Quilting “Makes” The Quilt

I love quilt shows. I love to see the creative ideas, unique patterns, perfect piecing, unusual settings, and color combinations I would not have thought about. I also enjoy looking up close at the quilting. It is the quilting that really makes the quilt.

Quilting can either positively or negatively say something about a quilt. Simple quilting, like the quilting found on antique quilts, can be beautiful. Lack of enough quilting with lots of open unquilted space screams for more quilting. Thoughtful quilting can enhance the design of the quilt pattern, repeat the quilt pattern, or bring in secondary designs. There should be as much thought given to the quilting as there was to the design of the quilt.

At a recent quilt show I found examples to illustrate a couple of these quilting design ideas.

The quilting repeats the quilt pattern

Although more challenging than an edge to edge design, or simply using a background fill, when there is lots of negative, open space, try repeating the block pattern. Seeing this pattern repeated on the surface of the quilt provides a lot of interest.

In Dresden Plate below, not only are the Dresden plate blocks beautiful, as well as unusual, but repeating the Dresden plate design quilted in the center of the quilt and the the Dresden diamond shapes in the border along with other designs, the eye travels across the entire surface of the quilt.  There is a lot of interest in the quilting and your eyes never tire of looking for more.

Dresden Plate, designed, made and quilted by Sally Mowers

Dresden Plate, designed, made and quilted by Sally Mowers

In the photos below, notice the Dresden plate design, center of quilt and repeated in the border.

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The quilting patterns enhance the theme of the quilt

Some quilts have a theme. They may be a child’s quilt, a patriotic red, white, and blue quilt, a wedding quilt, or quilt with another theme. Choosing quilting patterns that enhance the theme add a lot to the overall impact of the quilt making the quilt’s impression more memorable.

African Twist features African theme fabric. Additional fabrics contribute to the African theme. To top it off, the quilting motifs designed by and others selected by Sally Mowers bring the quilt full circle letting the viewer know full well the African theme.

African Twist, designed, made and quilted by Sally Mowers

African Twist, designed, made and quilted by Sally Mowers

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IMG_7409resizeThis quilt screams Africa.  From African theme fabric, unique supporting fabrics to the quilting designs in the borders and open space, everything supports the African theme.

If you have spent the time to create a special theme quilt, take the time to think about the quilting. Whether simple or elaborate, choose quilting designs that will enhance the quilt, provide interest and keep the viewer spending time discovering more and more.  Repeating the quilt pattern in the quilting or using quilting designs and motifs that support the theme of the quilt are two ways of keeping the viewer interested.  In this way, the quilt is like a well written story, complete with the same theme from beginning to end.

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