If you haven’t finished putting your quilt top together, no worries. Just keep working on it. There is plenty of time left to still finish your quilt this year.
Whether you are ready to quilt, or just want to start thinking about how you might quilt it as you finish the flimsy, this month’s blog post is for you. There are tips for how to audition a layout, and lots of online resources for getting inspiration for techniques or patterns.
How will your quilt be used?
If your 2021 BOM is going to be a wall hanging, it may require very little quilting to hold it together, and the quilting decision is purely aesthetic. If your 2021 BOM is a quilt that will be used and washed repeatedly, you may wish to quilt it thoroughly enough to support it through its lifetime.
Who quilts it?
To start the quilting conversation, you might first decide if you want to “quilt by check” and pay another skilled person to use their long arm machine to quilt your quilt. This is sometimes the fastest way to finish the quilting and gives you a chance to support some of the guild members who offer professional longarm services (see Long Arm Quilters List ).
If you decide to quilt it yourself, you might be deciding between doing it on your domestic machine with the feed dogs up (straight line or gently curvy line) or with the feed dogs down (free motion designs) or using a long arm (did you know you can rent time on long arm machines at several of our local quilt shops?) or quilting it by hand. Or you can do a mixture of those things. Knowing how you plan to approach the quilting provides you with some useful guardrails in deciding what patterns to use.
Support and inspiration on your quilting journey
If you’ve never quilted one of your own quilts, or you’ve done a few, but want to try something different, you may find some ideas here.
Quilting on medallion style quilts is really not different than any other quilt, however the multiple rings or rows of different designs give you the opportunity to try different quilting designs/styles in different borders or sections of your quilt if you wish.
Looking for input in conversation with your fellow guild members? You can join the next monthly guild meeting early and ask your breakout group for advice during the pre-meeting social time. Or you can join any of the weekly or bi-weekly sew-ins that are happening most days of the week and talk to that group of guildmates to ask for input on how you might quilt it (Sew-in Calendar link).
I like to start my quilting design process by doodling on a photo or drawing of my quilt. This can be as simple as taking a photo and using your iPad or phone’s built-in photo editing tools to draw on top of it. Or take a photo and print several copies from your computer to doodle on. My favorite approach is to use a drawing program on my iPad, but you can also do this on your phone or computer. Most drawing programs let you import a .jpg (photo) or .pdf file. You can then draw possible quilting designs on the photo to audition them. You can also use a piece of vinyl or architect’s mylar to lay directly on your quilt and draw on it with washable markers to try out quilting ideas at actual size.
Julie Cefalu of The Crafty Quilter has a nice summary of these various approaches (and some others) in a blog post https://thecraftyquilter.com/2019/07/how-to-audition-quilt-designs/ .
Here are some examples of my doodling possible designs on a small medallion-ish quilt:
Want to keep it mild and just get this quilt done? One of the many variations on straight line quilting may be the answer. Basic straight line (also called “channel”) quilting is your friend- it looks good on practically everything. You can make the lines a uniform distance apart or vary the distances between them. They can be tight (half-inch apart), or wider (couple inches apart). Worried about keeping the lines absolutely straight? You can make a guide with masking tape for your first line, and then echo that line with subsequent ones, or just opt to make them gently curve. You can make the adjacent lines curve in parallel, or each line can follow its own path.
A variation on straight lines is to create a cross hatched pattern. The cross hatch can be stitched at 90 degree angles to form squares, or at different angles to form diamonds or triangles. Cross hatches can be made of straight or wavy lines and the spacing can be uniform or variable.
You can also consider an overall design for your medallion quilt. Basically, you are creating an organic or geometric pattern that repeats over the entire quilt. The all-over pattern you choose might repeat some design element in one of your fabrics, such as have a leaf design if you have floral prints, or perhaps be purposely contrasting, such as a graphic interlocking squares design on your floral prints.
