15 February, 2014

The Quilting Plan...

In years past as a quilt teacher, I have shared the following method I often use to to design the quilting plan for my quilts.  I use this technique when I want to visualize the designs on the actual top - without drawing them on the fabric.  It occurred to me when someone asked me about it recently, that a few quilters in Blogland might be interested also.

My design ideas usually originate in the process of creating the quilt top.  To visually confirm what I have pictured in my mind, I start with clear plastic material that is typically used to cover table cloths, furniture, etc.  I believe most fabric and/or upholstery stores carry some form of the stuff.  I purchase mine locally at a country store that sells a little of everything including fabric goods.
Plastic sheeting comes in a variety of thicknesses.
The plastic sheeting comes on a roll and is usually available in multiple weights.  I choose one that is stiff enough not to drape when hanging on my design wall.

My sample is a small quilt top I made about 15+ years ago as the result of a guild challenge. This little quilt has been one of my PIPs (Projects in Progress) ever since.  Because it's February, I thought it would be fun to finally finish it.

Cover the quilt with the plastic. 
When designing the quilt plan for a small quilt 
cut the piece slightly larger than the top. 

My plan is to turn this little top into a pillow cover.
Secure the plastic to the top with safety pins.
The bent basting safety pins work best.
For a small project like this one, pinning at the corners is usually enough.
For a larger project I might also pin along the
inner border or at strategic points throughout the quilt.
When working on a large quilt it, 
sometimes it is easier to design the quilting in sections.
With the quilt hung on a design wall or laid out flat
each section can be covered with plastic to focus on independently.

 The PIP and the quilter will be able to determine the best method.

This heart needs feathers!
Use a marker that can be easily wiped off the plastic
during the design process and  start drawing. 
Just watch your sleeves!

I draw most of my designs freehand, but a template can be used
to trace a design onto the plastic over the quilt.

At this stage I am simply playing with what I think will fit the quilt.

Sometimes my hand does not draw what my mind tells it to!
If I draw something I don't like . . . I can wipe it off. 

A dry cloth will remove most markers at this stage.
  I keep doodling and drawing until I am happy with the general plan.
At this stage I don't draw every line or feather.
This is simply a visual plan. 

However, if desired, the designs can be drawn in complete detail
and then cut to serve as a template to mark the designs
directly onto the quilt top.

Please be sure to remove the quilt top before cutting the plastic!
(I had a student learn that lesson the hard way.)

 For this project the feathered heart on the pieced heart was a given.
I like the way the gracefulness of the feathers
contrasts with the simple piecing.

I wanted the background to compliment the simplicity of the little top.
I chose diagonal lines that surround the heart 
instead of a grid or stippling which were my other ideas.
I like the way the lines surround the heart
to keep it the focal point.

The outer border needed more feathers to bring consistency to the quilt.
I first thought I might do a simple feather border 
that traveled in one direction around the top.
Instead, I decided to have the feathers meet at the top and the bottom
like they do in the heart;
they will 'fly' in the opposite direction.

My design will is still under construction!
 With the quilt hung on my design wall I am able 
to step back to make sure I'm happy with the quilting plan.

The design plan is used as a reference.

After I remove the plastic from the quilt I often hang it on my 
design wall or the window that I quilt in front of
as a guide while I quilt.

My favorite seat in the house!

Please come back in a day or two to see the finished project fully quilted.

Gelukkig quilten!