Stages of Quilt Making

Part 2 Quilting Design

In the last post, Stages of Quilt Making Part 1 The Quilt Sandwich Design, I discussed how the quilt top was created at Red Fence Quilting LLC.  The quilt top is only one step in this multi-step process.  Once the quilt top is finished, it is ready for the actual quilting of the top layer (quilt top), batting, and backing layer.  First, I need to create a design for the quilt pattern.

Designing the Quilt Pattern

This quilt pattern is the thread pattern that will bind the top, batting, and back fabric of the quilt. The quilter may decide to have a simple or complicated pattern for the quilt.  Sometimes the quilt top design will lead a designer to a particular approach. Such as a Dresden flower quilt top may have the quilt designer to quilt a flower pattern mimicking the Dresden plate.  Other times, a designer will have an overall picture in mind for the entire quilt.  These designs may add to the quilt or become invisible to the actual quilt.

Quilting Design 3a
Quilting Pattern for a Large Block

Quilting the Quilt

There are actually a few ways to quilt (verb) a quilt (noun); Long arm quilting, Sewing machine quilting, and Hand quilting. I will mention Tie quilting in a minute.

Long Arm or Mid Arm quilting is completed on a large machine, usually with a throat size over 8 inches.  The long arm quilts may have an overall pattern that is programed into the machine and then the machine will actually sew the quilt through all the layers.  However, even with a programmable machine, long arm quilters are present and adjusting throughout the quilting process. There is another type of long arm quilters that actually guide the long arm machine in design.  These long arm quilters are looking for a more artistic application to the design; a one of a kind. Mid-Armers generally fall more into the artistic long arm category.  Their machines may have some stitch control, but for the most part, the quilter has to guide the machine as well.

Another technique is Free Motion Quilting or ‘Stitch in the Ditch”/Straight line quilting using a sewing machine. This method definitely has space limitations.  These include the ability to easily guide a large quilt such as a king size quilt through the machine and none or little automated stitch control.  What is Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)?  Free motion quilting is just that.  The quilter is free to quilt in an artistic design by controlling the stitch length through hand and foot coordination.  This is a challenging artistic method to become proficient.  I actually do free motion quilting and take on the challenge of limited space on my sewing machine, to bring you a beautiful quilted design, that is both design and function!

Quilting Design 5a
Free Motion Quilting on my Juki F300 Sewing Machine

An age-old method is hand quilting.  This is the ultimate on free artistic expression.  The quilter has no boundaries except in their own design and ability.  This also takes the most time out of all of the methods.

As I mentioned earlier, there is one more type, tie quilting.  This method involves threading a thick thread or up to a yarn through all the layers of the quilt and tying it off in a bow or knot. We had one growing up and it work just fine. In fact, it is still together after 50 years.

Red Fence Quilting Technique for Table Runners and Quilts

Red Fence Quilting quilts are created using the Free Motion Quilting technique using a sewing machine, my hands, and my creative juices.  There are times, that I will draw out the design ahead of time. Sometimes, I just let go and see what happens in the end.  This makes quilting a lot of fun and some of my best designs are made this way!  Furthermore, I try and let the pattern, colors, and style of the quilt or table runner guide me in designing the quilting pattern.  Ultimately, the finished product is a beautifully quilted quilt or table runner, for you!

Center quilting design on the backing
Center design on the quilt top side

Next time, we will explore some of the finishing steps to producing a quilt in The Stages in Quilt Making – Part 3 Quilt Finishing.

Have a great day!








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