Today’s article on Choosing a Quilt Design comes to you from our guest, Carolyn Wainscott from Carolyn’s Canvas. Enjoy her tips and her lovely photos of the vintage quilt tops she quilted! You can also find more quilting designs in the Patterns for Quilting section of FaveQuilts.com.
Choosing a Quilt Design
That quilt top you spent so much time, effort and love on is done. The colors and fabrics had to match the design just so. With so much invested in the top, finishing the quilt deserves just as much thought and care. Or maybe you have found a wonderful quilt top in the trunk in the attic that needs to be finished. No haphazard quilting and binding here, please!
Eight vintage, or almost vintage, quilt tops were brought to me recently to be finished with machine quilting and binding. Each had been hand-pieced by the same quilter. Some fabrics ran through several of the tops. You lovers of old quilts would appreciate them, as I did.
It almost seemed like sacrilege to defile them with so vile a contraption as my longarm quilter, so to ease my conscience, each was quilted to enhance the quilter’s work (let’s call the quilter Sarah). I could have stitched back and forth using one of the templates supplied with the machine and gotten done fairly quickly, but that would not have done justice to Sarah’s fine, hand-pieced work.
Before one of the tops could be quilted, a couple of blocks had to be reinforced with lightweight fusible interfacing because some of the fabrics were quite fragile. The interfacing was cut in squares the same size as the top’s blocks and fused onto the back, and it was ready to go. If I had begun quilting before this was done, the fabric would have been shredded. Now, you can’t tell the difference between the treated blocks and the rest of the quilt.
A couple of Sarah’s quilts were quilted with allover patterns because the designs are so busy.
This is Sarah’s charm quilt. I think it has over 800 patches, all hand-stitched, mind you!
This is Sarah’s combination 16-patch/9-patch variation. The quilting on this one is near invisible also on the top. Look at her inventive way of sizing up the 9-patch block to match the 16-patch with an additional ring of small blocks:
This is Sarah’s sawtooth double wedding ring. Yes, each of those triangles is hand-pieced!
The muslin space between the rings allows some show-off quilting that enhances the quilt pattern.
I didn’t realize Sarah’s 9-patch quilt was an Irish chain quilt until I had it laid out to take this photo. The second photo was taken while it was on the longarm. See how those plain blocks can add so much to the flavor of the quilt?
Here is a simple 5” block quilt with a free-motion, allover star pattern in each block.
This is Sarah’s grandmother’s flower garden rendition with simple outline quilting to pump up the hexagons.
And my absolute favorite of all Sarah’s quilts is her version of a ocean wave block. Yep, it is all hand-stitched, and her color selection is as modern as you can get with her mix of oranges, reds and bright pinks blended with lots of other prints. To bring out her individual triangles, a cross-hatch quilting pattern was used.
Because Sarah’s quilts were very traditional, I chose to stay with the more tried and true quilting of the time they were made.
Some quilters may decide on the quilting pattern from the very beginning of their quilt or, like a lot of us quilters, let the quilt decide how it wants to be finished. Whether you hand quilt or machine quilt, there are beautiful quilting patterns available if you don’t design your own.
For a wonderful variety of machine quilting patterns, take a look at Leah Day’s site: Day Style Designs.
Happy quilting! I hope you enjoy quilting as much as I do. Please come by and visit me at carolynscanvas.blogspot.com.
What’s your best tip for choosing a quilting design?