Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BATS! The Basics...

Fun Fact: I based my bat pattern off of my red dragon pattern!  The general shape of the dragon head comprises the body for the bat.
The basic components for a bat, not counting miscellaneous spines, eyes, feet, etc.:
The ear panels are assembled into cones and stitched to the forehead panel in the same way as in the red dragon's assembly (please see the red dragon tutorial for detailed instructions for both ear and wing construction).  Next, the two side panels, forehead, and belly panels are all stitched together, starting from the tip of the nose, to create a pouch.
Here, you can see the prototype pattern beside the prototype bat body (decorative spines have been sandwiched into the rear seam):
I then add a base panel and two wings.  These are exactly the same as the wings I use in my dragon pattern--two quilted layers of wing with a skeletal accent stitched into the inner side.
When all components are roughly assembled, the bat prototype looks like this:
For this prototype, I've sewn the wings together into one continuous piece (I've since decided that this is an unnecessary and complicating step, and no longer bother to do it, so feel free to skip doing this).
With the wings assembled, I now have three pieces: The body, the base, and the wings:
I lay the inside-out bat against the base panel, sandwiching the wings between the back seam (the one with the spines) and the top of the base panel, and stitch them together 3/4ths of the way around.  Then I sew the eyes onto the bat face.  With this prototype, I have also sewn two stuffed cones to the face, to create a beak.
Finally, I simply stuff the bat and stitch the final edge closed (You may review how to close your plushie using whip stitch and blind stitch here).
And there you have it!
That's how I made my first bat!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Next time, I'll show you how to make the "Microbat," which is much simpler, and I'll show you some more pictures of my completed bats.

See you then!

Monday, September 15, 2014

500 Days Blogging, 45 Posts!

Today is my 501st day blogging (and 46th post)!

I thought it would be fun to look at audience stats again.

In the blue table, you can see how the overall stats have changed.  The left column contains the audience data from the last time I recorded it, February 10th.  The right column shows yesterday's numbers:

February 10, 2014
September 14, 2014
Number of Posts: 14
Number of Posts: 45
Days Blogging: 284
Days Blogging: 500
Total Page Views : 843
Total Page Views : 2,089
Most Viewed Blog Post: "Anatomy of a Plushie" (May 8, 2013)
Most Viewed Blog Post: "Jane Austen Festival 2014: Part 1" (August 9, 2013)

The pink table shows which countries my readers are coming from:

TOTAL PAGEVIEWS (02/10/2014)
TOTAL PAGEVIEWS (09/14/2014)
United States
United States
South Korea
United Kingdom

It's really fun to see where all of you are based!  Hello! 
Hope it's cooler than 107 degrees Fahrenheit where you are...

Friday, September 12, 2014


Have you ever heard of “Stuffed Quilting,” “Corded Quilting,” or “White Work”?  When people describe this type of quilt-work, they are usually referring to the technique known as “Trapunto.”
Pronounced “trah-poon-toh,” the word “Trapunto” originates from the Latin and Italian word “trapungere.”  In Latin this word originates from “tra/trans” and “pungere,” and means “to prick through,” while in modern Italian, “trapungere” means “to embroider.”  “Trapunto” as a term was only adopted around 1920, but the technique of stuffing an image into quilting goes all the way back to Italy in the 1300’s.  This style of quilting can also be seen in many textiles from Tudor England (1485-1550A.D.), and from France in the 1600’s.

Trapunto employs a basic running quilting stitch to create a design or image in a solid piece of fabric.  Picture a dotted line of thread that sandwiches layers of fabric and quilt padding together.  By controlling the proximity of these stitched rows, you can control the relative thickness of your quilt.  For example, by grouping several rows of stitching together, the quilter compresses the quilt padding and creates a flat background.  Wider-spaced rows of stitching allow the middle layer of padding to expand, for a slightly fuller look. 
Featured designs or images are then given even more volume by adding stuffing or cord to the filler layer, in small, controlled pockets.  The result is a pillow-y image made up of tiny half-spheres and ridged lines.  This manipulation of volume with additional filler material is why Trapunto is often referred to as “stuffed quilting.”

Many fabrics have been used to create this classic quilted clothing and bedding effect, but Trapunto is traditionally known for using solid, white fabric.  The shadows on the bright, light-reflecting surface help the eye to see the intricate designs and relief-work of these amazing pieces.

My white work sample, which used quilt filler, stuffing, and cord, in its glorious, haphazard entirety:

In my next sample, I have drawn in the stitches on the front side, to make them easier for you to see.  In this example, additional fabric is only used to create the stuffing pockets that comprise the rabbit, rather than an entire backing:

A less traditional technique, also used with Trapunto, is to quilt a semi-sheer fabric like silk or rayon over a bright fabric or yarn.  By controlling where the color shows through, the quilter can create a striking 2-D image.

In the first example of this method, bright fabric is used as the backing.  Again, I've drawn over the stitches to help you see them.
The areas that are stuffed become white, creating a negative image of an eye:

In the second example of this kind, a sheer fabric is stitched to a bright backing.  Brightly-colored yarn is sewn between the layers, to create an accent design:
When you turn it over, the bright colors have become subtle.  The purple oval is lightly stuffed but distinct from the equally colorful red background.  In contrast, the purple triangle has been stitched between two semi-sheer, white layers (both on top of the red fabric), to make the red background even more subtle:
If you would like to see more traditional (and complex!) examples of Trapunto, many textile museums have samples and images of beautiful pieces that can be seen in person or online.
Below, I have placed the links for 3 lovely examples:
1.  Popular quilt images often included fruit and plants.  A great example of this can be seen in this flower-filled basket detail, from a quilt made by Orella Keeler in the early 1800's.  This quilt is in the collection of the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum. 
2.  Other stuffed-work quilters ambitiously decided to depict specific scenes  from life or literature.  the Russellville Fair Quilt, made by Virginia Ivy between 1856 and 1857, shows various people, animals, and buggies at a county fair, and is in the collection at the National Museum of American History (you can zoom in to examine various details).
3.  Two of the most famous examples of stuffed white work are also amongst the oldest preserved quilts.  The "Tristan and Isolde Quilts," also called the “Guicciardini Quilts,” are believed to have been made in Sicily sometime between 1360 and 1400, and depict a variety of images from the historically popular epic of “Tristan and Iseult.” 
These quilts are thought to have been part of  a group of three quilts originally.  One, called the “Tristan Quilt,” the “Tristan and Isolde Quilt,” or the ”Guicciardini Quilt,” is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.  The second quilt (the “Guicciardini Coverlet,” or “Usella Coverlet”), as well as a duplicate of the quilt in England, are on display at the Bargello Palace, Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, Italy.  The third quilt is believed to be in a private collection.  I could not find a link to the quilt at the Bargello, but I did find this interesting blog piece on the making of the duplicates Tristan quilts in Italy, which includes some helpful links.  For more information on the scenes and symbols in the quilts, you can view this helpful Wikipedia article.

As with any other technique, trapunto can be used for as simple or as complex a design as you wish, and can add a striking element to your piece.  Why not try incorporating a little stuffed work into your next project?

Monday, September 8, 2014

2000 Pageviews

It's been really fun to watch the ticker climb,
and to see what countries viewers are visiting from each week!