help with sails on a windmill

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Elaine255 wrote
on 29 Jun 2011 10:59 AM

I am making an art quilt with windmills on it.  The windmills (3) different sizes, will be on a sky background.  The sails on the windmill are grided and you can see the sky through 3 of the sails, and part of the body of the windmill on the 4th.  I'm trying to figure out how to create the illusion of the grided sails.  I haven't tried it, but I was thinking of wash away stabilizer that I couched thread/yarn/or cording through, but I thought that might not be stable enough once the wash away was taken out.  Also thought of the wash away with a layer of tulle, and then stitching/couching.   Any ideas?  Anyone used the tulle/wash away together to create a sheer see through effect?  Thanks.

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ckquilter wrote
on 29 Jun 2011 7:27 PM

hi elaine

couple of questions

1.if i understand right, you are wanting the sails to be transparent ? such that the underneath layers (sky, windmill body) show through ?

2. how heavy/ thick are the grid lines ?

if your grid lines are close enough together , and heavy enough -  then you won't need a layer of tulle or sheer fabric underneath. actually if they are heavy enough - they don't have to be very close together at all. even without tulle or a sheer underneath.

if the grid lines need to be very thin - one thread width - then they will need to be very close together, or you will need a layer of tulle or sheer on which to stitch.  if grid lines are thin - layer your tulle/sheer in a hoop with a layer of water soluble stabilizer. stitch your lines, as needed. you can then wash away the stabilizer. your stitches will be supported by the tulle/sheer. place on your quilt, restitch the ends/attaching lines to catch both the tulle and the quilt.

if your grid lines are thick - you can still use the above method.  or you can skip the tulle/sheer entirely.  if skipping the tulle- put a layer of water soluble stabilizer in the hoop. you can draw lines on it if you want a set pattern.                                   for each line, using a free motion straight stitch - stitch each line at least 3 times. this will give the next set of stitches something to grab onto.  make sure all of the lines connect up with each other. and make sure that the stitching from each line connects to the stitching of another line - no loose ends!    you can easily stitch each line 5 or 6 times, if wanted.                         then set your machine for a narrow zigzag. it is easiest done free motion. restitch each line with the zigzag, going over it several times - you can widen the stitch a bit if needed for the2nd and third passes.  remember your bobbin thread will show.      for ease of attachment to the quilt - i would make the grid about 1/2 to an inch bigger than actually needed (just extend you lines out). and make an outer line, connecting up all your outer ends.  then you can wash away the stabilizer. lay your gridon the quilt. connect up the lines/finish them as needed. then cut away the outer line if you don't want it.  or leave it on if it is the edge of thesail.                       again, make sure your line ends all connect to something - or they will flop off when you wash away the stabilizer.

the tulle will make the transparent effect a bit grainier. a sheer will be smoother. but at a distance, the difference between the 2 will not be much.

your idea of using yarn or cording will also work. they will make much heavier lines. put your stabilizer in the hoop -either with or without tulle.lay your yarn down in the grid - and it will have the same effect as being the first round of straight stitching. so you can skip that part, and just zigzag over them. make sure you connect all the lines up with each other with stitching - so that it does not fall apart when you remove the stabilizer.

if you use the above method - either multiple lines of straight stitch or yarn; followed by satin stitching; and you connect up all the ends and joints; your piece will be very stable, even after removal of the stabilizer, and even without tulle.                    i have made many spider webs using the same method. most are just 4 or 5 inches across. just thread. no tulle. with a pin backing attached and a beaded spider on top. they have enough body to stand on their own as a pin, and support the beaded spider.             i have made one as large as 9 to 10 inches across and attached it to a quilt. just tacked it at the ends. and it is not saggy or floppy at all.                              the heavier the stitching, or using your suggestion of  yarn or cording - the larger your grid can be and still have enough body to keep its shape. the yarn will create a more flexible grid. the cording will make a stiffer shape.  if your sails are just 5 or 6 inches across, or if the shape is firmly tacked to the quilt  at close enough  intervals , yarn or thread would be fine.       if your sails need to  be very large, and fairly freestanding, then the cording will make a firmer grid.                                  ckquilter

 

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Elaine255 wrote
on 29 Jun 2011 8:27 PM

