Friday, 15 August 2014

How do I choose my quilting designs?

From time to time friends, students or customers ask me for quilting suggestions for their quilts.

When I am deciding how I want to quilt my quilts I take the following into consideration:

Who is the quilt for?  Male/Female, Adult, Child, Friend, Business Colleague or maybe for a family member or event.  Quilting design needs to be age or event appropriate.

Is the piecing the feature of the quilt or will the quilting be the feature? 
If the piecing is the feature you do not want to cover the quilt with a busy quilting design only to have it completely disappear. Something simple maybe more appropriate.
If the quilting is the feature like modern quilts or quilts that have lots of blank space/areas, then you need to consider the design pattern.

Does the quilt top contain lots of bulky seams?  You don't want to bring attention to these lumps.

To get inspiration I quite often take photos of patterns I see around me.  I was fortunately to have a short holiday with a friend last week in Rarotaunga.   The first two pictures are rocks on the beach made from coral.  If you scroll your mouse to enlarge the images you can see the patterns.  These can be replicated very easily as quilting patterns.

Scroll onto the leaves and note the different line widths.
Leah Day ( has fantastic "filler" pattern ideas.  The majority of her designs are small therefore are great for filling in gaps.  These of course can be enlarged to all over quilt patterns.  I have a couple of her books.  You can buy these in media form.  Very worthwhile investment.

If your design is small then use pen and paper to practise before you commence quilting.  This does help get you into the "rhythm" of your design.

Play around with lines.

Diagonal and wiggly lines
directional lines

Close up of Lee Ann Newton's quilt called "The comfort of Stitch"
look how she has incorporated small patterns to help enhance features
within this quilt

Freemotion scribble with various coloured grey thread and
directional red quilting to enhance the flower petal shapes

quilting on the fabric lines to enhance them.
You can scroll into these photographs to see the quilting detail.

The colour of your quilting thread is also important.  If you are using a solid colour as apposed to variegated, always lay a piece of your selected thread on top of your quilt.  Thread always looks darker on the roll. 

And finally - make sure if you are machine quilting that you have inserted a new needle. Remember - the average needle lasts for 8 hours sewing time before becoming blunt. Nothing more disappointing than a blunt needle pulling a thread causing a run in your quilt top or snapping your thread. 

I also use photographs to inspire quilt colour ways. For example, when I visited Helen Marshall's ( home last year I picked up these leaves (below) from her driveway.  These leaves became my colour palate for my quilt Autumn Blaze

I hope this has been of some help.  Happy quilting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love to read your comment. Dont' be shy, please write me a few words. Shirls