I’m frequently asked how I choose a machine quilting pattern.
I think that the pattern should relate to the image whether literally or thematically or abstractly – or even abstractedly for that matter which I often am when quilting away!!
So the first thing I do is think about what image or kind of mark relates to the piece, and then I sketch it out on a piece of paper. Sketching first helps in three ways:
Firstly you can actually see what it looks like!! I find it hard to make a visual decision without an actual visual image. I was asked last week did I want 12” or 18” tiles in my kitchen (assuming a square room that sinks in the middle, the dishwasher occupying pride of place in the pit of doom (!), can actually be tiled of course). I had to go into the kitchen and mark out with tape what each tile pattern would look like.
Secondly: machine quilting is like drawing with a needle, so it’s good to practice drawing with the hand first. The muscle memory transfers from hand to needle and your pattern will flow more smoothly from your machine!
Thirdly: you can work out how you can use a continuous line (as far as possible) so as to save stopping and starting within the quilt.
Plus it would be great to build up a nice little file of possible quilting patterns (if you were a lot more disciplined than I am!).
So here are some examples that I’ve used in the past:
I’ve used this one for buildings a lot!! you can make the shapes squarer, or more rectangular… I show the first three rows, obviously you can keep on adding. And I’ve not closed the shapes so that you can see the pattern as you zig zag across. With this pattern you can build a nice wobbly grid without having to go in two directions, both horizontal and vertical aspects are done at once.
Now the above are all fairly literal, but if you made a quilt about a peaceful scene, you could quilt with peaceful lines, or if you wanted to make one about energy, you make lightning sort of zig zags. I made a quilt about looking at the light coming through a cathedral window, and I quilted the piece with the words to a medieval chant.
So next time you’re thinking about machine quilting…get out your sketch pad, THINK, and draw!!
And now for a nice cuppa tea to celebrate a holiday weekend! If you have been, thanks for reading! and please do share any quilting patterns you think have worked well for you. If you send the image to me at the email address indicated on the side bar, I’ll put the sketch or picture in a later blog. Thank you!! Elizabeth