Sunday, August 11, 2013

How I Determine a Quilt Motif

     Once a quilt top is pieced, basted, and ready for the quilting stitches we really need to have a plan for those anchoring stitches. I admit that planning the motif, or design for the quilting stitches, begins as soon as my fabric is chosen. While I cut and piece the pieces of a quilt I am also familiarizing myself with not only the piecing design, but the design of the fabric as well.
      The first spring picnic quilt was made as a prototype for simplicity. I wanted this quilt to be very basic and an example of how easy a quilt can be. With that purpose in mind, the quilting was done in the most basic pattern- stitch in the ditch. This motif can be done by hand or machine depending upon the purpose and usage the quilt might face. Quilts used by children or infants may face more wear and washing than a throw or decorative quilt. Large bed quilts are not generally washed on a regular basis and lend well to hand work. This orange quilt was machine quilted since it may face regular laundering.
      Let's take a look at the blue version of our spring picnic quilt. The fabric here has many circular elements; paisley, flowers, etc...yet, the actual piecing design is angular. Considering this, we could stay in the ditch accenting the piecing...or we could ignore the piecing lines accenting the fabric design. If we really wanted to go crazy and creative, we could ignore the whole thing and design quilting that creates a scene such as boats, a flower garden, picnic items with ants marching along.
      To keep it simple, I have decided to stitch this quilt with an all over, edge to edge, design known as 'Baptist fans'. This design offers a softness to the angular design, yet leaves the circular fabric designs in tact. This motif can easily be stitched by hand or machine and is rather quick to complete. Being round in nature, I would not hand quilt this design in a quilt frame, but use a hoop for ease and flexibility.

       I encourage you to take time deciding your quilt sure you are comfortable stitching the angles or curves, and feel free to practice the design before trying it on the actual quilt. Next week I will demo two methods of machine stitching and how I set my machine for those tasks.  


  1. I am hand quilting my first quilt. I used your video to baste it and now I am trying to decide how to hand stitch and what design to use. It is a bow tie with white strips alternating with bow tie strips. where can I look at some designs to choose from?

  2. I like to look at other quilts. For example, quilt blogs/websights or simply Google quilts and look at the design used. Etsy has some great shops filled with inspiring designs.
    It sounds like a beautiful quilt!


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