Tuesday, 2 April 2013

FMQ Design Part 2

Last week I blogged in the FMQ series about design, and it was a fun blog to write, but I was left feeling like I had listed resources and placed for inspiration and not much about my actual process - basically how do I do I go from blank canvas to finished quilt...

My usual blog style is to explain things from my perspective, last week was hopefully useful to you, but I feel like it needs more..

So how do I take a blank canvas and change it?

Well I am a huge fan of Angela Walters and her attitude that quilting should be fun - if your not having fun then what's the point right?

To begin with I have only been machine quilting since January 2012. Before that I was a firm hand quilter having attempted machine quilting and failed at every turn. The books seemed impossibly hard to decipher and everything I found said that I had to be accurate - something I just can't do!

A short deadline on a quilt for mini changed that I completed my first machine quilter quilt in less then 2 weeks - a single bed quilt that he drags around everywhere!

Now I love machine quilting, I turn to it first, but how do I decide on how to quilt?

For me is it about looking at the space. Take this quilt that is mid quilting:

This quilt is made up of triangles left over from the Tula Pink Quilt. They have been sewn onto the white top using the quilt as you go method with the edges still raw - I kinda like the way they are unravelling!

According to mini, who has claimed it as his, it looks like a snake of kites! 

There is loads of space to play in as you can see - Negative Space. I wanted to continue the idea of swirls so I have fanned out from the main line of triangles and the used tight swirls, pebble and waves in the spaces.

The blank canvas could be scary, but I see it as a place to play, a space to have fun in trying out new ideas. It reminds me of waves crashing onto pebbles! 

The back shows the intensity of the stitching, all of the shapes formed as well as the travel stitching which is the areas I have travelled back along the design to get together point - they are the heavily sewn sections.

This quilt is going to crammed full of stitches and designs - maybe along the same theme, maybe not. I am just letting the design play out at the moment.

This small baby quilt I made last week has been quilted very differently. I didn't want to detract from the fabrics. They are Sweetwater, which are my favourite so I wanted them to play centre stage. So only the negative space, in this case cream, is quilted in matching thread with a meandering hearts and swirls pattern. Very pretty, but not heavy. The quilt has a light weight feel to it, which suits a baby quilt ad the visual impact of the fabric isn't imposed on by the quilting, added to in a delicate way.

Maxi's city quilt is another example of quilting on the quilting table. The quilt has huge, lush curves and hard rectangles built into the patchwork.So far I have decided on this mixture of swirls and pebbles, but I am letting the rest of the design sink in before I move onto more sections. I want to add to the design created by the patchwork...

In each case I am going for a different feel, adding more texture either in buckets or very gently. But in all cases I have fun!

Are my designs perfect?

NO. They most definitely are not, but they will be gorgeous and much loved quilts when they are finished, and I will have learnt something new....

If you want to catch the rest in the series you can here:


  1. I am in awe of your quilting...and I can't believe that no one else has left a comment to that effect!!

  2. So glad you are enjoying the process and having FUN!!! Looks great!!

    1. I love it! I could spend days just doing FMQ... but then no-one would get fed!