Happy Halloween, Quilters!
Today, we will choose a quilting approach for our quilts.
Choosing an approach is the second step in our Quilting Roadmap and the first design decision you need to make.
(The first step on the quilting roadmap is to hang and photograph your quilt. (Read more in Just Begin Quilting HERE.)
Three Quilting Approaches
I find it helpful to divide quilting design into three categories:
- Basic Outlining
- Allover Quilting
- Custom Quilting
When you decide which approach to quilting you will take, it will focus some of the later decisions like batting, thread and motifs.
For the basic outlining approach, the quilter stitches in the ditch all of the major seam lines. Additional, simple lines may be added, including curved or straight outlines of the pieced blocks. Many quilters use walking foot or machine guided technique for outlining, though you can free motion quilt outlines.
The primary goal of the basic outlining approach is to adhere the three layers of the quilt together without adding new design elements.
Advantages: Requires minimal design. May be stitched with feed dogs engaged–therefore does not require free motion quilting skill.
Disadvantages-If stitched with feed dogs engaged, you will need to turn the quilt-within the harp space -frequently.
For the allover approach to quilting, the quilter chooses one motif and one thread to stitch over the entire quilt. Some quilters call this method “meandering” or “stippling” after the motif frequently employed in this approach. However, for our discussion, I prefer the design term “allover quilting” and reserve the terms “meandering and stippling” to mean the wiggly, worm motif.
The primary goal of allover quilting is to adhere the three layers of the quilt together while adding a subtle, patterned texture.
Advantages-Fastest method. Requires learning only one free motion quilting motif. Creates a textured quilt.
Disadvantages-Does not enhance the quilt top piecing or applique elements. Tends to flatten the look of the quilt design. Requires free motion technique. Thread choice can be challenging especially for quilts with high value contrast.
For the custom quilting approach, the quilt top is designed in sections. A section includes similar areas within the quilt, for example blocks, borders, sashing. Each section of the quilt requires a separate design plan including motifs and thread.
The primary goal of custom quilting is to adhere the three layers of the quilt together and to add design emphasis to enhance the quilt top.
Advantages-Enhances the quilt top design and allows you to create focal points as well as texture.
Disadvantages-Requires the most amount of time for design and for stitching.
Choosing the Best Approach
Each approach: basic outlining, allover and custom quilting, has merit and may be the best choice for your quilt.
When choosing an approach, think about who the quilt is for and how it will be used. For example, if you are making a baby quilt that will be used frequently, it may be best to keep the quilting simple and emphasize texture. On the other hand, if the quilt will be used as an art piece in the baby’s room, you might prefer the custom quilting approach.
Consider how much time you would like to spend designing and quilting. Basic outlining and overall quilting require less time than custom quilting.
Also think about your skill level. Custom quilting is not more difficult than the other approaches, but design time may be longer. Also, if you are not ready to try free motion quilting, basic outlining is the best option.
How Should I Quilt this Quilt Top?
For the next few weeks, I will share more of my roadmap for machine quilting. Many of the ideas are from my Bluprint class, Creating a Quilting Plan, Approaches for Any Quilt
One Million Jack-o-Lantern Fans
It’s been a real treat to see my Jack-o-Lantern video on BERNINA’s We All Sew has reached over 1 million fans on their website, Facebook and Instagram. Thank YOU for helping to make the series of machine quilting videos a huge success!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy Quilts and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to Lori Kennedy Quilts. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thanks!