In the evenings I have been hand quilting this dragonfly panel. The fabric is hand dyed fine weave cotton, the batting is wool, and the backing is muslin. The wool batting is a dream to hand quilt, and the natural coloured muslin used for the backing highlights the hand quilting details.
I stamped the fabric with motifs of water bubbles with a handmade foam stamp and deColorant Plus dye (a nasty smelling product and not very effective, so I threw away the small sample bottles after this project) and various dragonfly motifs from my stamp collection using stamp pads. I added gold acrylic paint dragonflies with a Thermofax screen. I washed the fabric before beginning the quilting to keep the fabric soft.
I tried machine quilting, but the very tight fine weave cotton meant skipped stitches. After some labourious unpicking, I settled on hand quilting around various motifs. I have three spools of exquisite silk thread given to me by a friend which I am using for the quilting. The thread is gold, bronze, and dark bronze and is wonderful to stitch with as it is so strong and smooth and resistant to tangling - so silky!
|The muslin back of the panel highlighting the hand quilting.|
|The front of the panel. It needs more quilting in a few areas to keep it even.|
|Wonderful silk threads.|
My usual hand quilting these days is done with #8 perle cotton and a size 24 DMC chenille needle. Much easier on the hands and relatively fast. However, for this project using this very fine silk thread, I went back to my store of hand quilting needles and used a small short Clover Black Gold #9 quilting needle.
In order to properly feel the stitches I found that I really could not use a thimble on either hand (I usually use thimbles on both hands to save my finger tips from punctures, and a rubber finger cover on my right index finger to resist hand fatigue) so the tips of my fingers on both hands are roughened from tiny needle pricks. I could manage this because the project is not large, and the fabrics and thread are so cooperative. But I am also quite sure that there are not a lot more hand quilting projects using fine needles and thread in my future.
I never use a quilting frame as it only gets in my way.
|Detail of the hand quilting.|
I think at this point I will finish the edges of the panel, probably with a facing as binding does not seem suitable for this project, and then add more quilting as needed for an even effect.