Friday, 12 August 2011


I'm really envious of all the people who will be at the Festival of Quilts, in Birmingham. I'd love to go, and will do one year, but looking at my bank account it's probably best that I'm not there this weekend.
However, I'm cheering myself up by planning lots of quilting this weekend. I started up again last night (it feels like ages since I've done any) and then realised that I hadn't blogged about my recent departure into Trapunto.

The butterfly that I made is a great starting point as it uses a bit of each of the main 4 techniques of Trapunto (Italian quilting, French cording, Trapunto and English quilting).

You start with a piece of calico and draw your basic design on in pencil, faintly. Then baste it together with a piece of butter muslin underneath. Then using a simple running stitch, you just sew along the lines of your design.

Once you've sewn a whole area, you can start padding it out with toy stuffing. You push it in through the back butter muslin layer, but the trick is not to over stuff! It is very easy to get carried away at this stage.

You can fill channels (like around the edge of the wings) with quilting wool, this is really, really satisfying to do. I could have carried on using that technique (I think this it's the Italian one).

This is about as technical as the equipment gets to create these kind of designs.

I really liked my design at this point, where some pieces are stuffed and some aren't. I did my stitching in two colours to try and brighten up the butterfly, but on reflection I wish I'd just done it in a white/cream cotton as the end result looks much nicer. Oh well you live and learn.

Once you've finished the design, then you put a layer of wadding and batting underneath and quilt around the edges of the butterfly as you would quilt a normal quilt top. This is the stage where I started to dislike the design. It all got too puffy for my liking. As the wadding makes all the padding stick out even further - this is where you realise just how much you over stuffed your design.

But I'm really glad I did it. It's quite quick to do, this section only took a few hours, and it's also a great one to do in front of the TV or while you're chatting to someone. 

The lady who taught me is called Sylvia Critcher, she's currently getting her website built but sells patterns, and all the equipment needed to make them, at various shows (I've seen her at Chilford before). Otherwise you buy off her mail order service, call her on 01752 462653 for details.

Here's some examples of her work:


  1. Cor that's crazy. Did you do a course Clairey? I am so jealous! I think you should do a big whole quilt like that!

  2. And NEXT year make sure you come to Birmingham. I want to stay over next year. I know that sounds mad, but there is so much to see and it's so tiring. Think about it, it could be a girls weekend!