Thank  you so much for this good information.  The sails will be 1.5" x 4 or 5" on the largest, to smaller on each of the other 2 windmills.  Your information gives me the confidence to try.  I've done a lot of free motion work but I never use a hoop, so using a hoop with the stabilizer will be new, but it makes sense that it would work better.  Obviously on the large windmill the grid lines will be thicker, so I might have to use a few techniques to give each one the right perspective.  I have made one of those scarfs with the water stabilizer so I understand the importance of connecting the stitching lines. Do you use the regular solvy, or one of the stronger ones to make your spider webs?  You said they were fairly rigid when you finished.  So I am assuming you may leave a little residue in the web to keep it firm?  Thank you,  Elaine

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ckquilter wrote
on 30 Jun 2011 12:04 AM

hi elaine

glad it helped.   when you hoop the stabilizer,just treat it like a piece of fabric.  it just holds everything neatly while you are working. and i use a machine embroidery hoop. not the kind used for computerized embroidery.  it looks just like a hand embroidery hoop, except the circles are thinner, so you can slide it under the machine needle.   in a pinch, you can use a hand embroidery hoop - but youwill have to tipit to get it under the needle. or take the needle off and darning foot off, slide the hoop under, and then replace them.

your sails are fairly small - so depending on how many lines, it seems like they should be thin and not heavy. in which case, i would do them entirely from thread, rather than yarn or anything thicker.   you might start with the smallest one, keep the lines thin (just 3 rounds of straight stitches, skinny zigzag).     then as the sails get bigger, add another 3 or 4 rows of straight stitches, ;laid down right next  each other, and then several rounds of zigzag to build up thicknesses.

your experience with the scarf helps. as does your understanding you need to connect things up.

there are lots of stablizers out there. solvy is probably the most easily available. it is not my favorite. but if i just needed a little bit, it is probably the least expensive option.  i have 2 problems with it. one, it tears easily. and tightened into a hoop will make it tear quicker. but it is also easily fixed. you can use 2 or more layers. you can get super solvy, which is the thickness of 2 layers of solvy. you can also get ultra solvy, which is equal to 4 thicknesses of solvy.                          but, you can always start with  1 layer of solvy in the hoop. when it starts to tear, just lay another piece over that area and keep sewing. if it tears again, just add more. remember, it is all gonna wash away in the end anyway.                         adding more layers of solvy brings up my second reason it is not my favorite. it is not clear. as you add layers, you can't see through them.   for your purposes, it does not really matter . you just need to be able to see yur thread on top.                 

but sometimes i make needle lace in a quilt top, and i need to be able to see the edge of the opening - and it is hard to see thru solvy, and you can't see through multiple layers.                                              

 my favorite is aquasolve by oesd. you find it at the bernina dealers.      it is as thin or thinner than solvy. both wash away easily.  but aquasolve does not tear easily. i can sew through one layer, get no holes,where for the same stitching i will end up with 4 layers of solvy.          and aquasolve is very tansparent. i can easily see edges through multiple layers.       but you will probably spend 15 dollars for a  roll (good value if you use it frequently) where you can get a small package of solvy for 3 or 4 dollars.   so if you just need a bit, and don't need the transparency, solvy is more cost efficient. but if i were using it on a regular basis, i would get the aquasolve.

i usually wash the stabilizer away entirely. i don't like the sticky feel the residue leaves when it gets wet.   but you can intentionally leave some in to make it stiffer.                most of my spider webs have metallic thread for the last round of zigzag - and it makes the webs stiffer than rayon thread would. almost like thin wires would.  so the metallic thread worked well for the pins.   and for the ones attached to the quilt, i used rayon thread so they stayed a bit softer and more flexible - better for the quilt.   the pins  i gave to my nephews to wear for halloween, were stitched with the glow in the dark thread - and it is also a bit stiffer.                                     ckquilter

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Elaine255 wrote
on 30 Jun 2011 8:17 AM

Thank you, again, CKquilter.

There is a Bernina dealer nearby, so I may invest in some of your favorite.  I do have some solvy on hand, so I may practice a bit today to see the effect I can achieve.  I have friends that are art quilters, but none of us have experimented that much with the solvy.  Matter of fact, I may have more experience than the others, so your information is greatly appreciated by me.  elaine

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