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Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge - Bonus Tutorial, by Diane Loomis

I am happy to have Diane Loomis as one of our FMQ Experts, for the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge. And, delighted to share insights with you today about this very talented woman.

Diane Loomis is a very talented quilter, designer and teacher. She has won many national awards for her beautiful quilts.  Needless to say, I was delighted when I had a chance to see her "Five Bar Blues" quilt, at Road to California Quilt Show 2012. Sadly, my photo does not do this spectacular quilt justice.  As such, I do hope you'll take a look at Diane's online Gallery where you'll be able to see a better picture of this quilt and learn more info about it, as well as her other quilts.    

For those attending IQF Houston, be sure to look for "Five Bar Blues", which is a finalist in the  "Quilts: A World of Beauty 2012" judged exhibit (winners to be announced October 30th).  If you don't make it to Houston, you'll have a chance to see this beautiful quilt on display at other IQA events, as it will be part of a traveling exhibit in 2013.

Diane enjoys teaching a variety of  workshops and sharing her passion for free motion quilting in lectures and trunk shows regionally and across the country.  She teaches a variety of workshops, as well gives lectures.  You can check her online schedule to see if she will be teaching in your area. For those in the New England area, Diane will also be teaching at "A Quilter's Gathering" in 2013.  

You may also want to click here to download a tri-fold brochure about Diane, that you can  share with your Quilt Guild Events coordinator and/or local Quilt Shop to request that she come teach in your area.

One of her classes on Free-Motion Quilting has a project to make a beautiful purse that would certainly be a great way to show off your FMQ skills, as you attend workshops, retreats, shows, etc..

 She also has a class on Free-Motion Fills that looks like great fun and another way to build your skills, by using a variety of FMQ designs, yet these designs would also make for great background fills on other projects too.

Definitely check out her page on various workshops that she offers.

Diane Loomis has created an excellent tutorial for participants in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge and it is being released as a "bonus" tutorial, but SewCalGal hopes everyone will take advantage of this tutorial, enjoy the tips and inspiration, and complete the tutorial to learn and improve their FMQ skills.   

You can find Diane Loomis at:
Website: http://www.dianeloomisquilts.com/
Blog: http://dianeloomisquilts.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diane.loomis.98?fref=ts

Tutorial for Free-Motion Quilting, by Diane Loomis:

Hi!  I’m very excited to share a tutorial on machine trapunto for SewCalGal’s 2012 FMQ Challenge.  I've been sewing (and loving fabric of all types!) for as long as I can remember.  I started quilting about 15 years ago when I volunteered to lead a school project for one of my children – and the project was making a quilt.  I soon learned that there was a lot more to quilting than I realized.

As soon as I finished my first quilt I was hooked, and I wanted to learn all I could about quiltmaking.  First, I found quilting books and read as much as I could.

Then I discovered Quilting Classes! I was lucky that both Harriet Hargrave and Diane Gaudynski were offering machine quilting workshops my area.  My first class with Diane Gaudynski was a class on machine trapunto.  The project from that class was the first quilting class project I completed within a month of finishing the class!  The project became a quilt named Ode to Trapunto I.  Diane Gaudynski’s class and Ode to Trapunto started me on my machine quilting journey. 

The trapunto design in the center is “Spring Quintet” from Trapunto by Machine, by Hari Walner.

What is trapunto?
Trapunto, or "stuffed work" was traditionally worked by hand, usually after a quilt was layered and quilted.  In areas to be stuffed, the threads of the backing were pushed apart, or even cut, to create a hole large enough to stuff batting into the space in between the top and backing and inside the quilted lines.  Special needles and other tools were used to push batting or cording into small spaces or quilted channels.  This extra batting created textured motifs on the front of the quilt.

Trapunto creates raised motifs on the quilt top.  Especially when paired with backgound quilting close to the "stuffed" or trapunto'd areas, this technique adds depth and texture to the design elements of line and color on the quilt top.

Modern machines and new types of thread take the handwork out of the “stuffed work” required for traditional trapunto and let you create dramatic quilting designs entirely using your sewing machine.  And best of all, machine trapunto is easy to do!

Each of these quilts (except the smallest one) incorporates trapunto to make the quilted motifs pop!

Here you can see a close-up of the trapunto in the border of "Five Bar Blues".

