July 5th, 2010
So I finished this quilt top for my step daughter Leah, it's all basted and ready to go. But I can't decide if I want to hand quilt it or not. I have never hand quilted a quilt before, and I don't know what kind of pattern I would use. This is the top of the quilt. It's very basic, and I was thinking maybe a simple diamond pattern if I decide to machine quilt it. But I would be up to doing something different if I found a good pattern. Does anyone know of any place online that I could find hand quilting patterns?
With the borders it's almost the size of a twin sheet, 40"x75".
I'm bored out of my skull because I have tendonitis and can't sew for a few weeks, but I think I could manage some gentle sketching. I'd love to play around with creating a Welsh quilting design for your quilt, I've been dying to try inventing something from that book, but I can't work out its measurements. Could you tell me how many blocks are in there (I can see that it's 5 blocks wide but not the length), how wide each block is, how wide the borders are, and whether there's anything other than the wide strip of dotted fabric in the borders? Even if you don't like my sketch, hopefully it will give you some ideas and a starting point to work from.
While I'm on the subject, Welsh quilting can involve the following motifs:
Cables of all kinds
Flowers (e.g. tulips, roses, fantasy flowers)
Paisley or Welsh Pear
Fans and circles
Geometric designs made from any of the above
Anything in particular you fancy or don't fancy? Bear in mind that Welsh quilting designs are all medallion-based, so that there'd be a large central design and then wide borders. What sort of distance would you want between lines of stitching?
In case you're wondering why I'm looking at your quilt top and reaching for the Welsh quilting book, here are my reasons.
1. I'm madly in love with Welsh quilting anyway, I think it has enormous style and manages to avoid falling into the trap of being twee which is rather common to quilting. It also makes a refreshing change from the usual quilting patterns you see around, while remaining classic. (I bought the book for elfbystarlight
and all on its own it got her out of a sewing rut and speeding through making a wedding quilt for her sister, some of which you can see here
complete with ginger cat posing as a gargoyle.)
2. Your piecing is large, simple, and uses gentle, light fabrics with little contrast. (None of this is a bad thing, btw, it's merely a certain style.) This makes it ideal to show off an interesting quilting pattern, it provides just the right level of quiet background to enhance the quilting without competing with it.
3. You've got wide, plain borders which are simply crying out for an exciting border design. This wil fit beautifully with the Welsh custom of building the quilting pattern out from the centre, as opposed to block by block. It would be a criminal offence to do an all-over pattern such as clamshell quilting on this lovely top.
And incidentally, you may want to cross-post to sewing_cats
I've uploaded some photos from the Welsh quilting book to give you an idea of what sort of designs I'm talking about. For the quilting diagrams, the red lines show the piecing and the black lines show the quilting. You can make these designs as simple or as complicated, as dense or as widely spaced, as you like. Click on the images and then look at the large size versions.
Meanwhile, I'm going to sketch out some nice Welsh designs for the baby quilt
I'm making for my cousin.
Um, I am so in love with you right now. :) This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and YES I totally agree that those large borders are screaming for a pretty quilting pattern. I would love anything you could do.
Of those you posted, the Cariad quilt is by far my favorite. The hearts and swirls (spirals?) just seem very whimsical and playful and that's what I'm trying to go for.
Here is the entire top:
5 blocks by 7 blocks. Each block is just shy of 12" (around 11 1/2) and the border is also about 11 1/2" inches. I didn't take into account seam allowances when cutting, so the border was cut to length at 12" wide, and I have about 1/4" seam allowance on each side. Same with the blocks, the large ones were cut to 12" and after sewing are about 11 1/2". I did try to account for seam allowances on the smaller blocks simply so the pieced squares were the same size as the larger ones.
And I love the baby quilt. Very serene.
I've only done a bit of a sketch, but I thought I'd show it to you at this stage. If you're falling in love with Welsh quilting too, go and get the book, it has lots of gorgeous ideas (including a second cariad quilt) and a very thorough section teaching you how to draft the various patterns.
I think the spirals are too large in the inner borders, those are 11 1/2" blocks we're talking about, but the main thing I was playing with here was how to make up for the rectangular size and still have it look balanced, where I think it's not doing too badly. I drew the border before starting on the centre, and I think we're getting towards hearts overkill, but then I'm biased (hearts don't do it for me) and it's totally a personal thing. It could work perfectly well with that many hearts, especially as they're big so you can do different fillings.
I see what you mean. One large heart would be good, I don't think we need hearts all over. Though I do like that border.
I'll be picking that book up this weekend, I think.
I look forward to seeing your designs! You could replace those hearts in the middle borders with leaves or flowers or something instead, the main idea was to balance things out over the extra horizontal strips so that they didn't stand out. As I said, I'm not keen on hearts myself, but they're growing on me (I could probably do a heart design for someone else quite happily) and that design in the book does have a nice bouncy feeling to it, doesn't it. The second cariad quilt has one heart in the centre and then various other motifs in the borders. This book is particularly good in that respect, there are plenty of medallion quilts where I had to sit and look at them for a while to spot the extra horizontal strips, because they get blended in beautifully. And isn't it all so inspiring?
Do remember that hand-quilting isn't the speediest pastime on this planet and you won't get this done overnight, or anywhere near it, but on the other hand it will look gorgeous. Purple thread would be good, I think. I've not actually done any Welsh quilting yet, though I'm starting to sketch for that baby quilt, and I'm still trying to get used to the scale when sketching. The original cariad quilt in the photo is fairly small, and I don't think my scale was very good for that pattern, you'd end up with biggish unquilted spaces. On the other hand, traditional Welsh quilting is madly dense because the wool they used as batting had to be quilted every 1", whereas with modern battings you can quilt a lot further apart than that and thus change the scale of the patterns so that you're not quilting till doomsday. The quilts in the book are all quite small and quite densely quilted, so I reckon you could scale them all up quite easily.
Don't forget to get yourself a good book on hand-quilting too. The Welsh quilts book has a page on it, but you really can't cover hand-quilting technique in a page and it doesn't even explain how to bury the knot. I like to use an Aunt Becky for my under-finger, there are various options (look up "spoon quilting") if you don't like pricking your under-finger, although for some reason they're rarely mentioned in books (though the Beyer does discuss them).
|Date:||July 7th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)|| |
The border is only partly drawn, my arm is starting to hurt a bit, plus you may not like it anyway, but I thought I'd continue that overlapping semicircles thing in outline at least. Come to that, I've only filled some of the diamonds in the middle border, which have leaves on a stem in case you can't quite make it out, along with a double line for the diamonds (Welsh quilting seems to put double lines everywhere it possibly can) and little loopy hearts in between them. This design is mostly taken from the two cariad quilts in the book, there are loads of other options. I think I might prefer a slightly more flowing border in the middle, but on the other hand one made up of individual motifs might be easier to arrange with regard to pretending that the two horizontal middle borders equate to the one vertical border, and I think the way that the flowers and leaves are spread out overall looks good. I'm having the most tremendous fun doing this!
In case you're curious, here's a sketch I've done for mine. It's quite nice, but I might see if I can come up with something which will look better on the sashing, as the quilting will stand out far more there than it will in the blocks. I've got plenty of time, I'll probably do loads of sketches. Those little motifs just outside the centre circle are called Welsh scissors, by the way.