Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cardiac DNA Completed

In a previous post, I described making a small top using 3/4 inch hexagons to represent DNA. The DNA part was prepped and hand sewn together while looking after my brother during his heart surgery and short convalescence last summer. I appliqued the hand pieced part onto a background and then layered and quilted. The quilting in the background was designed using a big piece of tracing paper and transferred to the top using Transdoodle chalk paper.

Now I have finished the quilting.

Front of Cardiac DNA (21" X 21")
Back of Cardiac DNA. Back is pieced out of pieces of Marcia Derse fabrics
Back is pieced out of  Marcia Derse fabrics I've been collecting. I used Magnifico Thread from Superior, and experimented with using two colors to see how it would change the gray and add to the image. I was going for the impression of layers and I'm not sure that worked very well, but the quilting definitely has a lot of visual texture.

After auditioning a bunch of binding choices I ended up with the same stripe that I used for the 'nucleotides'. Note that the stripe is actually a zigzag, so to get things going around in the same direction, I had to cut strips of the 'zigs' and skip the 'zags'. Double fold binding was sewn on entirely by machine.

The method is as follows: I decide on the seam allowance using a test 'sandwich' to ensure that the fold comes the right distance to the back to cover the first stitching. Then I sew the binding to the front, mitering in the usual way. Then I stitch over the raw edge with an overcast stitch (straight stitch about 1/4 inch from edge + zigzag just over the edge). This firms up the edge and makes it really easy to pull the binding to the back and glue baste, just covering the stitching line. THEN, on the front, I use a really narrow zigzag to couch a coordinating #5 perle cotton thread down, in the ditch next to the binding. I use a regular, open toe foot -- no special foot required. This catches the binding in the back (see photo above and below to see how even this turns out) and secures everything, AND it adds a line of definition, setting off the binding.
Upper left front corner, showing couched thread
Lower right back, showing thin zigzag line and label
I love how this turned out, and after admiring it a bit on my design wall, I will be sending it off to my brother for a birthday present.

I enjoyed this so much, I have a new one in the works -- more complex, with a hint of DNA replication.

Thanks for looking in,


PS -- I'm entered in Amy Blogger's Quilt Festival for home machine quilted designs.


  1. Wow.... so beautiful! Can't wait to see the next one. I love how you meshed your creativity with life events... what a precious gift!

  2. So cool! I'm sorry for the circumstances that brought the creation of this on, but it is an awesome design. Keep up the great work! ~Lisa

  3. Awesome quilt! I love seeing science as the inspiration for quilt design.

  4. This is awesome! As a scientist myself (I studied Chemistry), I love to see projects that combine science and quilting, even if I haven't managed to make such a project myself yet. :) Really glad to read that your brother's surgery went well, too.

  5. What a great idea for a beautiful quilt! As a genetic biologist I just love your design, wonderful fabrics and GREAT quilting!!!! :)
    Greetings from Poland

  6. Brilliant hexie DNA and beautiful quilting.

  7. Such a neat use of hexagons! Wonderful quilting too.

  8. This is great! I love your quilting, and what a clever way to represent DNA! Great job.

  9. Your work is so original and unique! You are an artist!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

    1. What a wonderful compliment -- especially coming from you.