Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spiderweb Tutorial

Spiderwebs are an absolute necessity to embroidery on a crazy quilt. They are tied to generations of traditional belief that quilt maker and the quilt recipient will have good luck when a spiderweb is stitched into the quilt. Whether or not, that is true....or even if it is believed...it is still an expected embroidery motif in crazy quilting; therefore, it is worth learning.

Regardless of which famed author of crazy quilt motifs you like to read...each will have at least one spider web in their arsenal of motif designs. Search on the web and you will find countless examples. So, here is my most favorite way to stitch a web. It is easy to do, and no pattern is needed. Try it and see if you like the technique...and feel free to adapt the general idea to your own style of stitching.

This style of web will work on any size or shape of fabric patch.





So, we shall start with a patch that has lot's of sides and seams connecting to it.







The first step is to envision where you want the center of the web to be. I normally do not make that point in the "center" of the patch, as most webs I have spent the time to observe are not perfectly circular with a center core.


Once, you decide on a point...place a small pencil dot there as a reference point. All of your "spokes" will radiate from this point. Actually, you will stitch from the outside to this point...ending all of your stitches with a "needle down" into this point.

Thread your needle and needle up along one of the seams of this patch...anywhere is fine. My preference it to begin along a straight seam, and not at a corner. Needle up at this start point and needle down at the center point (the pencil dot).


Repeat this process as you progress around the patch.

Make the "pie wedges" different widths. Try to not start a "spoke" at a corner point.

Remember to needle up at the outside edge of the web spoke, and always needle down in the center. This will make a more even center core.

Because spider webs are naturally "anchored" to something...they don't just "appear in the sky" kind of thing...always start your spokes at a seam or at an object. These photos anchor the web only at the patch seams...but you are not limited to do just that.

For example, if you have a silk ribbon motif, or button cluster, or an embroidery tree...if is perfectly acceptable to stitch over a patch seam to "anchor" the web to that object; rather than keep the web contained by the patch shape itself. Once the spider web spokes are stitched, anchor off at the back of your work. The spokes will be couched down when the "rings" are stitched, so don't worry that they are long single stitches at this point.



Thread your needle, and needleup along the side of one of the spokes...near the center of the spokes. Take your thread over to the adjacent spoke and needle down on the opposite side of that spoke. Needle up on the near side of the spoke...repeat this until you have work around the web. It is not necessary to make concentric rings on the web...like ripples on a pond when a rock is thrown in. A web can have broken rings, spiral rings, concentric rings, the sky is the limit.

If you need inspiration, just search for spider web and check out all the types created in nature.






Continue to work rings until the web is complete. When you can no longer make a complete "ring" around the web, start to do just partial rings.
 

The key (in my humble opinion) to a good web is that it should not be too uniform in shape. The spokes and the rings should be different distances apart. The less uniform the design, the better I like it!

Next, we'll look at making a realistic spider to place in our web. An easy one of course!...so I'll be back with that tutorial when it is completed.

Here are some webs I have stitched...and you can certainly tell they are not all alike. LOL!


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