Tag Archives: free motion embroidery

Quilting a Full Moon in Taurus


I THOUGHT I was going to bind and be done with this.  But a few influences (later on those, perhaps) got me to wanting to add a moon and moon shadows.

To make the moon, I looked in some unlikely places, underlining my rule about COLLECTING UGLY FABRIC.

who knew I'd want this fabric?!!

Disk and batting to start —

I won't use a backing -- but there will be two top layers

I love sheers for layering to create depth and a one-of-a-kind surface —

sheer shirts and scarves layer well

This shirt has shown up in other places lately — a self portrait, for one… Its scenes of New York resonate to a child of parents who haled from Brooklyn.  THIS particular full moon was in Taurus, and so, while my initial impulse was to make a quilt about money, the difficult transitions to fall/daylight savings, and the painful nature of attachment… now it had also to do with my father (b. May 19, 1929).

I like to use dissimiliar threads top and bottom for more texture

After stippling the craters, I flipped one of the lighter edges over the top (making a third top layer) because I thought the moon was too dark, and the fabric was there.

Then, because I wanted to make progress and because I knew I didn’t want to attach the moon to the quilt with a loose satin stitch, I machine-stitched the lunar edges under.  (BTW, do you see those two men in the foreground of the grey landscape?!!  This reference to the “man (or men) in the moon” not only affirms my love of visual puns, it does direct homage to my father, who was a true Master of the Pun.

On a different day, I might have decided to tuck these edges under by hand.

Now, I wanted to make moon shadows.

rejected this treatment of moonlight

More on that tomorrow!  (This treatment was soundly rejected!)

Thread drawing for Judy’s Hope

'wrong side'

This is the back of a thread drawing I did this morning to donate to Judy’s Hope silent auction — Judy is a friend of mine who survived ovarian cancer at a very young age (late thirties) and spun her gratitude for the care she received into an annual fund-raiser.   The funds she raises go to support the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

'right side'

First, I attached the raw silk to the upholstery fabric, with a little piece of batting sandwiched in between.  This black rectangle of thread allowed me to see the ‘canvas’ area from the back.  With a green sharpie, I made a rough sketch of the figure on the back.  Since I used a heavier weight thread on the top of the machine and a more standard weight in the bobbin, the initial black lines for the figure on the right side were of a lighter weight.  (Bobbin thread goes underneath; top thread on top).  Now that I had the outlines of my figure, I could flip it over and continue drawing on the right side, with the heavier thread being laid down.  Lastly, I applied some ecru thread from the front (same thread on top and in bobbin).

It surprised me to find that the ‘reverse’ side of the thread drawing held so much more appeal.  The darker threads looked better, and even the revealed bits of green sharpie (hard to see here) added interest.

Bobbin Thread Tips — since the thread feeding up through the bobbin has much less resistance and therefore fewer opportunities to break than the thread being fed from the top of the machine, one trick quilters use is to place threads prone to breakage, like the metallic or variegated threads, in the bobbin.  Also, the bobbin can feed heavier weight threads than the top would allow, like embroidery floss.   This requires being able to ‘see’ the wrong side (which is really the right side) of the quilt, so as to know where the more decorative thread is going to end up.  Hence, my drawing of the rectangle on the portrait above first, so I could ‘see’ where I was placing the threads from the back.

Sometimes, quilters use a separate bobbin that they can adjust the tension on with a little screwdriver, so as not to mess with the tension on the standard bobbin.  I  have separate bobbins for both my Pfaff and Berninas, but I have also learned not to be afraid of changing the tension.