Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A closer look at quilting

While I was working on this quilt the other day, it occurred to me that some of you who have led deprived lives may have never seen a quilt under construction! So I grabbed my camera and took the above picture of my latest quilt while it was still under the sewing machine needle. You can see in the center blue rectangle that the area on the left has been quilted -- those parallel vertical lines are machine stitches that give the quilt dimension. The area to the right still has to be stitched. The finished product is here:

I took this picture outside in the sun, and you can see how the layers of soft fabric are indented by the quilting lines, creating shadows and dimension that you wouldn't get if this was a painting. (I painted some of the fabric, but most came from the fabric store.) I haven't named it yet, but I was thinking about aquifers, gravel and water tables when I designed it.

But I don't do all of my stitching with a sewing machine. This year I've been bitten by the hand embroidery bug and have been enjoying being able to work on my Crazy Quilt stitching anywhere -- outside on the porch, in the car, on the airplane, in front of the TV.

This first picture below shows the gorgeous, yummy hand-dyed thread from Laura Wasilowski (at next to some of the stitching I did with it. The rainbow-hued bundle is called Salt Water Taffy (didn't I say it was yummy?) and I used it for the feather stitch and French knots to the left. The blue one is Aquamarine and I used it on the green silk for a feather stitch variation (with lavender French knots). Laura also dyes cotton in the same colorways as her thread. She has a great website and blog where you can peruse her wares and get free lessons!

This next one shows some silk ribbon (wrapped around the white card) and a clutch of violets embroidered with more silk ribbon. The other spools are cotton and silk threads.

And here is a herringbone stitch done with variegated blue embroidery floss further embellished with turquoise bugle beads (the long ones) and round seed beads on orange silk.

Turquoise and orange -- my favorite combo!

And that's the end of today's quilt lesson.

Have a colorful day!


Julaine Lofquist-Birch said...


Vivien Zepf said...

I really love the quilt you've posted here. Have you thought of a name for it yet?

And where's a larger picture of your crazy quilt, inquiring minds want to know?

Gloria said...

I can only do feather stutch and blanket so far..LOL. Your stitching is awesome and inspiring. The colors are so yummy. Laura does have some beautiful threads.

Sherrie Spangler said...

Hi all,

Vivien -- So far it's just four crazy quilt blocks that I'm using to learn how to do silk ribbon embroidery. I keep adding to each one as I learn more and acquire more ribbon.

Gloria -- The feather and blanket stitches go a long way, especially if you riff off of them and add some beads, then some straight stitches in another color, then some French knots, and so on. I'm just learning all of this myself.