Trapunto designs. 
I created a small trapunto pattern for this tutorial.  It is designed to be easy to quilt and easy to trim, and will fit inside an 8” block.   If you would like a more challenging design, there is an "extra credit" option of a trapunto feather border design.  The trapunto flower and feather border is 8” by 10”.  By using a 150% enlargement it will fill the long sides of a 16” block, with room for the flower (or two) inside.
If you have one of Hari Walner's books on machine trapunto (available again from Amazon after being out of print for a few years) you can also choose a small design from one of her books for this tutorial.  Choose one of the simple designs; most of the larger designs require a lot of trimming and will take more time to finish (as I discovered when I chose the Spring Quintet pattern for Ode to Trapunto).   

Click here to download Diane's design in a PDF format.  Be sure when you print this design you must click the print button for 'actual size" when printing it.  

Ready to quilt?  There are seven simple steps to completing trapunto by machine:
1.        Mark the trapunto design on quilt top.
2.        Layer trapunto batting behind design.
3.        Quilt trapunto design using water soluble thread.
4.        Trim trapunto batting.  
5.        Layer quilt with regular batting and pin.
6.        Quilt the quilt!  both the trapunto designs and background fills.
7.        Finishing – soak in cool water, block to dry.

Follow the step-by-step instructions that explain and illustrate the machine trapunto in detail. 
First, make sure all your supplies are on hand and ready to use. You will need some specific supplies for machine trapunto.

Trapunto Supplies:

Water soluble thread
You only need a small amount for this project.  YLI Wash-A-Way thread is usually available in 100 meter spools.  If you are opening a new spool, be sure to have a ziplock bag handy to store the thread after you use it.
Sharp scissors to trim trapunto batting
I like round edge scissors because the points catch in the batting when I trim trapunto.  You may also need very sharp, small scissors to get into small spaces.
Fabric marker pre-tested on your fabric
I like to use blue water soluble markers because this project will be immersed in cold water at the end, which removes the blue marker.  Remember to test any marking tool you use on a small piece of your fabric to make sure it can be easily and completely removed from the fabric following the manufacturer's instructions.
Trapunto pattern
Use the design provided with this tutorial.  (You may also choose a small design from one of Hari Walner’s books on trapunto.)
Trapunto batting
I use Quilters Dream Poly, Request (medium loft) for my trapunto.  It is important that the trapunto batting stays soft and smooth, does not beard, and trims easily.  You need a piece of trapunto batting large enough to cover the trapunto design – it does not have to be as large as the whole quilt sandwich.   If your local quilt shop does not carry Quilters Dream batting, you can use another brand, or a dense cotton batting.  The trapunto batting should be thicker than the quilt sandwich batting.

Recommended supplies for the quilt sandwich

Quilting thread: I encourage everyone to use #100 weight silk thread for this project!  Use a thread color that is close to the color of your quilt top.  You can use a lightweight cotton thread (matching the color) in the bobbin.  If you cannot find silk thread in your local quilt store (it is often available for hand applique), alternatives are very lightweight cotton threads such as Aurifil #50 (orange spool), Mettler #60 embroidery thread (green writing on spool), or DMC #50 embroidery thread.
Quilt top: Solid cotton fabric in a medium to light color.  I recommend solid cotton sateen because of the extra sheen of the sateen weave.
Quilt sandwich batting.  Use a thin batting for the quilt sandwich batting.  I am using Quilters Dream Cotton, Request weight (lowest loft).   I sometimes use very thin wool batting under trapunto.  Try to make sure the quilt sandwich batting is thinner than the trapunto batting.
Quilt backing: Cotton or sturdy muslin.  I recommend starching the backing fabric.
Pins: I prefer to use safety pins (I use #0 brass safety pins) but if you are careful straight pins work for a small project that will be finished right away.
Sewing machine needles: Use a Microtex Sharp needle with fine cotton or silk thread.  I recommend size 70/10 for either cotton or silk.  You can also use a 60/8 Microtex needle with #100 silk thread. (These needles work well with the water soluble thread also.)

Mark the quilt topFirst, mark the trapunto design on your quilt sandwich top.  You can use a light box, or other marking technique that you prefer (see marking techniques in earlier FMQ tutorials).  I often use a grid as the background for trapunto designs. It is easiest to mark all of your pre-planned designs now, before the quilt top is sandwiched with batting.

One of my favorite stencils for straight line designs is the Grid Marker (made by June Tailor).  The grooves are ½” apart and are spaced so a pen or pencil can fit easily between them. To mark a 45° grid, match the 45° line on the Grid Marker with either a horizontal or vertical line or edge of your design. 