If you want to highlight specific blocks or borders or shapes in your quilt, you may want to customize your quilting design accordingly. Maybe you want to do spirals in all of the squares in one border, while you want to emphasize the half square triangles in another with switchbacks. Break your quilt top into units and play with the quilting in these smaller, less intimidating sections.
Big Stitch Hand Quilting
Especially if your quilt is small, this might be the project you want to either quilt completely by hand or embellish with a bit of hand quilting. Using a heavier weight thread (8 or 12 wt) and big stitches will make it a design element on its own. Maybe you want to emphasize a shape or fabric element that occurs in various places in your medallion, or possibly just add a couple of lines of stitches in a fabulous contrasting color. A couple of good tutorials: Sarah Fielke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DXN5Ger_jo or Elizabeth Chappell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrjP_kP93XQ .
More Resources and Tutorials
Choosing a Quilting Design for Your Quilt: Christina Cameli on Fresh Quilting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmTNanx0PHk
Angela Walters (@quiltingismytherapy)- free YouTube series “How Do I Quilt It?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctikvKVt5j4 (maybe less relevant to the medallions, but a good general resource). Her Shape by Shape FMQ books have great (and straightforward to quilt) ideas based on block shapes (triangles, squares, rectangles, circles, diamonds, hexies, etc). This link to one of her Pinterest boards will give you a flavor for them. https://www.pinterest.com/ange_walters1/shape-by-shape-quilting/ Angela has a lot of free content on her website and YouTube channels, as well as several Craftsy classes.
Christa Watson demystifies quilting your own quilts. She did a blog post with index of links to her quilting tutorials https://christaquilts.com/christas-free-motion-quilting-tips/ . She also has several books and Craftsy classes.
Karen Brown of Let’s Get it Done Quilts has a YouTube video with easy, forgiving designs and lots of good tips. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Uv5rCcvH4U&t=486s
Debby Brown is another quilt instructor with lots of free videos online and a comfortable, get it done style. A good starting point is this video on easy designs using your walking foot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk5RGAFOWog . Searching YouTube for Debby Brown quilts will bring up many more.
HollyAnne Knight (@stringandstory) Tips for quilting a large quilt on a domestic machine https://www.stringandstory.com/blog/largequiltondomestic (Note: I watched one of our members quilt her Begonia quilt [about 70 x 70 inches] on a machine with about a 5 inch throat space at our fall retreat- it can be done!)
Nichole of MamaLoveQuilts: Straight Line Quilting Tips https://mamalovequilts.com/2012/01/10-tips-for-trouble-free-straight-line.html
Jacquie Gering on Fresh Quilts: Creating Gentle Curves in Your Quilting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNgMHqSXjN8 Jacquie’s books on walking foot quilting (WALK: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot, WALK: More Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot) are classics. She has two excellent classes on Craftsy as well.
Christina Cameli. Ideas for specific designs. https://www.afewscraps.com/p/all-over-quilting-designs.html Christina also has several books and Craftsy classes on quilting.
Leah Day. Loads of free tutorials showing how to quilt specific FMQ designs. https://leahday.com/pages/quilting-design-gallery She also has a good introductory walking foot/straight line quilting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJdDX4_oYL0
Lori Kennedy. Her blog shows step by step stitching of organic, free motion designs, often inspired by doodles, https://lorikennedyquilts.com/category/motifs/beginner/. If you want to add text to your quilt in the quilting, she has a good tutorial for you https://lorikennedyquilts.com/how-to-add-handwriting-to-quilts/ . She has written two books, runs regular skill builder quilt-alongs and has some good Craftsy classes as well.
October Summary- Quilting
Straight or mildly curvy lines
More complex walking foot designs
More complex all over design that is a stretch for you
Cross Hatch - squares, diamonds, uniform, or irregular
An all over design that is in your comfort zone
Custom quilt your medallion
Send it to your favorite longarm quilter
Use a mix of approaches (by machine and by hand)
Happy sewing! Don’t forget to tag your progress: #seamqgsalsaBOM