Creative articles about quilting


Quilting in December

During December in South Africa, the crowds flock to the ocean as we have the most wonderful weather for beach holidays. For me, December means staying at home and enjoying the peaceful time in Johannesburg. No traffic, no queues, easy to find parking as well as lovely sunny weather spent with friends and family (Or as much of it as Covid restrictions allow us!). It also means that it’s time for me to prepare my classes for the next year. There is time to catch up some of my quilting projects.

Unfinished Work

I very seldom have unfinished work. The unfinished project that will be shown here, has been pinned to the design wall for about two years. This quilt top was first started after being inspired to try out the brand new Inktense paint blocks on artists’ canvas. I just couldn’t wait to start! An underwater scene showing the deep water and the light reflected on the sea sand on the bottom was the result.

My over eagerness meant that I did not have a clear idea in my mind of exactly what I wanted to create. This lead to a lot of wringing of my hands, scratching my head and wandering around the house! I eventually decided to put it aside for a later time. At the time I did try (unsuccessfully!) to do some threadpainting and fabric embedment on it but I unpicked all of it and that was a real pain to do!

Unfinished Quilt Top


Tracing a Mandala

Then I had the brilliant idea that I am simply going to quilt it and see what happens next. I designed a mandala and traced it onto my painted quilt top using a chalk pencil. The usual water-soluble pen did not show up as the Inktense paint that I used to paint the water is exactly the same colour as the pen. Working with chalk is not always easy as the lines disappear quite quickly but thankfully, this pencil did not disappear but instead, left quite thick lines on the quilt top. I have decided that I was not going to let that worry me too much.

Materials Used

After the mandala was traced, I spay-glued the layers. I started quilting it on the Q24, using a strand of Glide (Colour Aqua) machine embroidery thread, my brand new adjustable stippling foot (#73), a topstitch needle and a curved ruler. The quilting should fade into the background completely but still make a statement, however subtle. As I was quilting, I became very concerned that the chalk might disappear. I thought it would be easier to redraw the lines of the mandala if the quilting was done on my domestic machine. The quilt top was whipped off the long arm. I quilted the rest of the underwater scene on my 770.  The decision was made; if, at a later stage, I wanted to couch something on it using the Q24, there would be enough fabric and batting to put it back on the frame and couch without any difficulty. 

Once the mandala was traced, the quilting was easy!

A Mandala on an Underwater Scene

I quilted the mandala first and then filled the rest of the background in with over- and under-lapping spirals….my favourite filler at the moment! These I did with a single strand of Glide (Colour Mermaid) machine embroidery thread. The quilt has a dense filler stitch in the ring part of the big circle. There was sufficient quilting on the mandala.

The background has been quilted and is ready for the next step. It will be something appliqued or couched. Again, I’m wringing my hands, scratching my head and wandering around the house! By now we all know what that means! Oh dear…..

Free sewing instructions: Quilting a mandala

Used Material: Artists' canvas, Bernina 770, Bernina Q24, Foot #73, Glide thread, Inktense paintblocks, Loomtex batting

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