Stippling is confusing to some quilters, beginners, and experienced quilters alike!. It is a beautiful technique for finishing a quilt and is worth at least experimenting with if you have never tried it.
Stippling is an intricate maze of machine stitching that really dresses up a quilt. It is one technique of free motion quilting. Another way to describe stippling is that it looks like a jigsaw puzzle. The lines never cross each other.
To begin your experiment in stippling, practice with echo stitching. To create an echo effect, sew a small wavy line, then stitch up about one-quarter of an inch and follow (or echo) the line below. The echo stitch never stops—the line of stitches is continuous which is an important skill to develop before you give stippling a try.
Stippling is an echo technique that goes beyond a simple wavy line of stitches. Imagine a jigsaw puzzle piece. Beginning from left to right, stitch a pattern similar to a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Stitch away from it, adding another jigsaw outline.
Finally, end your first area of quilting with one last jigsaw-like piece. Without stopping your sewing, move up to the next line and echo the first lines, this time moving from right to left. Instead of simply stitching echo lines over and over again, raise the design up when you reach the ends and then stitch down near the previous line.
These are good areas in which to add another jigsaw-like piece and incorporate it into your echoing as the lines grow away from you on your quilt.
Technically, stippling lines are not supposed to intersect on a quilt. If the quilt is for a gift or private use, and your stippled lines cross, there is no harm done. However, crossed lines in a stippling project will count against your skills in a quilting show.
Another aspect important to stipple quilting is the consistency of the space between each repeated line. This will also take some practice. Once you have developed the skill, however, you will see what a beautiful result the technique presents!
Stippling looks easy, but until you get accustomed to machine quilting, you will not have professional quality results. Practice makes perfect!
Once you get familiar with feeding the fabric at a consistent speed and are sewing lines at a consistent width, stippling will truly seem very easy.
Remember, when machine quilting, the speed at which you feed the fabric determines the size and length of your stitches. Consistent stitches are an important aspect of any quilting and are vital to good stippling.
Once you are ready to incorporate stippling into your quilting projects, you may choose to stipple an entire quilt or to use stippling as a filler.
For instance, if you quilt in the ditch (around the items of your quilt block) but want to add some sort of filler in the unquilted “blank” spaces, stippling is a great form of quilting to add to the project.
Stippling is not to be confused with another quilting technique known as meandering. Meandering is like taking a random, leisurely walk. One area of your quilt may be quilted with circles, another with stars, another with swirls, etc.
Remember, if you are quilting for your own enjoyment, whether your lines cross or not is not too important. However, if you do plan to enter your work in shows, pay special attention to the width of your stitches and the space between your quilted lines.
With just a little stippling practice, you will soon achieve very nice results in your quilt projects!
This article courtesy of http://www.How-to-Quilt.com.
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