As a quilter there are many challenges you face when designing, sewing and ultimately quilting the finished product. Here are the 5 most important steps that you need to complete before the finished product can be proudly displayed and viewed by others.
Choosing the fabric for the quilt can be one of the most challenging and exciting tasks facing the quilter or one of the most frustrating. Color choices can indeed determine the overall success of your quilt because it can either be alive and sparkle with its color or be dull, drab and boring due to the lack of it.
Since you might be like most quilters and wish you were wealthy enough to have the complete “stash” that contains every fabric that you ever could want to use, choosing your fabrics carefully is important. Colors chosen for the background should be quiet, more neutral so as not to call attention to this part of the quilt and allow for the printed colors to jump out and shine.
There are two recommended quilter color tests that will help in your selection. First, place the colors next to each other to be sure they compliment and do not detract from each other. The second and equally important is to stand back at least six feet and look carefully to see how the fabrics melt or mix together.
Select fabrics that will enhance your pattern. Use the color wheel to help in the selection of colors that compliment or intensify. The hot colors of yellow and orange will dominate the quilt and conversely, the cool shades of blues will add a depth dimension to your quilt. Remember that the neutral shades are pleasant to the eye and allow for the others hues to show their true color.
Be sure to prewash all fabric, tumble dry and iron prior to cutting for your projects.
It is always wise to buy a little extra fabric in case of wrong cuts than to be short. This way you can add the extra to that fabric stash for your next project!
Whether you plan to use a precut pattern, draft your own blocks, use a template or cut out pieces with a rotary blade, the design of the quilt becomes your true masterpiece. Whether your blocks are pieced or appliquéd, simple or complex, each can be connected block to block or with sashings and cornerstones. Another alternative that frames the blocks and gives a three dimensional look to your block is a framed or window block. Blocks can be set on a horizontal pattern running crosswise or lengthwise. Another alternative would be the zigzag effect which is produced by placing the blocks diagonally.
Enhancing or enlarging a block or the size of the quilt can be easily done by the adding of borders. Well-designed borders add to the colors in the quilt blocks, as well as bring out designs and shapes featured in the blocks. Interesting borders can be pieced, appliquéd, and mitered corners add stunning results that frame the blocks in the center.
No matter the colors or the design that is chosen, the construction or the sewing of the quilt has rules that need to be followed carefully.
Be sure to sew exactly ¼ “ seams from edge to edge. If possible, keep the straight of the grain on the outside edges of the quilt section. Press the seams in what is called “opposing seams.” This pressing of the seams in opposite directions allows the matching of the points or corners and always pin the points of matching prior to sewing.
Once the quilt top is completed, a layer of batting is then sandwiched between this top and a lower layer of fabric. Once the fabrics are arranged, stretched smooth, and basted together with long running stitches to hold the layers together until the quilting can be completed. Choosing to quilt by hand or to machine quilt is an individual preference.
When quilting by hand, since the stitches create the design, it is important that each one be made carefully. A simple running stitch is used, though the size differs from one quilter to another in the number of stitches to an inch, it is more important that each stitch be uniform in length. Usually a 5 – 8 stitch per inch is considered to be pleasing and attractive hand quilting.
As a machine quilter, you can have the option for a quicker and often time’s stronger stitch since the machine is being utilized. Work is done in small areas at a time, since maneuvering the material under the arm of the machine is often cumbersome and tricky. An alternative to this process would be the quilter’s long arm, which is designed to not only work on a larger quilted area, but more intricate design patterns.
The final and often times over-looked step is giving your quilt a name. Many quilts many be placed in a quilt show, or sold on line, but some may be just love and meant to spend hours being loved and cuddled with by that special person who was lucky enough to be the recipient of a handmade quilt. After the many hours the labors of love on the quilt, take time to personalize it by giving it the unique, special touch, it very own name.
Time to quilt