Thursday, 15 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Development of Ideas Part 1

This is probably the hardest part. How often have you looked at a wholecloth in a quilt show and wondered how people come up with those brilliant ideas. This took me a long time to work out. I started to research this a bit over time and also delved into how best to draft designs. Over time I realised that there are a number of different ways on how to approach a wholecloth quilt. While you need to have some sort of inspiration to start with I believe the more critical point is how you are going to approach it. This dawned on me when I was doing a very traditional wholecloth quilt with a center motif last year. Thinking about this I started to categorise wholecloth quilts into several categories, i.e.
  • An allover design consisting out of repeated motifs
  • Medallion type quilt with a prominent centre design and various variations of that, i.e consisting of numerous borders or Mandala type quilts 
  • Pictorial wholecloth quilts
  • Modern wholecloth Quilts, and also 
  • Rulerwork based wholecloth Quilts
Each of them will require a different approach to designing, different tools and obviously a different level of skills and I found it helpful to have that structure as a guide. So if I am inspired by a particular motif or design I will think about which category would be the best fit. Is it a smaller design which would lend itself to repeating it over the whole quilt or is it maybe a design that could be done with a ruler where I could then extend outwards. I am finding this a bit helpful as it will guide me to a particular way of designing it and gives me that overall structure to work from.

Looking then at the categories, my current project falls within the first category of an repeated all over motif. Must emphasise that this is not my original idea...I have seen this on Cindy Needham's

‘Wholecloth' Craftsy class a couple of years ago. I first used this in a pillow challenge that was run over at Quiltshopgal in 2015 (see my post HERE) For the challenge I took a seemingly very boring stencil, put it on point and repeated it. Looked absolutely fabulous!

I remember thinking then that this would make a lovely allover pattern for a wholecloth quilt.
You can apply this principle to all sorts of stencils and like I have done with my current project, mix and match different stencils together. The options are really limitless. Here are a few more ideas:

These two stencils are from Pam Clarke’s book 'Quilting Inside the Lines'. All I have done here is repeated the stencil in a straight way across the quilt. I particularly like the second one and you could imagine that you could now extend this out with a bit of a border maybe taking part of the motif and designing an accompanying border stencil or you could just simply stitch a very formal feather border around this. Or you could set this on point and have a bit of a look what that looks can really play with this and come up with quite exciting ideas. I did this on the Ipad with the Adobe Draw App. If you prefer to work with paper you could copy your motif several times and lay it out in front of you to have a bit of a look.

If you look back over my most recent posts you will get an idea of how I tackled getting my motif repeated over my piece of fabric. 


Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Short post, working out how to get my photo onto this post from my Ipad at a reduced size and obviously managed after some unbelievable mucking around.

Making slow but steady progress


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Wholecloth - Miscalculations and Other Disasters

Well, I would not have thought that I come across a major issue that quickly, but I did.

When putting down my framework I noticed that I did not have the planned 1/2in around the perimeter. Normally that would not matter as you have one solid piece of fabric, but for this one I added a border, so it did sort of matter.
When stitching out the framework, I thought that I had about 1/4in. The idea was to then stitch a 1/4in line around this...however, stitching this out I ended up a bit all over the place, sometimes hitting the 1/4 in mark and sometimes not. As you can see hopefully, I may have a bit more than 1/4in here to the border which is indicated with the red arrow. I think this occurred because the ruler work (you can see my 10in HQ ruler in the background) was much more difficult than I had anticipated and in the end I was just happy to get it down.

I then stood back and tried to figure out how to best overcome this issue. I had at least six arcs which were completely out. Decided to stitch a 1/4 in line around the perimeter to assess the issue. Did it at first in white thread which looked absolutely horrendous. Next issue presented itself...I have a light coloured backing! Thought that a black line would be nice, but then had to have the bobbin thread in beige to go with the rest of the back. Lots of tweaking, but I managed to pull this off in the end without pokies on the front or back. At least something was working.

That is just it with Wholecloth quilts. Things rarely go smoothly and you do come across a variety of issues as it is close to impossible to think everything through. The drawings always look great, are exact and cause no issues, but when you are dealing with fabric you could have some issues around shifting, compaction (which will affect your measurements) and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. You will have to decide what you can accept in terms of imperfection and what will continue to bother you.  Can you hide the imperfection or draw the eyes away from it? In my case I had to undo some of my arcs as they were just not meeting the 1/4in black line and this stood out like a sore thumb. Was very grumpy about this as doing the arcs was challenging. But, happy I did it in the end...looking good! So now I can pretend that I had wanted it this particular way in the first placešŸ˜†

After I finished this I finally got around to insert the motif. Decided to trace and pounce it rather than stitching through the paper so that I would get the alignment right. Bit of a process...

Tracing and stitching through the paper to make the stencil...
Aligning and pouncing it with you can see this is fairly faint and I must admit that I have mentioned to my family that I have once again surpassed myself in terms of crazy design ideas. This is indeed quite challenging.

And finally

Yep, made another mistake amongst all of that...traced the wrong drawing initially...the space between the two parts of the motif was a tad too wide, so will have to undo the two that I did already. The motif above is the right alignment and looks great. The joys of Wholecloth quilting. Hopefully it will be plain sailing from here on.

Amongst all of this our computer broke really broke down, black screen, no play, so I had to figure out a different way to post. Lucky for me I had printed off what I needed for the center from the EQ8 program. By the time we get that fixed, I will hopefully be at the stage to do the borders.