BLOCK Quilting Strategies
Quilts can have many options for the quilting. Debby uses Magic Kisses on page 50 as an example of just some of the many possibilities.
After “Where did all this fabric come from?” the most common question quilters ask is, “How should I quilt this quilt?” This question is followed by:
“Is it OK to quilt an allover design on pieced blocks?”
“Should I quilt each block separately?”
“Should I quilt each piece of patchwork separately?”
“Do I have to stitch in every ditch in a pieced block?”
This indecision can send that quilt top to the unquilted pile indefinitely.
I have a few strategies for choosing a quilting design for pieced quilts. My first hint is the most important: There is no wrong way to quilt a quilt! Let me repeat that: There is no wrong way to quilt a quilt! I have quilted identical quilts in different ways, and while I had my favorite designs, the quilts were all quilted and all loved. Some were stitched-in-the-ditch and some were not. No one pointed at a single quilt and screamed, “But the quilting on this one is all wrong!”
Now that you know you can’t pick a wrong way to quilt your quilt, let me give you a few more suggestions.
Allover or Edge-to-Edge Designs
When quilting a pieced quilt, you can choose to ignore all the seams and quilt a single design over the entire quilt. If you are not a confident machine quilter, you may choose to use your walking foot and stitch near the ditch or stitch another simple walking-foot design. (See the Quilting on Your Machine article “Start Simply With Walking-Foot Quilting” featured in Quilter’s World summer 2018 on page 72 for walking-foot quilting ideas.) For quilters who are comfortable with free-motion quilting or those willing to try, stitching a simple loop, meander or swirl all over a pieced quilt is a great choice. It adds texture and interest to the quilt top without adding too much stress to the quilter. The quilter has enough stress already.
Quilting a pieced quilt with an allover design instead of custom quilting is not cheating. Even experienced and expert free-motion quilters will choose to quilt a simple edge-to-edge design when they know that the fabric in the quilt is too dark or too busy to show the machine quilting. Not much in quilting is sadder than struggling to perfectly custom-quilt a quilt only to be unable to see the stitching when the quilt is complete. If you decide to quilt an allover free-motion quilting design on your pieced quilt, pick your design and quilt it without worry!
Whole Block Designs
Quilts are often designed with a single-style pieced block repeated throughout. You can choose to repeat a single quilting design on each block. Choose a stencil or printed design, transfer to your quilt top using a marking pen or chalk, and machine-quilt along the marked lines. You can also trace the design on stitch-through paper such as Golden Threads Quilting Paper, then machine-quilt through the paper and quilt layers, and remove the paper after the stitching is finished. Stitching a single design over each block of the quilt can be a quick and easy way to machine- quilt your quilt top. It’s also very forgiving. Remember: Once the marks or paper are removed from your quilt top, no one will ever know if you veered off the line in a few places.
Custom Block Designs
Some quilts let us know that they are special and want to be quilted in a special way. Custom-quilting each block based on the piecing of the block can enhance the quilt. Pick a neutral thread, quilt different designs in each part of the block, and invent your own custom-quilting design.
Simple Loop, Meander or Swirl
Simple Walking-Foot Design
Golden Threads Quilting Paper.