Thursday, 11 February 2016

Utility Stitching aka Big Stitch.

I was introduced to Utility Stitching by my friend Ethel Snow.  She taught me to use Perle 8 cotton and a large Tapestry needle to do the stitching.  In 2000 I had surgery on my ankle and was non weight bearing for 12 weeks, so I line up various projects such as English Paper Piecing, needlework and Utility Quilting this friendship block exchange quilt.  5 friends got together and we each made the equivalent of on 12 inch block, which could be subdivided or whole and four 4 inch blocks.  Settings were determined by the maker.  I made several extra blocks and decided to do no sashing on mine.  I've seen a bit of a discussion of this style of quilting on a couple of blogs and my Instagram feed so I thought I'd share my process.
 Shona personalized a scarecrow block for each of us.  I used a variegated yellow Perle cotton and made a continuous circle design that was not marked on the sun.
 Here is a bit closer look at the block.  I would often load 2-4 stitches on my needle.  Pretty even wouldn't you say?  A bit wonky, but it is Utility Stitching not Blue Ribbon quality.
 I drafted this block from a picture I saw on a magazine of a crow with three sunflowers and a larger scale.  I tried to match threads to whatever I was stitching.
 I used a flannel for backing and you can see the crow stitched in black with the ecru thread for the background.
 This gourd was my design and I stitched it similar to the sun.
 A closer look.
 And the back.
 For the four inch blocks I didn't always quilt them as heavily.  The moon was part of my fractured 12 inch block.
 For the 12 inch block I made one turkey...
 Two corn blocks that I designed, notice the silk tassels made with ecru Perle cotton and the crescent moon.
 One of Debbie's four patches with a star, this was free hand, no marking.
 I used a stencil for the acorns and then filled them in a bit.
 One of Tricia's trees.
 For the border I used a large oak leaf and acorn stencil.  I used corn starch to make that marks that just brushed away later.
What do you call it?  Utility Stitching or Big stitch?


paulette said...

OMGosh...your quilting makes this quilt sing!! Wonderful job!!!

WoolenSails said...

I really love how the stitching looks on your quilt, really gives it a nice look.


Heartsdesire said...

I would call it big stitch, and I also took a course with Ethel at the Cloth Shop many years ago. I've not done much of the stitching, I never seem to get any quilts to the point of stitching them. I mostly send them out to be quilted. After seeing your wonderful stitching, I'm inspired to try it again as I have many mini quilts to finish and this would be good way to get them done.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I love big stitch quilting and the texture it creates! Fun quilt!

Susan said...

I've never called it anything in particular. Folk art quilting maybe. I really like yours and would love to see the ones the other ladies made, too.

Sheila said...

Wow that is a lot of quilting , very dense quilting and looks wonderful , adds such texture . I do call it big stitch but your stitchest are not what I would call big . Great job on a very creative piece .

Rachaeldaisy said...

I hadn't heard it called utility stitching before but I like that phrase. Big Stiching is good because it tells people that it's meant to be big. It's lovely to see this beautiful quilt with its wonderful blocks and quilting.