It’s surprising, and a little sad that so little guidance is available about quilting design. So many of us have lovely patchwork tops which remain unfinished because we are not sure how to design quilting that will complement our piecing – not to mention the more daunting task of designing a wholecloth quilt.
The simplest way to quilt a patchwork top is to stitch straight lines to form a grid pattern over the whole surface. This does not need free machining, but is easily quilted by hand, or by using a walking foot on the machine, which automatically gives an even stitch length.
As the lines go straight across from one edge to the other, there is no need to worry about starting and finishing invisibly. Another advantage for a large quilt is that it does not need to be constantly turned around under the machine.
There are a number of grid patterns that can be used – for more information about this, go to the Grid Quilting page where there is also advice about how to move the quilting lines to a position where they avoid bulky seam allowances as far as possible – this makes it easier to stitch.
If you would like to learn how to work out the best spacing and placement of grid lines like this, a technique pack on Grid Quilting is available in my online Shop.
Borders are an area where a more interesting quilting design will show up well. Cables are a popular choice, but the commercially available stencils are rarely the correct size for your own projects.
Different sizes and styles of cables are possible – this one is narrower than the one above.
The cable below is also found on the same antique White North Country Strippy Wholecloth, but has a different appearance, as the cable goes under and over like a twisted rope:
Drafting a cable design yourself is not as difficult as you might think.
I have designed a way of stretching or squashing a background grid to whatever shape and size is needed for your quilt, and written instructions which explain how to draw the cable, step-by-step.
A technique pack for Drafting a Cable Grid is available in my online Shop for £5. As well as step-by-step instructions for both styles of cable, and a variety of sizes of grids to practice with, this pack includes access to a Microsoft Word file of the Mastergrid, so that you can then print out a grid of whatever size you need (sorry, no version yet available for Apple computers).