHOFF of ANTHEM, ARIZONA. Apparently you can use hexies to portray just about anything.
Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows
Tagged as International Quilt Festival 2013