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How do you decide?

How do you decide?

Old 05-31-2012, 01:54 PM
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Default How do you decide?

I tried a search and didn't find anything that even came close to this question but; how do you decide how to quilt your tops? This is a subject that perplexes me. I don't think i've ever seen anything that says how you know/decide what kind of design to use to quilt your tops. Seems I don't recall any books that address this subject either. I'm sure there must be some out there, but don't recall any. So many people make such beautiful designs on their tops and it is as if the design fits to a tee, but when I try to decide I feel lost. Since the last quilt top I actually quilted was a stich the ditch, it was an easy decision. I have a number of tops that need done but am not sure what would look good. I'm also trying to do a lot of practicing with free motion but am still a ways away from actually trying a quilt top.

So how do you know what quilt design will go with your quilt top?
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:09 PM
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There are lots of books and articles on this subject. I got started with Rodale Press's book on machine quilting. One thing you can do is print out a photo (probably in B&W) and try drawing on it with a pencil. Some quilts do best with SitD. If you have a fairly large rectangular or round "blank" area, that could be good with a feathered wreath (or feathered heart) Sometimes, the key is to make the quilting fit the recipient. Early on, I tried writing in FMQ. For one highly religious friend, I wrote Bible quotes around the Dresden plate I made him.

There are many sources for excellent design ideas. For example, look at Charismah's spectacular work on this site. Of course, your first work won't look like hers, but use it as an inspiration. I suspect there are several mini classes on FMQ available on U Tube.

Don't expect to like everything you do. I recently tried quilting in a forest, hated it and started over with irregular feathers. RELAX. Draw out the pattern you decide on full scale. I have expert friends who do this with markers on newspapers. This will help you feel comfortable when you actually get started.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:18 PM
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look at the fabric and if the quilt has a theme. Christmas quilts, I use alot of freemotion holly leaves and berries. Floral, I may use leaves. One I just did had sort of like comma's in the border fabric so that my inspiration, and came out looking like ramdon feathers.
I have a pantograph, I use on water themed quilts. You get the idea.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:25 PM
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Sometimes I just draw a picture over the whole quilt (like http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...d-t185738.html). Other times I quilt the bits that seem obvious, and then fill in the remaining spaces as ideas present themselves. One book I find very helpful is "Quilting Makes the Quilt" (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1564770753/...sl_9r4wxl6i3_e) in which the author has quilted the same quilt top in four or five different ways, so you can see how the effect of the finished quilt changes. Remarkable.

I still have to sit and think and draw and think before I quilt, and sometimes I see the finished product and know that a different pattern would have been better! I also thinnk that doing shapes and patterns that come easily to you and feel natural is important - I love the look of feathered circles, but they don't really fit my quilts. The few times I have forced myself to use this quintessential pattern (because I love it and it is classic) it hasn't looked right; not my style.

And we are all our own worst critics - whatever you do will look awesome to the recipient!

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Old 05-31-2012, 03:33 PM
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I hate the words "quilt as desired". What I desired are some guidelines! I bought a yard of clear tablecloth plastic and a dry erase marker. I can draw a quilt design on the plastic and place it over the quilt top to preview my quilt designs. It isn't fool proof but it does help me.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:38 PM
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You can lay a piece of clear vinyl over areas of your quilt top (make sure there are no holes in the vinyl, and stick blue painter's tape all around the edges first) and use dry erase markers on it to "try out" different quilting ideas. (The painter's tape prevents you from accidently marking beyond the clear vinyl onto the quilt top.) Whoops! I guess we were posting at the same time. Great minds think alike... lol!
I also recommend the book "Quilting Makes the Quilt". It is an awesome book! Such a remarkable accomplishment! Lee Cleland made 12 different quilts in that book, and made each one 5 times! (That's sixty quilts!!) Each quilt is quilted differently from the others like it, and it is really impressive to see how the quilting can affect the overall look of each identical quilt.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:43 PM
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Sometimes the quilt speaks to you other times it just laughs at you while you try to figure it out! This is why I have a NYB that is still a UFO. Sometimes I'll use an overall design, other times I'll echo the blocks/sections of the quilt. As someone else mentioned, if the fabric is themed I sometimes will pull inspiration from that. Otherwise it's just a guess and hope it comes out well.
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:01 PM
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I'll follow this thread for ideas. I find that leaves are easier to FMQ than some other things because they're natural objects that are not expected to look all alike, so I tend to use a lot of leaves. On a doll quilt one time I did a whole lot of 3-leaf clovers and one 4-leaf clover. On another doll quilt that had frogs I wrote the word "ribbit" here and there, and found that since we are all practiced at writing, it's one of the easiest things you can do on a quilt. The only problem with words is that, of course, they're backwards on the back. Daisies and hearts are easier to do than they look, unless you want them all alike, which doesn't happen on anything I try.
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:08 PM
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I keep a folder of pictures that have quilting I like. I Check those over and then hope the quilt speaks to me and if it doesn't I start with the obvious and then ideas come to me as I go along.
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:29 PM
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Try this book for very informative pictures of how the different quilting patterns can affect the look of your quilt. I've had this book for years and still refer to it often. The pictures are great! You can tell alot from the reviews on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Quilting-Makes...pr_product_top
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