- Think about the personality of the quilt: Is it formal or whimsical, modern or traditional, elegant or casual? Consider stitching motifs that match the mood of the quilt.
- Evaluate the quilt's intended use and recipient: Are you making a quilt for a baby or child, which will get plenty of use and likely be washed and dried? In this case, an allover design might be best. It it an heirloom quilt that will be displayed on special occasions? More elaborate quilting may be called for in that case.
- Keep a three-ring binder of quilting designs, including sketches or printouts of designs you want to try or actual "stitchouts" of patterns you've mastered. If you're sending a quilt out to be finished, see if your quilter has such a book showing what allover, edge-to-edge designs are offered. These may be free-motion designs or pantographs (patterns that are rolled out behind the machine and followed with a laser stylus).
- Get creative with custom quilting. If you want more than an allover design, consider custom quilting, which can range from stitching in the ditch to feathered wreaths to interlocking circles or other shapes. If you're sending a quilt out to be finished, see if your quilter has photos of custom quilt previously done.