Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quilting Designs

I am often asked how I come up with quilting designs.  I remember when I first started quilting it was something I found the most difficult; just letting go and doing whatever I wanted rather than using conventional all-over designs.

Eventually, I learned to treat my needle as a pencil, my fabric as a piece of paper and imagine I was doodling.  This process set me free (so to speak).

When I am really perplexed, I use the following technique:

I take a piece of vinyl (from the bags used for packaging bedding), and place it over my block.  Then, I take a dry erase pen and practice with doodling a design.  If I don't like the pattern, I take a soft cloth, wipe the vinyl clean and start over.  When I get a design I like, I keep practicing the pattern.  I tried to emulate the iconic Mary Engelbreit flower in this doodle.

Once I have the design down, I go to my sewing machine and quilt the pattern.

A cotton batting will give your quilt an "antiqued" look once it is washed after it is quilted.  PREWASH any red fabrics.  Believe me, many dependable fabric makers still have red dyes that bleed!  I've learned the hard way; you don't need to learn this lesson.  The quilt in this photo was designed by Mary Engelbreit for her Moda fabric, Basket of Flowers.  The quilt pattern was free from the Moda website.

Hope this method let's your imagination take off.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this tip. I have used a sharpie on cellophane as a guide for applique placement, but never thought about using something transparent as a quilting design tool. Substituting the heavier vinyl and the dry erase pen is genius, and I'm excited to try it.

    As always, your quilting is absolutely amazing.