Draw all the grid lines in the background area covered by the Grid Marker, and then move the Grid Marker to cover the next section of background, carefully matching up the end of the drawn lines as well as the 45° degree lines when you move the stencil.  After drawing all the diagonal lines in one direction, repeat for the other direction.  (Do not draw the grid lines inside your trapunto design.)

Layer the trapunto batting.  Place the trapunto batting on the wrong side of the quilt top, behind the trapunto design.  It does not have to cover the full top, but has to cover the trapunto design.  Pin the batting to the top around the outside of the trapunto design - when you pin it you will be able to tell if the trapunto batting is in the right place.

Thread your machine with the water soluble thread. 

Tip: don't wet the end of the water soluble thread to help you thread the needle!  If the end is frayed, clip it with sharp snips or scissors.

 Take a few practice stitches in a scrap piece of fabric and batting using the water soluble thread.  You may need to reduce the tension so the thread doesn't pull or create puckers on top.  Tension is not critical here, but your quilt sandwich and trapunto batting should lie flat. 

Tip: before you change the tension, write down the tension you are using with your regular thread.

Should you use water soluble thread in the bobbin?  When I am working on a large quilt, I always use water soluble thread in the bobbin.  For a small sample like this, it is fine to use a very lightweight cotton thread in the bobbin and it will work fine.   White or off-white will blend in with the batting, and you may quilt over the bobbin thread as you quilt the sandwiched project. (If you do decide to try water soluble thread in your bobbin for this project, be aware that you may need to adjust the bobbin tension.  Store your bobbin in a zip lock bag, with the spool of water soluble thread, when you are done.)

Quilt the trapunto design. Put your quilt top with the trapunto batting pinned to the wrong side of the top in your sewing machine and get ready to machine quilt.

Quilting tips: Put the feed dogs down, and set "needle down" on your machine if you can.  Use your favorite machine quilting foot and a Supreme Slider http://www.freemotionslider.com/ so your quilt moves smoothly on the sewing machine bed.
Quilt on the outside of the trapunto design with the water soluble thread.  Remember you only need to stitch on the outside line - marked on the design handout

You will add the details in the last quilting step.  (If you forget and start outlining the whole flower, for example, without the leaves, don't worry.  The only thing you have done is to spend more time practicing quilting with water soluble thread!  You can leave the water soluble thread in - just remember next time you come to a leaf to go around the outside.) This is a good opportunity to practice quilting the trapunto design, because these stitches will disappear when the water soluble thread is removed at the end.
When you are done, remove the pins from your quilt and (if you are not going to trapunto the feather border) remove the water soluble thread from your machine.  Return the water soluble thread to a zip lock bag.  Now you are ready to trim the batting.

Trim the trapunto batting.  Now turn your project over - you are ready to trim away the trapunto batting.  Cut the trapunto batting away, as close to the stitched line as possible.  I keep my hand underneath when I am trimming, so I can feel the scissors as I am cutting and make sure I am not snipping into the fabric.  If you are using high loft trapunto batting, be sure to cut completely through all the layers of the batting.

After you trim away the extra trapunto batting, your design areas will be covered with batting when you look at the back of the quilt top.
Extra Credit: Trapunto Feathers. 

Trapunto makes feathers look amazing!  Most feather designs are excellent candidates for trapunto. The major consideration for quilted feathers is that trapunto feathers must be designed and marked before the quilt is layered.  (This trapunto technique does not work with freehand feathers.)  On the other hand, trapunto'd feathers are not difficult to trim.  Your handout includes a feathered border to demonstrate the technique for trapunto feathers.  If you are comfortable quilting feathers, I encourage you to try the “Extra Credit” feather border. 
Tip: the most difficult part of quilting a feather is quilting the long, curving spine.  Wait until you are warmed up and confident before quilting the spine.
Use a larger piece of trapunto batting that will cover both feathers and the center flower in the 2nd step “Layer the trapunto batting”.  After you quilt the outside of the feathers with water soluble thread, turn the quilt top over and carefully trim the trapunto batting. 

