18 February 2018

Neatening the quilt back

My plan for "the footballers" was to darn in the threads - a nice quiet occupation, with a definite end to it and pristine, if painstaking, results.

It's time to think again about this! Yesterday I quickly put together another sample, 8" square. The lines of quilting perforce are interrupted when they come to a figure -
About half the threads are yet to be cut and pulled through to the back.  I worked on the darning-in for about two hours, with this result -  
You can just about see that there are a lot of threads that have been pulled through, but not yet darned in during that session. It is Very Slow Work, and Very Frustrating.

Plan B involves cutting and gluing the threads. Three possible adhesives are on hand -
The white paint looks sloppy; the Fray-Check hurts my eyes; the Gel Medium ("an excellent glue for collage", as it says on the label) seems to work well. It's best if the threads are tied, which can also be a frustratingly fiddly thing to achieve... 1. locate both ends; 2. tie once so the ends lie flat; 3. apply a tiny dot of medium with a paintbrush; 4. cut the ends short; 5. leave undisturbed till dry.

It still takes time, but only a fraction of the time for darning in. The work of about 15 minutes produced about half as many thread-ends as yesterday's two-hour session -
The quilt will be 15 times the area of the sample. It will take quite a while to neaten the back! 

Why not fuse on a false back, you may wonder - well, I just don't want to do that... nor do I want to leave the ends dangling. Thinking this through, I find a nice tension between the "traditions" of what the quilt depicts and the methods and materials used to make it. Quilting is So Not Football. It's miles away from "sport". And yet -- both need precision.

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