Monday, January 31, 2011

Choosing A Quilting Design

I have just emerged from 6 days of machine quilting.   Choosing the design for free motion quilting is pretty challenging for me.  I am pretty good at meandering or stippling which is like wiggle waggling all over the quilt.  Th goal is to keep the stitches even and the curves smooth.  I have used this method to quilt many quilts, so now I look for other types of quilting designs that make it a little more challenging.

I am always looking for sources for ideas.  There is a great blog, by Leah Day.  Her goal is to create a new quilting pattern every day for 1 year.  I believe she is on design # 240.  Here are thumbnails of the designs thus far.  She also posts videos so you can see how she does each one.  I have ordered her book,   From Daisy To Paisley that has 50 beginning designs that I really like.  The other books that I like are:
Mindful Meandering   by Laura Lee Fritz
Freehand Filler Patterns by Sue Patten
72 More Ways Not to Stippl or Meander  by Dijanne Cevaal
Machine Quilting Solutions by Christine Maraccini

When I have a new project to quilt and I do not know what design I am going to use, first I sit down with these books.  I look through them to try to ignite a few ideas.  Then I open my FMQ notebook to a fresh page and I start doodling with a pen or pencil.  I start with the original inspiration and see what it morphs into.  I need to be comfortable with the design to be able to do it in a repetitious manner all over my quilt top.    Very rarely does my final design end up looking anything like the ones in the book.

Sometimes  I start quilting and end up not liking it at all.  Some quilters have told me that they like to see mistakes or mis-steps as I like to call them.  So I will share my mis-step.  For  one section of the quilt, I decided to use echo quilting. 
I just wasn't happy with the way it looked.  
I ripped it out. 
I ended up stippling.

This is the finished  quilt.  I've named it Filigree Fantasy.  It measures 60"x 60".  
I am relieved and thrilled that it is done. 


  1. Cheryl, I know meander quilting has been overused and has somewhat fallen out of favor, but I just love to see it and love to stitch it. Some of the newer designs are just so so perfect that they seem tedious. Don't apologize for meander; yes, we will continue to seek other variations for interest, but still enjoy meandering!

  2. I am also a fan of meandering. Lucky me I saw the quilt in person, it looks great on the blog too!

  3. Cheryl, it sounds like you have a ton of info that you rely on but we are always our own worst critics! Have you looked at Patsy Thompson's quilting--CD's, books, tutorials on her blog?
    I love her quilting and just wanted to suggest another idea option for you. From what I can see here, you do beautiful work.


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