If you're not ready to quilt a feather now, remember this trick the next time you are creating a feather design that you want to really stand out on your quilt!
Sandwich the quilt
You are almost done!  Now 'sandwich' your quilt.  Gather all your materials: 
-  Trapunto'd top with trimmed batting
-  Thin cotton sandwich batting as big as the quilt top
- Starched backing fabric
This is the way I sandwich all my quilts, from 8 inches square to 8 feet square!
Place the backing fabric on a flat table or cutting mat, and, using painters tape or masking tape, tape the background fabric to the flat surface, stretching it flat.  It should be taut, but not too tight.  When you move your hand across the fabric, it should move very little -- the tape should hold the fabric securely enough so that there are no wrinkles in the backing fabric.  Next, smooth the cotton batting on top of the backing.  Finally, place your trapunto'd top on top of the cotton batting, and smooth the top in place so there are no wrinkles. 

Pin securely, especially around the trapunto’d areas.

Do you really need this many pins if you are making a small project sample?  Probably not.  Do you really need this many pins if you are using trapunto in your lap size / bed size / king size quilt?  Absolutely!!
You are ready to quilt your project now.
Take the water soluble thread out of your sewing machine, and replace it with silk thread.  If you changed the tension for the water soluble thread, return it to its regular setting. 
Machine Quilting
Thread your machine with #100 silk thread or very fine cotton thread, matching the color of the quilt top.  Machine quilt the design, stitching on the lines you marked design on the quilt top.  Follow the order of stitching that is shown on your handout.  When you quilt in between the petals, you can either backtrack on the lines dividing the petals, or you can leave a very narrow channel between each petal.  This will avoid backtracking and looks fine when the trapunto is competed. The leaves and petals have quilted details that do require backtracking.  You can decide how much of this detail quilting you would like to do, depending on your comfort with backtracking. 

Try backtracking with silk thread - you may discover that it is easier than you think!   When you stitch around the perimeter of the trapunto design, your stitching will be on top of the water soluble thread stitching; but when you are adding detail, you are quilting on the marked lines.
Stitch all the trapunto'd designs first, being careful not to let the thicknesses of batting bunch up and cause pleats as you machine quilt, especially if you used high loft trapunto batting.  It helps to stretch the quilt sandwich taut with both hands -- using your hands like an embroidery hoop as you stitch.   Remove pins as you go.
Tip: (If you are using safety pins), open the pins before you start quilting so they will be easy to remove while the quilt sandwich is in the sewing machine.
You may want to echo stitch around all your trapunto'd designs – I do, often more than once.  Changing to a different shade or even a slightly different color thread is also a nice touch.

I used four different backgrounds on this trapunto class sample

Decide how you would like to quilt the background of your quilt.  If you have completed 2 or 3 echo lines around your trapunto motif,  experiment with another small fill pattern next to the trapunto.  After you have done some close quilting surrounding the trapunto, you can switch to a larger scale background pattern - the rest of the quilting will go much faster! 

You can quilt a simple grid or parallel lines, or use any of the background fill designs you have learned in earlier FMQ challenge lessons this year.  Be sure to quilt your background designs all the way up to the trapunto outline (or previous quilting) to make the trapunto designs pop off the surface of the quilt. 

Now the finish line is just in front of you, and this is a fun part!  Make sure you have completed all the quilting you want to do on this piece, and get ready to soak your quilt.  Use clear, cold water - no soap, detergent, or any other additive in the water.  Completely immerse your quilt in cool water.  You will probably need to hold it under water as the water works its way into the batting and through all the layers of the quilt.  You'll see the blue water soluble lines disappear right away.  Keep the quilt in the water and agitate it gently with your hands to make sure the water soluble thread dissolves completely. 
I keep a spare dry towel handy when I am ready to take the quilt out of water.  Gently press the water out of the quilt (don't wring it out!) and when the excess water is out, put it on the towel and roll your quilt up in the towel.  Now you can press the rest of the water out of your sandwich.   Now, when it is damp, block your quilt so it dries straight and square.  I use a piece on insulation board covered with a few layers of muslin and pin my sandwich to the board to dry.  A small quilt will dry overnight.
Finished project!
There are many ways to finish this simple trapunto design – here is my finished project.

After you've completed this project, think about where you can use trapunto in your quilt tops.  I started small, used a little trapunto in the first quilt, then added trapunto to a border, and before you know it, you will want to use trapunto throughout your quilt.

"Five Bar Blues" uses trapunto extensively, both in the center bars and the borders.

  Thank you Diane for sharing your insights 
and providing us with such a great tutorial!


