Monday, January 27, 2014

Quilting as a design layer

It is beautiful and in the 50s here I am outside enjoying the sun before the next cold blast arrives tomorrow.
  Here is how I approach the quilting process to hopefully get that added design layer.

      My third design layer is the quilting.   This turns a flimsy into a quilt and can change the whole appearance of a top.  Like adding decorative icing on a plain cake, and suddenly it becomes a wedding cake.  A lot of quilting, a little quilting, or absolutely hyper-type quilting......I love it all and think there's a place for it to be used.
   For a wall quilt, or a show quilt, I love to see lots and lots of thread used----what I call hyper-type quilting.  But if I want to cuddle up under a quilt, I want it flexible, not flat and stiff as a board. If it is a special gift to someone, I want to "show off" a little and make sure there is some fancy quilting stitches that they can enjoy.
   I will ponder a while and ask myself a few questions before I put the quilt under the needle....usually.
  •   Who is the quilt for...and how will it be used?
  •   What part of the design do I want to stand out?
  •   Do I have large areas that are open/plain and need to be filled?
  •   Is it a busy pattern with lots of prints that will hide the stitching?
   Busy patterns and lots of prints are the easiest to decide on.....they will hide a lot of your stitching, so do the easy thing.  For me, that is large stippling.  I use the large stipple on watercolor quilts, and chose it for Walking in Sunshine, which was the Easy Street mystery from Bonnie Hunter.  There was just so much going on in this quilt, I wanted to blend it together and not try to accent anything.  A second choice could easily be a pantograph --repeated-- pattern that runs across the quilt from edge to edge.  Or straight lines on the diagonal would be a third option.    All three options serve to finish the top and not put the focus on any one part.

 Applique quilts usually provide a great opportunity to let the quilting stand out.  There are open areas/background space that are crying for some thread. 

  Red Hots is from last year and I was learning to do feathers as you can see here.  I wanted the hearts to really pop, and it was a wall quilt (not for cuddling), so the background was quilted heavily.  By heavily quilting the background, the appliques stand out. 

  The trees in this quilt are pieced with just a few birds appliqued on, but there is a lot of background space.  I filled it all in with swirls--large and small---in an attempt to push that background back.
And the benefit was a great texture for all that white area....the swirling lines look like blowing snow.

Deb's quilt at A Simple Life Quilts

   Straight lines.....often overlooked but so effective in the right place.  I thought Deb used the straight lines here to get very striking results.  The pattern is a simple sashed pinwheel block.  Yet with the quilting accentuating the diagonals, I see  a secondary pattern of the white sashing strips.

  I  did ask permission to show this one from Deb at A Simple Life Quilts.  Be sure to see the rest of her work.   Thanks, Deb, for sharing.

  I ran across a couple other quilts that really take that third layer of quilting over the top.  One is at Nifty Stitcher---click here to see.  Rhianon is a fabulous quilter....she knows how to push the limit and go beyond the boundaries.  Her latest quilt of floral hearts is a simple design of sashed blocks that is very heavily quilted.  She pushed the backgrounds down with quilting to bring the appliques forward, the sashing is full of feathers, and I even see some straight lines.  Don't miss this one!

  A second one I discovered at Tamarack Shack.  She long arm quilted a customer quilt with a mix of patterns to blend and bring out the texture.  
  I added all three of these quilts to Pinerest under Free Motion Quilting.

     I am a minimalist piecer.......I like the piecing to be quick and easy because I want to get to the quilting stage.  I love the texture the quilting gives my quilts.  I enjoy the added element of the quilting pattern.
    If you prefer more difficult/ prolonged piecing and less quilting.....applause from me.  Hopefully, you will still glean some information from all of this anyway.   There are no rules, but some principles still apply.   We are all quilters and I think there is room in the world for all of us, no matter where we fall.  And the best part.....a finished quilt!  Happy stitching. 


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Wonderfully written with great samples for the eye.

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing this information. I will be referring back to it.

Janet O. said...

Really good quilting advice, Deb! Has made me think twice about some quilting I was planning.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Great post! It helped me to see why some quilts are easier to choose the quilting for than others.

Sheila said...

Oh my. Beautiful quilts! Thanks for the quilting tips. Your Easy Street is beautiful. I quilted mine with a loose meander.

Dana Gaffney said...

Perfect advice and I'm so glad you included stippling, I just finished two quilts that way and had forgotten how wonderful it is.

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

Ah, I remember that Red Hots from last year and I'm still loving it! Yes, Rhiannon's quilting amazes me!!! She is so talented! We're freezing here....but sadly, no snow like a lot of the country. We need moisture. Enjoy your warmer temps!

Béa said...

Very interesting, many thanks Debbie XXX

liniecat said...

Really wonderful how your quilting really does look like snow drifting across those trees!
And am in awe of Rhiannons quilting........WoW thanks for those links, am following them now too lol

Lynne said...

Another great, helpful post which I have saved for future reference!

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