What started as a fun little project turned into a study on what makes quilting show up... I already knew that quilting shows much better on solid fabrics than prints or hand dyes, but this fabric was so pretty I decided to try it anyway... a project that is only quilting. If the light is just right, it looks ok, but if it's not? Then it's just a pretty piece of fabric hanging on the wall 😂🤦♀️ I also wondered if lighter or darker fabrics made a difference. So I made a few more samples to show you, or future students, what I'm always talking about in my free motion quilting classes!
I used wool batting for extra loft; I will put in a couple of pictures to show just how puffy it was! I traced the swan shapes, which I had printed out and then cut out. (Tracing with a light box would have been smarter..🤦♀️.) I used 505 spray to adhere the layers, then started stitching. I outlined the swan shapes, then filled in the rest with matchstick quilting, 5-7 lines per inch. Still free motion as I wanted them a bit wiggly, and not be constantly turning around! Process photos at the end, I'll focus on the visibility of quilting first. All samples were done with a 40 wt thread, I'm sure the thread weight makes a difference too.
Isn't it amazing how the cream thread shows up almost as much as the dark? A little too much, like every little bubble! 😂 (I can tell I wasn't as careful on these two samples either...)
I also tried photographing all of them in bright sunshine. Usually more angled light helps the quilting show the best. The aqua one shows a bit, but the white ones show more, and again, very little difference between the light and dark thread on the white ones! (I used three shades of thread on the aqua quilt)
Now for the backs, at least of the white ones:
It's a subtle, even print, and it's in light with good shadows, so it still shows. In the photos below, I'm surprised the aqua shows up as well as it does in the bright sun. It's less in the shade for all of them. It still shows up better than I expected on the print, so maybe light fabrics do show better than dark... maybe the shadows disappear on the dark...
Here is the solid black sample, in different lighting.
So, while quilting shows up better on solid fabrics than prints, it also seems to show up better on lighter fabrics than dark. And the lighting when you take a photo makes all the difference in the world! And of course, a higher loft batting will show more as well. If you are learning and you DON'T really want your quilting to show, use lots of dark prints and a low loft batting 😂 What doesn't seem to matter as much as you would think is the thread color. Scroll down to see close-ups: the dark thread shows up well there, but not from any distance!
Here are a few process photos:
So much puff! It looked like it would never go flat, but it did. The quilting needs to be close together, and also go very close to the outlines of the shapes, or you will get a little ridge around them.
And, for anyone who made it this far, our crazy snow is melting so fast! It started warming up on the 12th and it's been spring ever since 😂 The first and last photo below are the same spot, our driveway...
Happy Sewing! Beret
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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