Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quilt as You Desire!

Tip and Tricks by Donna Westerkamp

(c)2012 all rights reserved

Over the years, quilting has become much more than a hobby; quilting has become an art. Designs can

now showcase new levels of intricacies, and stitches now capture artistic excellence. Quilts overall

have developed regional flavors, personal art forms and artistic expressions far beyond their humble

beginnings. Because quilting has become such an artistic form of individual expression, the new age of

quilting has influenced quilters to break molds and ideas previously established; quilters have begun to

quilt as they desire.

For this reason, quilting is now an exercise in self-expression and self-teachings. Beyond the basics of

piecing, padding and backing, we quilters must take our designs, patterns, fabrics and thread weights into

our own hands to develop artistic and expressive quilts. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.


To best design a quilt, it is important to study others’ quilts. These will often inspire you to incorporate a

design or stitch into your own artistic expression. Some great places to study quilts include quilt shows,

books and magazines, the internet and friends’ quilts. Each of these resources can be used to discuss the

quilts with the quilters, peruse the designs and intricacies at your leisure, obtain step-by-step instructions

and/or find insider tips.

Once you have inspiration, you should consider a few things to help decide on a design. First, considering

your audience will assist in the design process: A traditional or modern audience can influence you to

use different fabrics, colors or pieces. Second, fabric choice can determine a design. For example, a busy

fabric can influence a simpler design or a star pattern could prompt you to showcase a night sky design.

Proven Artistic Techniques

Design can be difficult when creating a truly artistic quilt. Thankfully, though, there are a few proven

artistic techniques that can help you decide on the perfect design. First, consider your scale and symmetry

to create impact. Next, use opposites to create contrast and interest, like curves on a mostly geometric

piece. Finally, crosshatch around applique, like icing on a cake, can make a plain quilt stand out.

Quilting Tips

The following tips may help your quilt express your artistic vision:

Backing should always complement your quilt yet not take away from its beauty. Busy fabrics

may be distracting and uncomplimentary, but can work in your design if the busy backing does

not show through the top design.

In batting choices, if you want an antique look after a wash, cotton is perfect because it shrinks to

make the quilt look well-used. If you want the quilt to remain new-looking after washing, wool

and polyester are your best choices. Beware of discount batting – you never know what you are

going to get.

Threads can offer you quilt a different feel, depending on the thread type. Cotton is made to blend

into the fabric. Poly/cotton is designed to showcase thread work, and monofilaments and other

specialty threads will either blend in or stand out, depending on the tread.

Quilting can be one of the most satisfying ways to express your creativity. As a truly artistic self-

expressive medium, quilting now transcends the traditional craft to the modern art, and quilters

everywhere are learning to develop outstanding fabric designs. These tips and design tricks may help you

design your next artistic vision, but it is you who must truly quilt as you desire.

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