Thursday, August 02, 2012

Quilting Makes the Quilt

This is the title of one of the most influential books I used early in my quilting history.  It's by Lee Cleland, and if you haven't seen it, you should.  It will transform you.  One quilt pattern was replicated and quilted differently by 4 or 5 different people.  It is surprising and wonderful!

So when I design a quilt, the design of the quilting lines plays a prominent role. It's another layer of design that can truly enhance your quilt or merely hold it together.  I am often stumped at this point and will take a number of ideas to try out, and draw on a photo, or put tracing paper on the quilt and try out some different designs.

For example, see the blocks below.   Each of the blocks is a different color but essentially it is one design theme.  How to quilt them?
How would you quilt it?  What color of thread would you use? Would you quilt it in curves?  around the circles?  Straight lines?  stipple?  The fabric is so bright that you might ask if the quilting pattern will even show enough to make a difference....

That's when I decided to experiment using a different quilting pattern with each block, and a different set of threads.  (Don't forget to click on the pictures if you want a closer view.)  I don't mind changing thread colors, and I don't mind quilting patterns that have a lot of stops and starts, which is probably a good thing because it allows me to be freer in my design decisions.  If you were drawing a picture with a box of crayons, would you limit yourself to only one color, and picking up and putting down your crayon only once?? Not a perfect analogy because crayons are much easier to change than thread, but you get the idea.




I had a great time with this project because it never became repetitive and boring.  It was a fun challenge to do the over 70 blocks each with a different design.  And because I used black fabric on the back, you can really see the quilting designs and color choices.  And on the front, regardless of the quilting design, or thread color, it still makes a much more subtle look to the work than you might have anticipated, especially from a distance.  But step up close...and WOW!  It adds a new dimension that is fabulous and engaging!






I hope that if you are still stippling or stitching in the ditch with matching thread, you will be inspired to try something new!

13 comments:

Jane said...
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Jane said...

Fantastic, I love the colours and the different quilting designs, as always inspirational!

Deb said...

I love the designs on each block as they really make the blocks and the quilt stand out. It's very inspiring. I do have a copy of Lee Cleland's book and also think it's great. Thanks for sharing.

Pam Geisel - For Quilts Sake said...

I do tend to sticth-in-the-ditch and hide my quilting but this post just might be what I needed to inspire me to work outside of my comfort zone.

kathy york said...

I started quilting with stitch in the ditch too, with matching thread. And there may be some projects where that is a good choice. However, there are also many, many alternatives. Best advice, start small, try something new, and expect to be surprised!

Terri Stegmiller said...

This looks so fun! It's sometimes hard for me to come up with quilting designs, I'm in awe that you were able to for this many blocks. The back looks as good as the front.

Vivien Zepf said...

I think this was a fantastic way to quilt this and totally in keeping with the spirit of the piece. But how in the world did you think of 70 different designs? Kudos to you!!!

kathy york said...

Thanks Vivien! I didn't think of that many to start with, just a few. As I worked, I thought of a few more. It was a process. The quilt is about suburbs, and how all the houses can look the same. I wanted to carve out the individuality of each house with different colors and different patterns. So, it was really more than an experiment in quilting, it was part of what the quilt meant to me.

Frieda Anderson said...

That was really fun, thanks for sharing that.

emprint said...

I love it. I'm afraid that I fall into the slot of quilting just to hold the layers together. You've inspired me to try to be more inventive. Thanks.

Gina Sismilich said...

What a beautiful piece - love the colors and design - unexpectected is the word that comes to mind.

Judy Rys said...

Great job! I tend to spend too much time worrying about whether I'm choosing the right quilting design, but I should just loosen up. When a deadline is looming, I just go for it, and end up loving the results.

kathy york said...

Judy,
I usually try out designs on tracing paper first and lay them on top of the quilt. Or sometimes I make small samples to get an idea. But, like you, once I start, it usually works out fine. The hard part is starting.