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Tricks for Combining Quilting Designs

Try combining designs on your quilt instead of using just one allover design. Angela Walters gives you some helpful hints.

Looking for more quilting design inspiration? See more here.



"Hi, I'm Linda from American Patchwork & Quilting and I'm here with Angela Walters, who is the ambassador for Handi Quilter, and we're going to talk a little bit today about the allover design for your quilt top. But we're going to change it up a little bit. I know I've seen a lot of designs where it's not just one allover design, but there's many different elements in it. So tell me more about that." "Well I get bored easily and I get bored quilting the same design over and over, so sometimes it's fun to throw in different designs in your quilt. And the quilts I have to show you do just that." "That's perfect." "Now this quilt (you can tell I pieced it together because there's not much going on there) has a lot of negative space. Let me show you on the back you can kind of see more of the quilting that I've done. Now I think when you're working on a quilt it can be kind of intimidating. How do you break up the space? How do you go about doing that? One thing I like to do is use the quilting to break it up. So here I've quilted a nice big row of circles and then filled in above it and below it. So go ahead and add that divider first and then fill around it." "Perfect." "Another example would be this quilt right here. Now this might be me showing off just a little bit." "But it's beautiful." "What you can do again is work your way down the whole quilt area, irregardless of the blocks or the elements of the quilt itself by quilting rows of different quilting designs. Going from the feather to a different filler and having fun that way. Now if you're not a fan of doing it in rows, or let's say you're working on a home sewing machine where that's a little bit less convenient, you can combine designs within the quilt itself. And I have two really little samples here that kind of shows you how you can throw a lot of different designs in there and have a good time with it. So here I've combined some swirls, and some leaves, and some pebbles and really let you have more fun and add a whole other texture to your quilt. And this is just another little sample of that. But this is the one I'm actually going to show you. You might think would be a little hard to combine some of these designs, but there's actually a little bit of a rhythm to it and it's easier than you might think." "Yeah, I was wondering, do you start with the largest one or the smallest one, so I hope you're going to show me that." "Absolutely. Well whatever designs you want to work with, so sometimes I'll think through what I want to quilt, so this time let's just do some swirls and other stuff, the biggest thing to remember is you want to do the bigger element first, so for me that's going to be the swirl. I'm going to quilt that first. It's easier to go ahead and quilt the bigger item and then fill in with the litter ones right. So however you want, and I might add just another little swirl over here. And then I'm going to use the medium-size element, so maybe that's that little flower I was talking about. And this kind of design, it's more important that the whole area is filled in as consistently as possible, I'm not worried about the individual elements, I just want to make sure there's no holes in the quilting. So by starting with the bigger element, then adding the next size, then using those pebbles or a back-and-forth line to really kind of fill in is what will help to make sure that whole area gets filled in nicely." "So you're filling in as you go, and you're adding transition pieces as you go?" "Yep. And there's really no method. It's not like I'm saying two swirls to every four pebbles. You'll find a good routine that works. Just know that you have those little guys, the little pebbles to kind of fill in." "That makes sense." "Now you might think this is a lot of stuff to put on a quilt, wand it is. It could be overwhelming but when I actually quilt this on a quilt top, I'm going to use a thread color that blends, because I don't want the quilting to take away from the quilt. So on the samples I've shown today I used a contrasting threads so you can really see it, but normally on a regular quilt this is how I'd work my way across with a thread color that blends." "If you wanted something that was a little larger in scale, you could do this same design in larger pieces." "Oh yeah, deepening on how much you want to show off or how much you want to get it done fast you can make it smaller or bigger. It doesn't matter." "Well, thank you so much, Angela. I think these ideas are really great for showing me how to make an allover design on a quilt, but doing it in a way that's just not one plain allover design." "Exactly." "I hope this has inspired all of you, as well, to give this a try on your own quilts."