The Free Motion Quilting Project: My Cup Runneth Over - Part 6

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over - Part 6

Yesterday I got back downstairs and started cleaning up the studio. It's amazing what a mess all the little bits of fabric, fusible web, glue, and pins can make over the surface of the table.

I also started the process of figuring out what I'm going to do with the hair area of My Cup Runneth Over.

free motion quilting | Leah DayIt seems like there is always an area of every quilt that I avoid thinking about resolving to "figure it out later."

These areas can sometimes get me in trouble. Because I don't know exactly what I want to do in the area (or I don't know HOW to do it), I don't want to think about it.

And because I don't think about it, the problem area never gets resolved, or gets resolved in a very time consuming way. Talk about a circular problem!

But this hair area isn't that big of a deal. I have a pretty clear idea of what I want this area to look like, but it's not extremely solid because I didn't bother designing it completely before I was ready to run with the rest of the pattern.

So yesterday I took my time coming up with a solid plan. My idea has always been to add trapunto to the hair, making some areas puffy and others very flat with very dense stitching.

I want this area to look very dimensional, almost like some locks of hair are on top of others.
This will be the first time I've used trapunto on a goddess and I'm quite excited about it!

The hair area will never be able to compete with the water in terms of attention, but I do want it to hold its own within the quilt.

In order to play with many different potential quilt designs, I decided to take the advice of Pepper Cory and play with different designs using a clear material over the quilt.

I had some clear upholstery vinyl in my stash and laid it over the hair section of the quilt. First I drew the lines I'd originally designed on paper to see how they will look on the quilt top.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI was using a red dry erase marker which could be theoretically wiped off the surface of the vinyl. I did find that if the marks dried for longer than 5 minutes, they didn't want to come off very well, so I worked pretty quick getting these lines down.

After looking at the original lines, I started filling in the areas that would be puffy with red marker.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI did a little repositioning, drawing, and erasing until I came up with this design:

free motion quilting | Leah DayAfter marking the vinyl, I put it on top of my lightbox and transfered the red marks onto white graph paper. I'll play with the design a bit more on graph paper and then transfer them back to the quilt with a white sewline pencil.

With the clear vinyl on top of the quilt, I figured I should also create a plan for the yellow background of the quilt.

This is another area I don't have a real clear plan for. Looking at all the flowing, curvy lines, I think I need to contrast this with a very angular, geometric design.

Here's my test of using Left Turn, Right Turn in the background, I think this will work really nice, but I'm a little worried about keeping it straight down the length of the piece.

free motion quilting | Leah DayMaybe marking a straight grid in the background will do the trick. That's something else to think about!

Tomorrow I'll share a simple tutorial on trapunto and how you can add simple dimension to your quilts with an extra layer of batting.

I honestly don't know why quilters don't use trapunto on all of their quilts. It doesn't take much time and adds SO much to the quilt top.

Then again, maybe I'm biased. Clipping the excess batting away is my absolute favorite thing to do in the whole world. You can bet I'll be in a great mood tomorrow!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Diane Gaudynski writes in one of her books about how she uses wool batting to get the look of trapunto without all the extra work. She quilts the heck out the areas around the puffy parts. I hope this makes sense.

  2. I am majorly impressed.


  3. Thanks so much for sharing your journey of the how and whys of your quilt. It is so interesting and does lead to ideas. I am so enjoying your Goddess,s emergence from the begining.

  4. Used my version of your left turn right turn last night on a block, mine did not exactly stay straight, so marking a grid probably would help. Mine came out looking like an old brick wall that has seen better days, but I am generally pleased with it.

  5. do not have to have all of the answers at your finger tips. Sometimes things evolve and evolve for the best when you just let them happen. It is coming along beautifully. Enjoy the creative process.

  6. Your quilt will be beautiful. Thank you for sharing how you're making it. I use rubbing alcohol to remove grease pencil and sharpie mark from some surfaces - it might work on the dry erase and vinyl.

  7. Where could I get the pattern of the blue bird? It is just beautiful.


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