Sunday, 5 March 2023

Choosing a Quilting Design

I finished one of the quilt tops from the Orange Tree Quilters group. Another beautiful little quilt!
It is a Kaleidoscope quilt...I had forgotten how effective they can look and remembered that I actually have got the template for this. Did buy the template set very early on in my quilting journey but never got around to actually make one of these, in fact forgot that I had this!

Like the colours...very tastefully put together.
Its a smallish sort of quilt...from memory about 52in square. In looking at it I was unsure how to quilt this. Did not really feel like stitching-in-the-ditch, even more so as every block had the centre seam pressed open. Don't like to stitch over open seams and so decided to do some sort of overall design. The quickest, of course, is meandering but also did not feel like that.

Consulted one of my favourite books...Machine Quilting Solutions by Christine Maraccini. Its an older book from 2007 but has a lot of easy-to-do designs for everyday quilting in there. Chose a swirling  design which I had not done before. In her introduction to the design Christine says:
'This edge to edge design is one of the quickest ways to get a quilt finished. It will add visual movement and has a texture and feel that beg the owner to cuddle up in it.' The only difficulty, as I could see it and Christine pointed out, was to get the design a bit bigger to maintain the softness of the fabric and batting when you touch it. However, the swirl design was perfect as one of the red fabrics had a dainty swirl design on there and it was unobtrusive enough for the secondary pattern to still shine through.

Did one practice run on a piece of scrap and started wondering whether I could execute this consistently over a large area. In the end I decided to just go for it...if you never try, you never know! Was a tad nervous to start off with as I can  get incredibly confused with swirls and their direction, but to my surprise this went incredibly easy. I quilt loosely in rows as a sitdown longarm quilter, just having 1/4 of the quilt under the the machine at a time. Had absolutely no problem moving along swirling my way from one end to the other. Going back then and down, I could see my empty spaces and could reach out with a swirl to fill that in. My swirls ended up maybe 1-1/2 to 2in across, sometimes smaller, but that did not feature too much. Given that the swirls are a bit more dainty it felt very open and soft.

This is why I like to quilt these quilts for the charity group. I get some pretty quilts, an overload of inspiration and I get to try different quilting designs that I may not otherwise use. This quilting design is a definite keeper...I think it took me about 2 hours to complete. I used the stitch regulator on my Bernina Q20, so did not have to worry about my stitches looking fine and went over it with a medium speed which ensured that I could get the swirls a bit bigger (think bigger, more sweeping movement). It was incredibly easy to fill and in the end I was actually quite amazed at the consistency with which I had quilted this across the quilt top. The quilt looks amazing with it and feels nice and soft. This is definitely a design that I will use again. 


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