The first two posts on Machine Quilting Ideas featured quilts that were contemporary, and the quilting that I chose was an all-over repeat of one motif. For today’s post, we will look at a more traditional approach, one that I will call “Divide & Conquer”. This is where different motifs are chosen for blocks, sashing, backgrounds, borders, etc. Let’s look at Easy Street:For this quilt, I developed different quilting designs for the blocks, background, and borders. Here is a view of the blocks:
To stitch this flower motif, first I outlined the block, and then drew a chalk pencil line of a circle in the center of the block. I stitched the circle, and then free-hand stitched large 8 large petals. I could aim each petal towards to top, bottom, and sides of the block. Then I added echoed petals by stitching within each petal. This makes the design more interesting, and also helps detract from any errors by giving you more lines to look at.
For the background, I made a simple feather design:You can barely see a circle placed between the two points of the blocks. From there, I travelled down to make the teardrop at the bottom, and added large feathers as I moved back up to the circle. That positioned me to move to the other side and do a mirrored motif. That might seem intimidating, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is if you practice by drawing it several times first.
Finally, here are the borders:The inner border has two lines of stitching, each done as a zigzag that overlap to make squares on point. You can see that this is far from perfect! But there are areas of the quilt where I did much better after more practice. Some of these points were marked for me by the corner of the blocks and the outer borders, so I just stitched point-to-point. I may have marked the other points with pins or chalk. The outer border was easy to stitch by curving from point to point, with an additional echo on the outer edge.
Divide and conquer is another approach to quilting when you don’t want an all-over design. It helps to accentuate certain shapes, and can provide smaller areas to show off a more elaborate motif, for example a feathered wreath. Or, as in this case, you can use it to show off simple motifs!