Have you ever lacked for quilting inspiration? Perhaps you have tops waiting to be quilted, but have no design ideas for quilting. Some quilters are just naturally very creative and have a ton of ideas, others just draw a blank not knowing if a design will look OK, or what would look good in the sashing and borders. As a result, they just send it out and “quilt by check.”
Quilting Ideas from Shows
One of my greatest sources for quilting ideas is to look at the quilts at quilt shows. There are so many very talented quilters out there. You don’t even have to go to the large national shows to see outstanding quilts as there are many beautiful quilts made by talented quilters on display at local guild shows. Yes, quilts at the national shows are over the top, but then again, those quilts are not really meant to be used, only displayed and sent off to shows with the hope of winning a prize.
In early June, the Genesee Valley Quilt Club had their biannual quilt show, Genesee Valley QuiltFest. This was a huge show with over 600 quilts on display and over 60 vendors. Many of these quilts rivaled those at national shows, in fact, there are a number of members who have won prizes at the national shows. Quilts, entered by club members and also non-members, were beautifully made and quilted making the judging very competitive. Vickie’s quilt (above) is a perfect example of the outstanding work you find at a guild show. Her quilt won two awards including the Viewer’s Choice Award. Vickie quilted much of her quilt, including what is seen in the photo, at her domestic machine with what she calls graffiti quilting. The borders were quilted at her longarm.
When I am at shows, what I really enjoy is taking time to look at the diversity of quilts, the unique quilt designs and the innovative quilting ideas. I do take photos as I could not possible remember all of the techniques I see.
Quilting Ideas from Books
Just in the last couple of years, there have been many books published with ideas and techniques for machine and Longarm quilters. I have invested in a few of these books which range in topic from traditional to non-traditional, heirloom quilting, and even the “modern” quilting found on quilts with a lot of “white” space on them. Doreen’s gray quilt (right) is a good example of a modern style quilt with a lot of open space to show off the quilting. Some books illustrate the use of stencils and templates, others are full of techniques for free motion quilting. It does not matter what type of machine you use as the design ideas will work with both a domestic and a Longarm machine.
As quilts have taken on a whole different look compared to quilts ten or twenty years ago, the quilting we see in quilts today looks different, too. Yes, there is a time when a traditional old quilt pattern will look best with a very traditional quilting design. Alice’s quilt (left) is a combination of today’s contemporary fabrics and more modern design, but with very traditional quilting (longarm quilted).
With the huge variety of colors and designs found in today’s fabrics, the unique and interesting
quiltpatterns, there is definitely room for fresh and creative quilting. Merilee’s Glacial Star quilt (right) (Judy Niemeyer pattern) is a perfect example of using beautiful batik fabrics, paper piecing technique to get precise piecing with sharp points, and outstanding quilting designs digitized specifically for this pattern and quilted with her Nolting Pro and IQ.
Next time you are looking for quilting inspiration, look no further than a local quilt show. You might be surprised.
Where are some of your source(s) of quilting inspiration?