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Thread: How do you decide?

  1. #1
    Super Member valsma's Avatar
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    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?
    Tammy

    Life Is A Banquet and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving!

  2. #2
    QM
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    Power Poster QM's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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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.
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  4. #4
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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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!

    Alison

  5. #5
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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.

  6. #6
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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.

  7. #7
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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.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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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.

  9. #9
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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.

  10. #10
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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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
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  11. #11
    Super Member valsma's Avatar
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    So many great ideas. I'm a visual type person so I need to see what it is going to look like when it is finished. I even have difficulty sometimes reading patterns so I have to really take my time. I love the clear vinyl and dry erase markers idea. I could lay out a top, cover it with the vinyl and draw out a basic pattern and get an idea of what I like and what I don't. An extra step but better safe than sorry. I'm going to keep following for more idea and i'm also going to look for the book mentioned. Thank you for your suggestions.
    Tammy

    Life Is A Banquet and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving!

  12. #12
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Get a piece of clear plexiglass and use that with the dry erase markers. I think it would lay flatter and give you a better idea of how the quilting would look.

  13. #13
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I took an online class from Carla Barrett. She discusses everything to take into account when quilting, including if the quilt design is masculine or feminine (geometric or curvy), who it's for, whether it will be a utility quilt or a wall hanging, so forth and so on. Then she shows how to take inspiration from everyday things around you and incorporate it into quilting designs. It was a fantastic class, I highly recommend it if you want to take your quilting to the next level. You can see examples of how she designs here:

    http://featheredfibers.wordpress.com...-online-class/

  14. #14
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    My problem with quilting a quilt is that a lot of the designs (suggested with the pattern, or by other quilters) are hard to do or impossible by hand. And since I don't quilt on a machine but by hand, that's a problem. Stitch in the ditch is impossible by hand, and while the featered designs or the ones with all the little waves look great, they are very hard to do by hand - and take ages if I could do them. Simple designs that are a bit more spaced out are what I need - but thinking of those myself is pretty hard sometimes.

  15. #15
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Another great book is A Fine Line:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fine-Line-Tech...8556044&sr=1-8

    I also draw and sketch a LOT. I don't like the clear vinyl technique as much as I like drawing the blocks and laying tracking paper over them to sketch my designs. Mostly because I find it cumbersome and difficult to find a work space to lay out the quilt, then layout the vinyl on top of it. Additionally, I guess I have never found the correct dry-erase or wet erase markers because every single one I have tried has left shadowing of what I previously drew and it distracts me too much. So paper works for me with my quilt blocks drawn to a smaller scale if they are large. Once I get a sketch I like I will refine the design and draw it actual size, if I haven't already.

  16. #16
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.M. View Post
    My problem with quilting a quilt is that a lot of the designs (suggested with the pattern, or by other quilters) are hard to do or impossible by hand. And since I don't quilt on a machine but by hand, that's a problem. Stitch in the ditch is impossible by hand, and while the featered designs or the ones with all the little waves look great, they are very hard to do by hand - and take ages if I could do them. Simple designs that are a bit more spaced out are what I need - but thinking of those myself is pretty hard sometimes.

    Oh no, I disagree. I quilt by hand and by machine and I find complex designs much easier to do by hand. IMHO no design is impossible to do by hand. If I can draw it I can quilt it. Look here:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...ng-t47093.html

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the info about the book by Lee Cleland. I've never seen that book and am definitely going to order it. i do longarm quilting for customers and am always looking for ideas. Sounds like a great book.

  18. #18
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    Oh no, I disagree. I quilt by hand and by machine and I find complex designs much easier to do by hand. IMHO no design is impossible to do by hand. If I can draw it I can quilt it. Look here:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...ng-t47093.html
    I've admired your quilting before, and I agree that a more complex design is possible. But when I look at often-advised quilting when people ask for ideas, stitch in the ditch or wavy/squiggly lines done by FMQ are often the suggestions - and those are impossible/very hard to do by hand.

  19. #19
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.M. View Post
    I've admired your quilting before, and I agree that a more complex design is possible. But when I look at often-advised quilting when people ask for ideas, stitch in the ditch or wavy/squiggly lines done by FMQ are often the suggestions - and those are impossible/very hard to do by hand.

    Thank you. I agree an all over meander is not a good choice for a hand quilter. SID, I prefer to echo right next to the ditch. For ideas for handquilting, I think you would benefit from the book The Essential Quilter. It is an indespensible addition to any handquilter's library. http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Quil...8560106&sr=1-1

  20. #20
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    I use tissue paper to lay it over an area of the quilt to see if this is the way I want to go on quilting it. Once I decide that "layout" works, the rest seems to fall into place.

  21. #21
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    Thank you. I agree an all over meander is not a good choice for a hand quilter. SID, I prefer to echo right next to the ditch. For ideas for handquilting, I think you would benefit from the book The Essential Quilter. It is an indespensible addition to any handquilter's library. http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Quil...8560106&sr=1-1
    Thank you! I've added the book to my wishlist.

  22. #22
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone! Alot of good advise!!!

  23. #23
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    My goal this summer is to practice FMQ and then give it a try. I have a hard time visualizing what type of quilting would look good. Thanks to all for the suggestions, especially the use of clear vinyl and the book on quilting.

  24. #24
    Super Member valsma's Avatar
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    indymta, that is my problem that is why I asked. I knew these lovely people would be able to help me figure it out or make some very useful suggestions. I love the vinyl idea and the two books mentioned I put on my wish list at Amazon.
    The quilting board members are amazing, being willing to share their hard earned knowledge.
    Tammy

    Life Is A Banquet and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving!

  25. #25
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    I would think there'd be some youtube videos on this.
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

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