This week as part of the Free Motion Project quilt along, I outlined all of the elements of my little traffic cone wholecloth with thread. I used white thread to contrast with the orange background.
The problem, of course, is that in order to keep things from wrinkling, you have to start in the middle. This means that your worst sewing is going to end up being in the focus area of the quilt. By the time you've made your way out to the edges, you're in the groove and much more familiar with the shapes, so those less important areas come out looking better.
This is how my middle design came out on the first pass:
They were recognizable as traffic cones, which is pretty good, but they looked pretty chewed up. Most of the problem areas are where I stopped and started the machine to readjust the fabric. I didn't want the focus point of the design to look so uneven, so I traced around the cones a second time to fill in the bumps. (You'll have to ignore the white splotches on the fabric, those are starch and should disappear once I soak this in some water at the end.)
Just as I'd hoped, the extra thread outline evened out all of the cones, making them look far better. I had to resist the urge to trace around everything else too. Next week I'll be filling in all of the open space inside the centre and around the objects with stippling. This should make the design stand out and all of the uneven stitching less obvious.
I've been enjoying this project a lot. Here is what the full quilt looks like so far: