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Machine Quilting: Sizing Designs

Changing the size of your designs can add interest and movement to your quilting.

Looking for more quilting design inspiration? See more here.



"Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with Handi Quilter ambassador Angela Walters. And we're going to talk today about the importance of scale when you're doing your quilting designs and how that can make a big difference in the finish look of your quilts. You've got some examples to share with us." " I do. I get really bored really easily and so quilting pebbles or swirls over the whole quilt, I feel like my mind kind of goes numb after awhile. So I find that changing the size or the scale of the design really helps add a little bit of interest to your quilt, but also keeps it fun and interesting. "And I did bring samples, of course. So here's a great example of just a classic pebble design. Now usually pebbles are consistent in their size. But here I've kind of changed up the size. I have some bigger ones. Some smaller ones just to soften the texture of it and create a little bit of interest in that area." "And helping you fill in the gaps if you can't make them consistently, as some of us can't." "Exactly. Or you could even do the same thing with paisleys. Here I show how you can go from smaller to bigger. So it's really fun to change up within the design. But you can take it a step further if you're an overachiever, which I know you are, and you can change the scale from top to bottom, so let me show you what that looks like. Now here I have a nice graphic quilt, and so I thought I'd be nice to soften that up with some pebbles in the background. But I didn't want to do tiny pebbles over the whole thing, so I started smaller on one side then gradually worked up bigger pebbles as I got the other, and it creates a nice interesting look in the background. That's not that harder than just quilting regular pebbles." "And I think I might have done this unintentionally on a project or two, because with the long arm you have a limited amount of space on a whole quilt, so if you're working on a big quilt, sometimes you have to work on 10 inches of the design then roll your quilt forward and work and the next ten inches and I'm not always good at keeping things consistent, because I forget how small I was making it or like you, my enthusiasm for making tiny things runs out before the project is complete. So tell me about how you would go about changing in the scale as you're working down the project." "It's actually very easy. So you're going to pick the quilting area that you're working on. Now this could be the whole quilt or maybe a larger area of the quilt. And you're going to mark it off in sections. So if you wanted to go from top to bottom or corner to corner, however you want to do that, you're going to go ahead and mark it out. So here I have the rectangle. I'm going to get a water soluble pen or marking utensil and I'm going to just separate it in sections. Now for here, let's say I wanted to go smaller in the corner and then gradually bigger, so I would just mark two general lines to generally divided into three sections. And then I'll start quilting. So let's do pebbles." "And the importance of having a water soluble marker as opposed to an air soluble marker is you want that designed to be there a little bit longer in case you stop your project midway through. But you do want it to be something that will go away, not a permanent mark." "Yes because we're going to remove that before we get done. So in the first section I'm gonna quilt pebbles the smallest, in the middle section a little bit bigger, and in the last section even larger." "Alright, let's see your transitions." "I'm just going to start with a little pebble and just filling in the area. Now as I work my way across when I start to get into the next section, I'll just start quilting a little bit bigger. And I'm not going to worry about the line, like it doesn't have to fall right on the line. I just know that once I get over here they're just going to get it a bit bigger. And the reason you mark off your sections, is if you're working on a larger quilt, you wan to be able to remember where you kind of want that line to fall." "And with that pebbling design, I'm noticing that you're changing directions. You're going sort of like a figure eight design to keep things smoother, is that right?" "Yes, just like a figure eight. And always moving forward, you don't want to go back. So I'll go one direction, I'll go around and maybe do the alternate direction just to kind of help them get close to each other. And I'll just finish quilting the whole quilt this way. So as you can see, you get a nice gradiation with the design from the smaller to the larger. And another thing I want to point out is you may notice I'm not filling in the sections all the way for the tiny one, the littlest pebbles I'm not going to be filling in. Because if you think in the context of a hole quilt, you might have to work in one section and then move on to the next before you can fill it. Does that make sense? So, you don't have to do each section separately. You could easily go from one to the other and then if you need to, then you can work your way back depending on the quilt and what you're working on." "But it helps to have those lines there for the whole time that you're doing it because then you know it's a visual cue in keeping your sections sort of straight from one another." "Yes, and if you're working over a whole large quilt and you have some hanging over, you're not going to maybe remember exactly where you had that marked out, so that helps give you a road map, just a guide." "Terrific, so when it comes time to erase the water soluble marker, you'll have a gradual treat." "All you'll see is a transition." "Great idea. I love the idea of changing the scale of the quilting motifs to change up the look of my finished quilts. Give it a try."