Today’s Topic: How Should I Quilt This?
Welcome to Week Twenty Four of The Better Machine Quilt-a-long based on my book 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
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Good Morning, Quilters!
If YOU’ve ever been stymied by the question, How should I quilt my quilt?–you are not alone!
Most of us struggle with this. Deciding which motifs, thread and batting to use to turn our quilt tops into quilted heirlooms is a challenge. In fact, many of us never make a decision, but instead move on to piecing a new quilt…
But fear not…we can do this!
As my mother always said, “When you don’t know where to begin, just begin!” Action is better than just thinking!
Photograph Your Quilt
I recommend you start by hanging your quilt vertically and taking photos of it. Use your phone to take photos of the entire quilt, then take close ups of each type of block and border.
Keep these photos on your phone where you can look at them frequently. This will allow your subconscious to do some of the quilt design for you.
Allover or Custom Quilting
Your first design decision is whether you want allover or custom quilting.
For Allover Quilting-you will choose one motif (maybe two) to quilt over the entire quilt top. The quilting just adds texture to the quilt. This method requires very little design time, however the quilting does not enhance the quilt top itself.
For Custom Quilting-you will choose a variety of motifs to quilt each section of the quilt with an attempt to enhance the quilt top with the quilting layer. Custom quilting adds texture and design to the quilt top. It requires a little more design time and may take slightly longer to quilt the motifs.
When to Choose Allover v. Custom Quilting
Think about who the quilt is for and how it will be used to determine Allover v. Custom Quilting.
For example, if you are making a dog blanket, allover quilting may be appropriate. On the other hand, if you are making an art quilt to hang over your dog’s bed, it might be worth the extra time to design custom quilting.
It all depends on your time and experience.
Whenever time allows, I prefer custom quilting to enhance the quilt top and add texture.
However, if it is not practical, there is nothing wrong with allover quilting.
Allover Quilting Design Tips
We will review custom quilting next week and concentrate on allover and general design tips this week.
The most important consideration for allover quilting is thread choice!
Have you ever seen a quilt where the meandering, stippling or other allover pattern was very obvious over a quilt top? The quilter probably used the wrong weight or color thread. When doing allover quilting, the goal is to create an almost invisible texture.
Choose a lightweight thread- (60, 80, 100wt) in a color that matches the quilt fabrics as much as possible. By doing so, the quilted line will blend into the quilt and be less noticeable. All you will notice is texture. (Read more about Thread Weights HERE)
Matching the background fabrics can be a challenge especially in high contrast quilts with a lot of white. Hint—white thread is rarely the answer! Look for a thread that is medium value and create samples! Don’t skip the sample phase of quilt design!
While many quilters default to meandering or stippling–this is not my favorite. Partly because I don’t like the wormlike shape (who likes worms except birds?) and partly because my brain finds it very difficult to motor plan and stitch.
There are many background fill motifs choices that are easier and prettier! More Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 includes a chapter on Backgrounds and Fills.
One of my favorite allover motif is Flower Power and variations. It’s easier to stitch than stippling and it’s prettier.
Quilt Design First Steps
Hang and photograph the quilt
Choose allover or custom quilting
Create thread samples
Audition motifs and practice doodling
More all week!
Looking forward to a busy quilt design week!
How are your applique quilts coming along?
Do YOU have a busy week ahead?
We’d LOVE to hear!
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 LKQ. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thank you!
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