Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thread-u-cation Thursday: The Ten Commandments of Stitching a Fused Art Quilt

Thread-u-cation Thursday: The Ten Commandments of Stitching a Fused Art Quilt
These Ten Commandments were inspired by the following note from a reader we shall call, Jeanne:
I love your humor! I have a hard time getting the needle through a fused piece - I know I'm a 150 lb weakling, but could it also be the needle I'm using? What, oh Queen of Fusing, do you suggest?
Signed,
Jeanne

Dearest Jeanne,
I love your humor too! (And stop bragging about your weight.) When making a fused art quilt for stitching there are few things to keep in mind:

1. Thou shalt not kill thy glue! We are working with a heat activated glue. If you expose it to too much heat from an iron for too long it makes the fabric really stiff and burns the glue into the fabric. It also makes it difficult to hand stitch. When constructing your quilt top just fuse-tack the design elements for a few seconds to hold the shapes into place.
2. Thou shalt steam thy glue! Fabric with fusible web must be steam set for 10 seconds to make it permanent and to make it easier to stitch through.
3. Thou shalt use batting that is easy to stitch through! Some batts are so dense you can barely get an embroidery needle through them. Test the batting first before applying your quilt to the batt. I like Hobbs Premium 80/20 or Fairfield's Cotton Classic.
4. Thou shalt fused thy quilt to the non-scrim side of the batting! Fusing to the scrim side of the batt may ripple the quilt and no amount of stitching will fix it.
5.  Thou shalt not have too many layers of fused fabric! My dainty little fingers can only stitch through 3 layers of fused fabrics. Anything more and I make sure I don't have a lot of stitches to add in that area.
6. Thou shalt use a thimble! Its that added layer of protection that keeps your dainty little fingers happy and safe.
7. Thou shalt use a needle that is appropriate for thy thread! See the embroidery needle chart to match your thread with your needle. Then test out various brands. For instance, I discovered that the Size 4 Richard Hemmings Needles work better on my Size 8 thread than a size 3 needle.
8. Thou shalt stitch only through the top layers of the fabric! There is no need to make every stitch go entirely through the batting and top layers. Just skim the needle and thread under the fabric to create your stitches.
9. Thou shalt have good lighting so thou shalt not go blind and stab thyself! You need to see what you're doing.
10. Thou shalt relax and enjoy thyself! I can not stress this enough. Relax and enjoy the process. It will change your art.

8 comments:

vivian said...

Thanks! I was leaving out step #2-I'm not a big fan of steaming!

Potpourri said...

Thank you for very useful information, some I knew and forgot. other info new 2 me.

Debbie Bates said...

Hi Laura- In a pound to stitch force x needle torque ratio, I believe that I may be capable of about 37 fused layers! I didn't know about the steaminess either. Nicely done. ~ Deb

Exuberant Color said...

#10 should be in capitol letters and underlined!

Cheryl said...

Your ten commandments are THE BEST. I love fusing and handstitching and the peace and calm it brings to my pieces. Thank you for sharing.

WoolenSails said...

I do follow a lot of your rules, but have trouble finding the right needles for the larger threads. The ones I got with the larger eyes, do not sew as well, so will have to find a store that carries the right types. I cannot wear a thimble, I tried, so I have permanent holes in my finger;)

Debbie

懿綺懿綺 said...
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Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Wow! I've been fusing for years but didn't know that about the scrim! Thanks so much, Laura!