Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stippling strikes again

Hey, y'all. Since our last Bitch Session (patent pending), I caught what I believe to be the Swine Cold and spent several days languishing on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. Once the Porcine Malaise had passed, I decided to finally bind the dreaded Ikea quilt. Remember how much I used to hate binding quilts? Now I love it, and find myself itching to get back to it when I have to stop. I wonder if that will ever happen with pin basting?

Also, while I was in the throes of the Porky Punk, my new Arrow 601 sewing table arrived. Yep, that is the absolute cheapest model of sewing table available. My machine just fits inside the opening, with a little coaxing, and now gives me something approximating a flat surface for my mad experiments in machine quilting.

Last night I happened to check in with my Virtual Quilting Mentor, and found that she has been musing on my remarks about stippling from this post. I was wondering about the pattern that seems to emerge in pictures of stippling that I've seen, and saying that without knowing ahead of time what you are supposed to be creating, just diving in and trying to sew some squiggles and see what happens seems daunting. Leah decided to create some meandering designs with a motif in mind, so that you have something to think about as you stitch. Two that she came up with were "Little Hands and Fingers" and "Alien Fingers."

I decided to give this approach a shot today, with some interesting results. Here is my attempt at making a hand:

Which quickly devolved as I went along:

After that, I just went back to trying to meander with style (which is what I've decided stippling actually is). And, I started doing a LOT better than any of my previous attempts:

Leah was also wondering why everyone wants to start with stippling, and I think it is because there is something appealing about a stitch that is seemingly random. Since we don't have to make regular shapes, it seems that we have more freedom to fuck up and still be pleased with what we've done. It was pretty sad when I couldn't seem to make more than one hand, but after several attempts, I had a better feel for how to move the quilt to make the kinds of curves I've been wanting.

So, the best advice I can give, if you've been wanting to try stippling and haven't been brave enough or if you tried it and gave up: make yourself a big stack of 10x10 or 12x12 quilt sandwiches out of some scraps, and just experiment. Give yourself permission to screw up. But do it over and over and over and over until you figure out what works for you.

And if you do try it, send me a picture. I promise not to laugh or throw fruit.


dokiquilts said...

please let us know how you like your new sewing table. i've been interested in getting one 'cos i have no space for a bigger one but didn't want to invest the money for something that might not be sturdy enuf. love your blog!

Tina said...

You will NEVER love basting. It will NEVER HAPPEN! Fundamentally impossible!

PS: if you do, will you come do mine please?

P. said...

Your stippling is starting to look pretty damn good to me. You and your mentor have given me inspiration to try again...that is, when I get a machine that will do it. My Singer circa mid-1960s won't, even after I went and bought a darning foot for it. So I'm saving for a better machine, maybe for Christmas.

I had a light bulb moment thinking about doing "fingers." Then I went to Leah's site and saw how hers were the size of a nickel and I laughed out loud! If I can make them the size of a real hand, I'll be happy!

Gene Black said...

Once I found the groove, I love doing my "wild meanders" as I call it or "crazy free motion" as I also call it. I see little images appear AFTER I have done them and I never planned them. The mind is a wonderful thing.

Rozita said...

I came here while googling on stippling. You see, I just tried out my first attempt last night. Even if you laugh out loud, I wouldn't hear you anyway.

I must say that your stippling does get better and better. I need to practice more..