Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Fellow Quilter Question about Quilting People


(c) In Quito's Market (Detail)
I enjoy getting questions where I have at least some partial answer that might help someone in their journey. Following is a recent question from a fellow portrait quilter having just seen a photo of one of my portrait quilts...

From a frustrated quilter:
I just saw a photo of your quilt "In Quito's Market". I do figural
quilts and I have a question that nobody has been able to answer for me.
My problem is that I take a wonderful top, that I have spent hundreds of hours on and can't seem to understand how to quilt it.My quilts faces get puffy because of the quilting around the figure. I have tried quilting them minimally and it
doesn't help at all.There must be a secret


My response...
A face is usually a more central part of the quilt... anytime one quilts all around it first, there will be trouble such as you have experienced. I suggest one never create an unquilted island of anything before quilting the 'island' of as yet unquilted fabric.

With art quilts where there is generally more quilting than maybe a bed quilt, it is actually pretty important to work from the central area outward... and that often means the face first... which is what I generally do. The rule of thumb with quilting faces is ... make a choice up front.... either minimal quilting or alot.... anything else doesn't seem to work well, and ofcourse the same rules of thumb about even quilting distribution across the whole surface of the piece holds true.

If you do heavy quilting(almost thread painting as I often do) on the face, pretty much the same level of quilting density is called for across the rest of the quilt. One doesn't have to go the heavy thread painting approach.... so if doing minimal quilting on the face use minimal quilting elsewhere. Failure to evenly distribute quilting density is a call for ripples/ puffs. Hope that helps.
Good Luck!
Patt

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