Monday, October 26, 2009

The Creative Process: The Zig and The Zag

It’s appliqué time!

A quilt show judge once commented on one of my entries that my satin stitch wasn’t dense enough. The irony of that critique lies in the fact that I wasn’t trying to create a satin stitch – I prefer the method of appliqué that quilt artists Jane Sassaman and Sue Nickels refer to as an open or flat zigzag stitch. The stitch length is slightly longer than that of a satin stitch (I use a setting of 0.5 on my Bernina artista© 185), and it allows the fabric color to show through the thread. The line of stitching has a softer edge, and the thread and fabric appear to co-exist nicely, regardless of their contrast to each other. It’s simply a matter of preference; satin stitching is lovely and gives a different appearance than what I choose for my work.

So here’s a sample of my flat zigzag appliqué; I vary the stitch width from 3.5 (along the straight-aways) to 2.0 (tapering to the points). I’ve used Madeira and Sulky 40-weight rayon threads in the needle and 50-weight or 60-weight polyester in the bobbin to reduce the bulk on the back side of the work.

I pull the thread ends to the back, tie them off, and weave them into the stitching. I learned the hard way that, if I omit this step, those threads have a nasty way of shadowing through to the front side, as if I’d scattered colored vermicelli all over the quilt – not a pretty sight . . .

A reminder: please check my last post – there’s still time to enter the latest Blog Give-Away! And thank you for following me – I appreciate the support!

Diane

11 comments:

Jackie said...

Clicking on your photos really gives a great view of your stitching. I think I actually like how your stitching is done, versus a pure satin stitch. It is different, but equally appealing. Thanks for the detail on the threads used too.

tangled stitch said...

It's beautiful! I love the idea that you kind of broke the rules of satin stitch. I think it makes it all the more interesting that you have little peeks of fabric to admire.

Marilyn Rock said...

Love your zig and zag!!! Beautiful Diane! I'm happy you went with what you wanted to do! xxoo

Ratkins said...

Diane, do you use a stabilizer on the back when you do your applique?

And how do you wash your quilts?

Janet

imquilternity said...

Diane, your work is absolutely stunning and total perfection! I'm always amazed.

Mary-Kay said...

Is there some kind of quilt police to police these things? I much prefer your version of applique than the satin stitch. It sits much flatter and doesn't have that raised edge. Boy some judges are very narrow minded! Great work and I'm interested in seeing the big picture.

Joanna Monroe said...

Perhaps if you'd used a stitch that was more closely related to a blanket stitch, the judges would have recognized the intention of the stitch. I have to say, I'm always amused when something I've done intentionally is misinterpreted by the "quilt police". The art galleries don't have this problem! It's a basic difference between the two venues. Grin.
Joanna

moosestashquilting said...

I like the looks of your zig zag, and am a firm believer that comments from judges are only their opinions on things, and everyone has a different one of those! LOL!! Your work is beautiful from this eye, that has no "judge" ability in it! hahaha Keep up the great work, your my inspiration.

Pat Spillane said...

Thanks once more for the close-ups; I never thought about the "tapering" near a point. That's why you're the expert at this, not me.
Next, can you provide us with the sound of your machine? I want to hear the speed of your stitching ENGINE...LOL.
Thanks, Diane. This post is truly helpful!!!

Victoria said...

Beautifully done, and I am in absolute agreement with your stitching preference!

belinda said...

I know....through the years with
my applique....when my satin
stitching became sooo dense it
reminded me of mass produce ready
made! I prefer a looser stitch too!

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