Machine Quilting Design Example

We have spent the past ten weeks discussing machine quilting design. As it happens, I have just completed a quilt top and have been going through the exact design process we have been talking about. What great timing! So this week, let’s use the quilt as an example and consider our options for its machine quilting design.

Here is the quilt top before the borders were added. If it looks familiar, it’s because the wreath is made from two of the same swags that were used in the borders of Flourish on the Vine. I am working on a series of smaller “flourish” projects to go along with the quilt pattern that will be coming out this fall – and you will hear more about that in the coming months.

So, the first machine quilting design decision is: allover versus custom fit. No question. We do not want to quilt an allover design randomly over appliqué, so we will be looking for a custom fit design. The first element to consider then would be quilting in the ditch. The appliqué and the border seams would benefit from this approach.

Next, we would think about motifs. This is the motif that was quilted beneath each swag in the original quilt.

Two swags, two motifs? I think so.

Here is how they would look on the quilt.

Now I think there should be a similar type of motif in the corners – something like this:

Here they are on the quilt.

Now we need to think about the background fill. At first, I was thinking about a diagonal grid to add some straight lines as contrast to the curves. I was particularly interested in this basket weave design…

…but I was concerned it would compete with the motifs. Maybe I could use it around the edges of the borders?

I liked the look of that, but there wasn’t enough room between the motifs and the borders. Maybe I could make the center block bigger?

Not sure. I wasn’t sure about the proportions, nor was I certain that the basket weave design fit with everything else. I decided to test quilt a small sample to help me decide (and to test different threads).

As much as I still liked the basket weave, I concluded that it would have to wait for another project. Stippling would once again be the background fill of choice. I then began to consider the possibility of a curved border treatment, and after many tries ended up with this fairly simple modification:

Quarter-inch circles quilted around the border edges might create a nice beaded look.

As for the quilting in the borders, I’m going to quilt the fabric print!

I might even curve the outer edges and add a clamshell edge finish – we’ll see!

Stay tuned to see how it turns out!

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  1. Awesome! Really lovely looking.

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