Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Whitework Quilting!

Also known as wholecloth, whitework quilting is a very popular style of quilting.  Though this technique has been around for decades, a resurgence of the wholecloth quilt has been largely due to the longarm quilting machine.  From the book Quilting Designs of the Past:
"One of the earliest quilt styles is the wholecloth quilt.  It is predominantly made of a single fabric.  The actual quilting is quite plain*.  Parallel and crossed lines travel through peonies, peacocks, and pomegranates.  Crosshatching, diamonds, basket weaves - all stitched on point - and elongated shells, chevrons, and herringbone patterns appear throughout this (early nineteenth century) period".
*If any of you have admired the quilting on a wholecloth quilt at a quilt show, there's nothing 'plain' about it!!!

My most favorite style of wholecloth starts as a vintage linen.  I've collected a few...

When you're ready to begin and after choosing your linen, you audition patterns, to include stencils and rulers.  Then you transfer the pattern using either a water-soluble or air-soluble marking pen.  Then quilt!  Pictured are a couple of wholecloth quilts - that started as vintage linens - I finished over the Christmas holiday season.  Since quilting them takes time, I usually don't have time during the year when I'm working on customer quilts to finish them.  So, it was a gift to myself to have two completed!  

The only original embellishment to this linen was a square of embroidered flowers and leaves.  Very sweet but very one-dimensional.  To breathe life into it, making it three-dimesional, I added everything else.

The intense micro-stippling popped out the designs.  It also took a LOT of time to do!

 The second vintage linen began with four appliqu├ęd and embroidered corners of flowers and leaves:

Below you can see the border treatment, which is basically piano-keys with a radiating effect on the corners.

A close-up of the quilted tulips winding around the center cross-hatching, as well as "McTavishing", a type of background fill:

I attribute both Cindy Needham's Wholecloth Linen Quilts and Karen McTavish's Whitework Quilting as inspiration on quilting designs and recommend them highly.

 Off to another vintage linen!