Sunday, January 22, 2012

“Purple Pansy” finished

Purple Pansy (7-5/8" x 9-3/4") by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Yesterday, I finished “Purple Pansy.” It is a small wholecloth painted piece. I finished it by first doing a pillowcase turn with the batting inside, and then quilting it. I used only three thread colors, a pinkish-purple on the petals, a gray on top of the yellow area at the flower center, and a green on the leaves. 

The advantages of finishing using a pillowcase turn are that it is very fast and easy, and that the piece looks more like art than like a quilt. The primary disadvantage is that it sometimes leaves slightly distorted edges that can’t be corrected the way you can do when you bind or face a piece. This distortion occurs when the quilting is heavier in some areas than others, causing the piece to draw up in some places. You can see that the finished piece is not completely squared up. On small pieces, I think this can be rather charming; I don’t obsess about it too much. But if you are more of a perfectionist, this technique is probably not for you!

If you are interested in learning how to finish a piece with a pillowcase turn, I have a free tutorial (a downloadable PDF) on my website here

Here is a detail shot showing some of the quilting stitches:


  1. Don't you ever sleep? Marvellous!!

  2. I saw your feathers on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine. They are somewhere beyond incredible! I wondered, when quilting, do you lower your feed dogs and do free motion quilting? Or do you use some other method of quilting?

  3. Hi, Jean,
    I see that you are a new blog follower; thanks! Yes, what I do is free-motion stitching (both what I call thread sketching – which is on the surface of the quilt, before I add batting and backing and do the quilting – and quilting). I drop my feed dogs and use a free-motion or darning foot (the ones with the big open circle). So my hands are controlling where the lines of stitch go.

    My piece on the cover of the current issue of Quilting Arts was painted on white fabric, and then free-motion quilted using only black and white thread.

  4. That is gorgeous! The thread work gives it such depth. Congrats on such a beautiful piece!

  5. This is beautiful!! I love your stitching.

  6. You have inspired me! We lost my beloved magnolia tree in the Halloween snow storm. Fortunately, I have some great pictures of the flowers and I hope to create a small quilt to commemorate the magnolia. This way it will always be in bloom. Thanks!

  7. This is awesome, and you really get the mileage out of only three colors of thread! You have inspired me to try applying a pillowcase backing before quilting. I have been using a 2-3" wide facing method after quilting, but think the pc backing would lie flatter. Martha Ginn

  8. Your pansy is beautiful...Thank you for sharing your inspiring art.


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