In The Eye Of The Beholder

Avoidance of difficult projects spurs me to finish older tops. I can’t figure out how to quilt Torii so I got Phosphenes quilted. The process went much faster than I had anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise. I think once I made peace with the decision to use a walking foot rather than free motion quilting my anxiety level plummeted.

PhosphenesAs I wrote earlier, I had an oddball notion to make a quilt of what you see when you rub your eyes hard. Those shooting bits of color and sparks are called phosphenes, so why should I avoid the obvious title.

I pieced scraps for the diagonal color strips and book-ended a navy ombre fabric for the fade out effect. The random hand stitches were done with Valdani 12 weight perle cotton. I don’t care that it’s expensive; it’s great stuff. After I fused fleece in strips on the back of the navy fabric for extra puffiness I did the hand stitching, then I layered the batting and backing.

I used Superior smoke colored invisible thread for much of the machine quilting, and Sulky metallic thread for zing. First I tried some Wonderfil metallic thread I had, but it continued to give me grief – breakages, catching in the tension discs – despite various adjustments. Unfortunately, I bought a four pack of the miserable stuff. I’ve found Madeira and Sulky metallic thread to be much easier to work with.

Phosphenes detail 1I decided to use a facing for the edge finish.  Now I’m toying with some beading to add pops of sparkle in the hand stitched areas.  I’ll try beads from my limited supply and see if any will add enough to this quilt to be worth the hassle of sewing them on.

Phosphenes back



Filed under Art quilts, In Process

14 responses to “In The Eye Of The Beholder

  1. I love this! I especially love the way that the angled quilting lines are not predictable.
    And also what everybody else liked. I tried to get in and comment yesterday but something was up with my internet service — I could see but not comment. So I get a second look today, but I don’t have anything original to say! 🙂

  2. Nice job! And thanks for the hints about which metallic thread works for you.

  3. Great composition and I love the hand stitching. Have you tried the metallic in the bobbin instead of on the top of your machine? For anyone looking for helpful info – Dr. Bob at Superior Threads has two good videos (though older) about metallic thread.

    • I haven’t tried metallic in the bobbin, mostly because I need to see where I’m quilting vis a vis the top. I’ll remember that if I have a situation where I’m doing all over quilting. I have learned that you need to look up the specifics for each metallic thread manufacturer as needle size and spool orientation (horizontal vs. vertical) differ.

  4. Diane Bird

    Beautiful quilt. Did you place your metallic thread in a separate thread stand or in a cup on your table? Some metallic threads do much better when you do this. It has time to relax before it goes through the machine.

    • I tried both tricks with the Wonderfil. Usually the high thread holder on my Janome suffices for most threads. The Wonderfil seemed to hold its tight curls so much that it got knotted on itself before it even went through my machine’s threading loops. Just not worth the hassle.

  5. Pam

    Beauty. I thought Valdani was expensive because I bought it at a store in a very high rent district. It is a great thread though. I love it when a project like Phospenes comes together. Great choice in quilting.

    • Yeah, some stores really have a high markup on Valdani. I think I bought some at a store in Montana when they discounted all threads the weekend I was there. My memory is that a 100 gram ball generally retails for $4-$5 for the variegated colors. I only buy Valdani in the variegated colors unless there’s a real deal on. And thanks for the kind words about the quilting.

  6. It looks great! I love the gradation and stitches you made. It definitely shows movement. Can’t wait to see it in person.

  7. What a great piece! I love the hand stitching. Thanks for the metallic thread tip. I am in the market for some right now. Do you have a preference between Madeira and sulky? Is one heavier weight?

    • Thanks. Mileage on metallic thread seems to depend on your sewing machine. And each thread manufacturer seems to have different directions for what needle to use. I’m considering whether to add sparkle to this, but that will depend on how practice with hot fix crystals goes.

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