Friday, October 04, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The quilting world seems to be enamored with quilts that are covered in free motion quilting. As I’m learning to free motion quilt, I can see the appeal – up to a point. A heavily quilted area will make a less quilted area pop. The effect can be quite stunning.

Partially quilted wall hanging
This is what I did with my paper pieced wall hanging. Originally, I lightly quilted the border and some of the design elements. The star and the area surrounding it were only stitched-in-the-ditch. After seeing that “popping” effect on quilts at the Philadelphia quilt show, I went back and stippled the blue area surrounding the star. What a difference this makes (the pictures, unfortunately, don't do it justice).

In this case, and because it’s a wall hanging, some background free motion quilting makes a lot of sense. What I’m not convinced of is doing this much quilting on a quilt that is made to be cuddled, such as a
Finished Sunflower Fun Wall Hanging
throw or bed cover.

A few years ago, I took a machine quilting course. To practice, I decided that I would machine quilt one of the cuddle quilts that I was making. Our guild gives these to the local hospital for premature newborn babies to help keep them warm and to brighten up the room. So, on I went to quilt the cuddle quilt with a few different motifs I had learned. It wasn't quilted densely, but more than just stitch-in-the-ditch. That practice quilt was so stiff that even Boots, my brother’s dog, wouldn't sleep on it!  I’m sure that some of that stiffness can be reduced by using different batting, but I've decided that I’ll keep practicing my free motion quilting on wall hangings and table runners and keep my quilts cuddly!


  1. ive been wondering for yrs the same thing, how much quilting is to much - i don't think our grandmas -1900s - would have done that much sewing - but how much keeps it together - is today's quilting just a way to show off our sewing vs something warm

    1. Hi. I think that it's probably both. I have found that quilts with heavy quilting will become softer after a few washings. I'm not quite as negative about it as before. It seems to be the fashion but many are also going back to the super simple quilting with long stitches. It's quite lovely.


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