Monday, April 16, 2018

New Quilt: Smocking

As part of my ongoing pursuit of dimensionality in quilts, I recently decided to see if I could make a smocked quilt.  By smocking, I mean something like this, which, as it turns out, is not actual smocking.  While at the Dallas Quilt Show a couple of weeks ago (after finishing this quilt actually), I visited the booth of the Lone Star Smockers which is a chapter of the Smocking Arts Guild of America.  The very kind ladies there let me ask a billion questions and were very helpful but did let me know that what I was talking about is called "fabric manipulation" rather than smocking, which is this.  TBH, I think they should come up with a better name- fabric manipulation seems like what we're all doing and rather vague.  But anyway, actual smocking looks like fun too, but I don't think you could do it with a quilt.

I, as has been my recent pattern, started with a piece of pale polyester prom dress type fabric and painted it.  Then I quilted it quite densely with both matching and contrasting threads.  For this piece I wanted the quilting to be both even and dense because I was afraid it wouldn't fold up right otherwise.

After quilting, I went ahead and squared up and put on/finished the facing.

This kind of fabric manipulation is done by marking a grid on the back and then stitching from corner to corner in a defined pattern.  I had to guess about how big to make my grid; I wanted it to be big enough that the quilt would fold (since quilts are thicker than fabric) but small enough that there was space for enough repeats of the pattern to actually be able to see the pattern.

Here's the grid drawn on the back.  The next picture shows what it looks like as you're stitching the pattern from the back; basically a big ole mess.  You sort of have to trust that when you get to the end it'll have come out right.   Spoiler alert:  it came out right!  Come back Friday and you can see the final quilt!

Have you ever done any smocking or fabric manipulation?

1 comment:

  1. I have done samples of this for my City and Guilds. It is called North American Smocking or Canadian Smocking. There are variations. If you Google, you can see the effects you can get. I love that you are doing it on a proper quilt!