While this challenge is focused on learning and/or improving our free-motion quilting skills, you also have the opportunity to win prizes. To be eligible to win a monthly prize, simply complete this "bonus" tutorial  anytime in 2012 and it can count as 1 of 12 FMQ tutorials that you need to complete to enter to win a Grand Prize.   But do remember this challenge is more about learning and improving your FMQ skills, so don't rush thru the exercise just to enter. Take time to practice and embed this design to your muscle memory, before you enter. To clarify, DO NOT just add a link to your blog, but to your post that shows that you have completed this tutorial. You get one link, so keep practicing until you feel you are finished with this tutorial.

For bloggers:

Please post your entry on your blog. To clarify, you can include as many photos of this tutorial exercise in your post, but you can only add one link to the linky tool below. You may also want to include insights in your post about your past FMQ experience and thoughts about this tutorial. Totally, optional, but you may also want to let everyone know that you have taken the Pledge and you did this exercise to enter the the challenge this month, where randomly selected winners will win a prize. You may inspire others to want to join this challenge too!

For non-Bloggers:

1) You will need to have a Flickr account (www.flickr.com). 
2) Upload your photos for this month's challenge to Flickr, batch organize, send your photos to groups, select "2012 FMQ Challenge". While Flickr, limits the amount of text you can share in your description, feel free to share your perspective on this exercise and/or your past FMQ experience, if you wish.
3) After your photos have successfully been loaded to the "2012 FMQ Challenge" group, click on your best photo in that group, ideally one that shows the stencil and how you quilted using that stencil. Copy the URL link to your particular photo entry. Add that link to the linky tool below, to officially enter.

note: While there was a unique group for each monthlychallenge, based on feedback the generic 2012 FMQ Challenge  group was been created that will hold all your photos for the remaining monthly challenges, so you will not need to rejoin a group on Flickr every month.

Remember only one link (entry) per person that has taken the pledge to learn and/or improve their Free Motion Quilting Skills, on a home sewing machine, in 2012.

For those that may need help to link up the link to their tutorial project, to the linky for this challenge, Dana (Stormy Days) has also written an excellent tutorial for using linkies, so please take time to read her tutorial if you are not familiar with linkys or have any questions about linkys, in general. Please read the rules above, before you enter by way of adding a link below.   And, Only add one link after you have practiced the tutorial to master the design. No rush, you have all month to practice and enter. Please follow the rules on this tutorial post, before you add a link.

Add your link once you complete Diane's tutorial, using her Trapunto tutorial.  This link will be open thru December 31st.

Copyright Reminder:  This site is copyright protected.  You are certainly authorized to print and use this tutorial for your own use. Please DO NOT print and share any part of this tutorial post, nor share electronically, without written permission from Diane Loomis and SewCalGal.

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Larissa said...

Thanks Diane - this looks like FUN!!! ... I am *really* looking forward to trying this out!!!!

Also, just to check ... we can link up anytime during 2012 ... or 2013 as mentioned?!

Thankyou SewCalGal for hosting this challenge - and allowing us all the freedom to learn from the masters, a skill that will stay with us for a VERY long time, getting better with each project!!!

Quilting Babcia said...

This special bonus tutorial looks wonderful, and fun! Thanks to Diane for the clear directions and photos of the entire process. Looking forward to trying this one soon!

Anonymous said...

I've done trapunto by hand and also by a different method on my machine. I'm looking forward to doing this one! Thanks, Diane, for giving us this bonus tutorial!

KaHolly said...

WOW! The end result is gorgeous!

Mary Ann said...

Excellent instructions! I look forward to completing this marvelous tutorial.

Diane L said...

I received a question on my blog about the silk thread. If are having trouble finding #100 YLI silk thread locally, here are two online stores that carry the full range of YLI #100 silk colors and ship internationally: http://www.roserushbrooke.com/yli-silk-thread-1.html and http://shop.dreamweavers-quilts.com/Thread_c_30-2-0.html I know its difficult to match colors from your computer screen, but Roserushbrooke has nice photos of each spool that look true to color; she also notes matching Mettler thread for a few of the colors.

Debbie said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial. Wonderful information and detail. I really enjoyed trying this one.

Diane Wild said...

This was a great tutorial. Thanks for the lesson.

Karens Quilts, Crows and Cardinals said...

WOW! Thanks so much for sharing this great tutorial... I have been aching to do a whole cloth Trapunto... no more excuses ; )