“How should I quilt it?” and a Giveaway

It’s the million dollar question for quilters, isn’t it?

“How should I quilt it?”

Being unable to answer this question has left many a project folded neatly away after the piecing was complete. But it doesn’t have to be so. There are lots of resources for quilting ideas. You just need to know where to look. Try these:

#1: Past issues of Quiltmaker—every issue has quilting motifs you can adapt to your design, like this one.

loopy7 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

Here’s more of a birds-eye view.

loopy100 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

#2: This website: 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs You are going to love this place! A few of her amazing patterns:

3651 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

Flowing Glass (used with permission)

3652 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

Tree Roots (used with permission)

3653 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

Beaded Curtain (used with permission)

#3: The Electric Quilt Company’s Quilting Motifs series of CDs (they don’t require EQ) feature hundreds of Quiltmaker motifs in digital format. So easy to use!

ELEQUILT0812 How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

Here’s the little piece I want to quilt next.

whirligig How should I quilt it? and a Giveaway

I have already anchored it by quilting the border in the ditch.

Now what? At this point I ask myself a couple of questions:

• Do I want to emphasize the piecing or de-emphasize it? Quilting each block will emphasize it. Quilting an all-over design will de-emphasize it.

• What kinds of shapes are in the piecing? Do I want to add similar shapes with quilting or do I want contrasting lines/shapes?

• What’s the scale (size) of the piecing? What will the scale of the quilting be?

• Am I going to mark the quilting or will it be quilted freeform without marking?

• Is thread color going to matter? If so, what color will it be?

• How much time do I want to spend on this quilt?

In this case, I want to de-emphasize the piecing with medium-scale quilting, so an all-over design is in order. The piecing is angular, so I want the quilting to add softer lines. Thread color won’t matter. I prefer not to mark it and I want to spend only a few hours on the quilting (it’s 22 x 25 inches).

What would you suggest? Leave a comment with your ideas and I’ll give away a sampler of thread to a randomly drawn winner on Friday, Sept 17. Then I’ll decide how to quilt it and show you the results in an upcoming post.

The winner of the thread sampler is Zarina, comment #6. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and for all the great ideas! I hope to get started on it very soon.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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24 Responses to “How should I quilt it?” and a Giveaway

  1. irene says:

    I want to know what machine you are using to be able to stitch sideways

  2. barbara hall says:

    I always fall back on stitching on the diagonal, but for this quilt I probably would meander. I love quilting my quilt tops and would love to have a long arm (who wouldn’t?). I would especially love to do feathers. I plan to learn that next.

  3. Deborah says:

    I noticed a flower in the second row that I would take apart and use the petal as a pattern in each square on the diagonal. The center square could be the whole flower. I get my inspiration from the patterns in the material. I have been practicing doing this method only for a year but it really helps me. (|)

  4. Shirley Marvin says:

    I agree with Pam. But if that isn’t what you want then I would stay with the feel of the quilt – which I think is 30′s-40′s and looks like you are using cotton batting- so maybe cross hatching..either streight or on the diagonal. With the quilt being small I would consider starting from the center and do the cross hatching on the diagnal in 4 sections. Would do piano keys in the most outer border. Have fun with whatever you decide. Shirley :-}

  5. Pam says:

    Oops! I mean Churn Dash blocks, not stars. But Baptist Fans are equally great on stars and churn dash quilts.

  6. Pam says:

    Love your quilt! I have done a bit of machine quilting (not longarm) and my favorite go-to is Baptist Fans. I love the curvy motion that they add to a quilt – to any quilt. They are especially great on star quilts like this one. They quilt up fairly quickly, and now that I have done them a few times, it has gotten easy. That would be my choice – an all-over Baptist Fan. Unfortunately, you would probably need to mark it if it is important to you to have very regular and symetrical fans. Sometimes slightly wonky fans are fun, too!

  7. Sarah says:

    What about using circle templates to make over lapping circles. I envision one over each block extending into the sashing and then another that overlaps those by having the sashing in the middle. Then I would do a cable or leafy vine in the borders.

  8. Tanya says:

    I dont do my own quilting unless I have to but I like it when they just do the outline of like the triangle inside the triangle. To me it gives it carechtor and stays with what you are doing. Also if you are wanting it done pretty fast is do the orange peel design in each block and then maybe spirals down the side boarders

  9. Carol Anderson says:

    Loops,maybe teardrop shaped to the corners of the
    small squares…for softness I’d keep it curvey and not to close together.Other options are spirals or a simple petal design…small quilt !

  10. Karen Addleman says:

    My go to design is to quilt hearts in the triangles and a vine with leaves in the sashes. Have fun quilting.
    Karen A

  11. Lynne says:

    I do love what you have chosen, but I also like meandering Flowers and leaves with the little swirls in the flower Centre

  12. Marcia says:

    I like loose loopy flowers, perhaps in several sizes that are easy to do, so you complete in the time frame you wish.

  13. Linda says:

    I like to match my stitching with the scale of the print. My favorite is to stitch the theme of the quilt-like snowmen or snowmen prints and cats on kitty prints. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Claudia says:

    Spirals, spiral in and spiral out and bounce across the quilt like a ball instead of carefully plodding from square to square. I think you could accomplish that in about an hour on a little quilt this size provided your machine doesn’t give you any fits.

  15. robin says:

    I would do gentle waves, diagonally, looping it every once in a while, in no set pattern, unmarked. It would be interesting, easy, and fun to look at – not boring.

  16. I usually do loops and swirls, they create movement but don’t over power. Sometimes I throw in hearts or stars if I know the recipient will like that. ;-)

  17. duff says:

    In the past, I did a light wave down the length of the quilt to soften the rectangular piecing and absolutely loved it. It was so quick I couldn’t believe it! Here’s link to a flickr photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46459549@N05/4554797778/

  18. Sandy A says:

    Wow, thanks for the tips. I am one that had plenty of tops waiting to be quilted, but have no idea how to quilt them. This sure has helped!

    I think I would quilt the outer triangles of each block to emphasis the diamond in the middle. I am a big fan of outline quilting tho! :)

  19. Zarina says:

    Very timely. I am slowly piecing a grandmother quilt (the short cut method) and am thinking how am I going to quilt it. Its a bit tricky this quilt.

  20. If you are just beginning to quilt and want an easy to master all over design, I would go with a stipple – a nice soft meader with soft loops thrown in. Of course, this is sort of my GO TO design of choice! lol

  21. Jocelyn says:

    Machine quilting is something that I have been trying to work at. When I look at your quilt, I would make arches in each hst block and then maybe curley cues in the sashing. It’s a lovely quilt and I think I would emphasize the blocks and not just do an all over meandering.

  22. Christine M says:

    I don’t really machine quilt either. I send them off to a very nice person I know who quilts my quilts for me! Perhaps you could do some stippling.

  23. rebecca says:

    I don’t do a lot of machine quilting – for this one,I would be tempted to do something like a pumpkin seed pattern so that the overlapping parts of the circles ended up i the rectangles. I would be tempted to mark it though, althouh you might be able to do the circles freehand.

  24. Liz M. says:

    I’m not a very experienced quilter (I mostly have like 8239408 unfinished quilt tops), but I would think a meandering free motion design would achieve all your goals–fast, no marking, not angular, and de-emphasizes the piecing. Thanks for mentioning those resources–I wasn’t familiar with most of them!

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