Friday, February 18, 2011

"Alliances: Soil and Sky"....Carrots

I bought a special bobbin case for my Pfaff way last November, wanting to try out bobbin work (putting a thick thread in the bobbin and sewing with the back of the fabric facing up. This means the bobbin thread lays on the top when you turn it over.) Here is a nice article from Threads about it.

Well, I finally got around to trying it out, and it worked just great for my purpose--which was to create some carrot tops for those vintage millinery carrots going on to my Soil and Sky quilt for the Alliance for American Quilts.

Here is how it all went!

You have to wind the bobbin by hand, which doesn't take long because the thread is bulky. This is chenille from a weaving store up in Seattle.

I am using a water soluble stabilizer, which has my carrot tops sketched on it. I put it in the machine embroidery hoop you see on the left.

With the bobbin quite loose and the top medium tight, I used a 3.5 straight stitch with a #80 quilting needle and some variegated quilting thread on top. It went quite well.

Once the chenille was all sewn on, I flipped over the stabilizer so I could sew the next layer of thread from the top. I swapped back to my normal bobbin case too.

This is silk thread by Guterman on top with a fine cotton embroidery thread on the bottom. I did have to loosen up the top tension, and I changed my stitch to a 2.0 zig zag. This will give some structural integrity to my little carrot tops when they have their bath.

Which is the step after this one, where I have cut away as much of the stabilizer as possible before dunking my little tops in some warm water and swishing them around.
When they come out of the bath, there is no more stabilizer!

Here the tops are being glued to the wire coming out the top of each carrot. When it comes time to sew them on, I will just hand-whip stitch those feathery leaves onto the background, about halfway up their length. I want to leave the tips free.

But first some some embroidery needs to go on here before attaching the carrots, as they would get in the way of my stitching.
They were fun to make though, and I can't wait to plant them!


Susan Elliott said...

Looks good Allie.. Reminds me of one of my favorite kids' books...Tops and Janet Stevens...

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Brilliant idea and perfect carrot tops! (btw - your book came today and I'm so excited to sit down and spend some quality time reading it cover to cover!!!)

Vicki W said...

Perfect carrots!

Conni said...

Brilliant idea for the carrot tops! They look terrific!

Sandra said...

That really worked well! Nice technique.
I got a notice that my very own Allison Aller book has been shipped and will be in my hot little hands soon!

Summerset said...

What fun! They look great and will certainly have the feathery texture of a carrot top.

Rian said...

Hey, that's pretty cool. Isn't it fun to do something new and different.

Barbara C said...

Perfect carrot tops! Your piece reminds me of the colorful labels on produce packing boxes.

Arlene Delloro said...

I tried some bobbin work this past summer for a CQ BOM that was done by machine. I didn't use chenille, but love the way yours looks. BTW, I received your book on Thursday and devoured it over the weekend. It is FABULOUS!!! I had preordered it a few months back. I so wish I could go to the November retreat, but my step-daughter is getting married then.

Elizabeth said...

What a great tutorial Allie!!! I ahve been very curious aobut this whole bobbin with big thread technique- so thanks for the info and the link. my brother works in africa teaching methods for sustainable agriculture and one of his favorite asaying si "Be the Carrot" as carrots reach down into the soil and help to loosen up packed unworkable soil. Actually he and his Peac Corps peeps teach how to break up and make unusable soil plantable and very productive hence the phrase. I just did a blog post about all of his work, you migh be interested.


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