I've been thinking about the idea of cutwork embroidery and negative space, and how that could be used in quilting in a very free-form way. To try it out, I made a quilt sandwich in which all three layers were synthetic (i.e. backing and front polyester and polyester batting), then traced a cuttlefish from a picture I took at the Monterey aquarium a few years back. I free motion stitched the fish outline with cotton thread, then used my woodburning tool to cut through all three layers just inside the outline.
It worked great, the woodburning tool cut right up to the edge of the cotton thread (which doesn't burn as easily) and sealed all three layers so there were no frayed edges or loose batting. As usual, it was pretty fumey so I did it in front of a fan by an open window.
Here it is with the fish cut out.
After cutting out the fish, I put two layers of water soluble stabilizer under the open areas and just started thread painting. This is as far as I've gotten- I'm trying to get enough thread on there that all the edges will be connected (and nothing will be floppy) but still leave a fair amount of open space (since that was the original idea). I have no idea what's going to happen when I put it in water to remove the stabilizer, but keep your fingers crossed!
It's been really fun to work on something light-hearted, low stress, and relatively unimportant. I'm linking up with Nina-Marie!