In 2011, I did a monthly series called “A is for Applique” for Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Part of the June lesson was about faux trapunto. Here is an excerpt.
Faux Trapunto. Trapunto (Italian for “to embroider”) was originally a handwork method of stuffed or raised quilting, usually seen as a whole-cloth method. The backing fabric would have been a looser weave so that the motifs could be stuffed from the back of the work with a heavy yarn or the fabric would have been slit to allow for stuffing. Here we will use a machine method to make a raised design in a fun block.
Method 1. Using an air-soluble marking pen, draw a design on the background fabric. Layer this top piece on the high-loft batting. Pin the layers together and stitch on the drawn line. Carefully trim away the high loft batting outside of and close to the stitched line, being careful not to cut through the top layer. Layer your trapunto piece with low-loft batting and backing. Stipple or echo quilt around the drawn shape with a dense design to make the drawn shape pop.
Method 2. Fuse your appliqué shape to the background fabric. Finish the edge of the appliqué shape with the high-loft batting underneath. Continue as before. Click on the link for illustrations.
For a tutorial video of Patsy Thompson’s method for trapunto, go to the following website and then scroll down to “Fun Free-Motion Techniques Series” and click on the ABCs of Quilting Trapunto 101, Parts 1 and 2. Patsy has lots of excellent videos and books. Check her out!
As I near completion of my Christmas quilt, I am getting back to my Self-Portrait II quilt. I am still weaving in thread ends. A couple of projects ago, I decided that I would weave in thread ends as I quilted a project instead of waiting till I was finished quilting. I did not do this because I had seen a neat quilt at Paducah where the thread ends became texture on a quilt. You may remember this.
That was fine for this quilt, being about nesting birds. I decided all these loose threads were not fine on my face, reminding me too much of the whiskers I pluck/shave every week. I know, TMI. I weave in threads for at least 40 minutes every day and may eventually get finished. In the meantime, I had just rewatched an episode of The Quilt Show (Episode #606) with Philippa Naylor’s Showstopping Trapunto technique and thought that some of my features (eyes, nose, lips) would stand out better if they were trapuntoed. When I was cutting out my shapes, I double cut some and changed some others so I sewed the leftovers to a scrap so I’d have something to practice different techniques on such as using paint sticks, dyes, colored pencils, and glitter or whatever. I decided to give it a try. Check out Philippa’s website.
Philippa does these whole cloth quilts wholly with stitching and trapunto in different areas but you can apply this to applique as well. First I put down my free-motion slider since I would be stitching with batting next to the bed of the machine.
Then I placed two pieces of batting behind the applique and stitched inside my existing stitching line with YLI Wash-A-Way Thread.
Next trim away one layer of the batting and then the other. Be especially careful not to snip into your fabric top as you do this or you will be cryin.’ Cutting the two layers one at a time allow you to grade the batting layers.
Use a soft wet (unused) toothbrush to scrub away the wash away thread. I used a hair dryer to dry the project before quilting.
Finally, add your usual batting and backing and stipple very closely around the trapuntoed area to make it pop. HINT: Philippa uses a piece of grip shelf liner instead of quilting gloves in one hand and grips the quilt with her other hand. Cheap and handy. I had something similar cut in circles.
I am going to try this again using my original method for two reasons. One, I have some high-loft batting that I’m going to use for more loft and second, after removing the wash away thread, there were needle holes remaining in my applique shape. This is why one should always try these things first before ruining one’s project (again, you’ll be cryin’).
Till next time, may all your tears be tears of joy.
Posted on June 29, 2016, in Applique Techniques and tagged Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild, Free-Motion Slider, high-loft batting, Humor, Patsy Thompson, Phillipa Naylor, stippling, trapunto, YLI Wash-A-Way Thread. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.