Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quilting Design Class

I mentioned before that my goal is to become better at machine quilting, so I signed up for a quilting design class at the Utah Quilt Festival, taught by Megan Legas (on the right in the picture below). Pretty soon after the class started I found out that she is pretty much strictly a hand quilter, and as the class went on I realized more and more that designing quilting designs for hand quilting and designing quilting designs for machine quilting are two very different things! I am a firm believer though that you can learn something from every class you take, even if it is not what you thought it was going to be. And I was right! I did learn a lot, it was a fantastic class. Plus I would really like to try my hand at hand quilting again sometime. I think hand quilted quilts are beautiful, as you can see in the pictures below of quilts made by Megan, that she brought to illustrate some of the tips she was teaching us.

She said some of the things to consider when deciding how to quilt your quilt are: 
1) How much is the quilting design going to stand out in your quilt? You do not want to spend a lot of time doing fancy quilting on a busy print, because it will hardly get noticed anyway.
2) How will the quilt be used? Same concept, you do not want to spend a great deal of time quilting a baby quilt or one that will get used and washed a lot. An overall design typically works great for these.
3) Is the quilt traditional or contemporary? 
4) How much do you enjoy quilting? She said sometimes it is better to do something simple and get the quilt finished than to frustrate yourself and have an unfinished quilt.

I thought these were great tips although I decided that sometimes I might do some fancy quilting on a print fabric (like in a border), just for practice! That way I am getting some good practice in, and yet it won't show all that much if I make some mistakes.

I remember once calling my friend Phyllis, who quilts on a long arm machine, and saying "I ruined my quilt when I machine quilted it!" She told me to put it away for a couple of weeks and then look at it again and I would feel differently. She was right! I pulled it out a couple of weeks later and decided that it actually looked pretty good! When you first finish a quilt, you know where every mistake is. That memory fades pretty fast because there are more important things to worry about. Check out Leah Day's blog today on "Stitching Silly Thoughts". She talks about getting rid of those negative thoughts about our quilting.

Some other tips from Megan include:
1) Her favorite marking tool is a #3 pencil. 2) Quilt over a seam to make it go away, next to a seam makes it stand out, in the ditch to make the block stand out. 3) Quilting design is enhanced by repetition. 4) Mark as lightly as possible. 5) One line makes a space, two lines makes a line. 6) Draw quilting design options on wax paper or tracing paper to audition on the quilt top. 7) Quilt through appliqué and especially embroidery. She said just quilting around it looks bad. 
In this quilt below, she quilted a half of a crosshatch through the embroidered blocks and it looks great!

Here is the back of the quilt above.

Isn't her quilting amazing?? This quilt (below) is not trapunto, she just used one layer of wool batting. She really likes wool for hand quilting and absolutely does NOT like bamboo batting for hand quilting.

Then she had class members bring up quilt tops and we discussed quilting design ideas for that particular top. This is the part of the class I found the most helpful. It is overwhelming looking at a completed top and thinking "Ok, now what am I going to do?" Megan and other class members gave great suggestions and I learned a lot. I was so impressed by this quilt in the picture below that I went online and ordered the pattern, Eldon, from Laundry Basket Quilts. I just think it is stunning and the maker used Civil War reproduction fabrics, of which I have a LOT, so this pattern will help me put them to good use.... After I finish Dear Jane!

The colors were so beautiful, I had to take these pictures of the hills and mountains behind the resort.

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