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Something New in Every Block

A couple of months ago, I was asked to add custom quilting to a quilt top that my friend Janet had made.  I have known Janet for a while now, and she is known for being a great teacher and art quilter, so I  was excited to see what she had to bring me.   The quilt top did not disappoint!  It was made from a gorgeous collection of Batik fabrics, in all the colors of the rainbow…what a treat for a dreary March day in the last weeks of the longest winter EVER!


As always, I asked Janet how she would like to have her quilt top quilted.  She presented me with some block designs in a pattern book.  She knew she wanted each block to have the same design quilted into it, but she left the design choice up to me.  After considering the overall tone of the quilt, and which motif might compliment it best, I chose and enlarged the design to fit the block.  (I just use my copier to enlarge, using the good ole trial and error method)


I wish I would’ve been able to get a better photo of the block design…this was the best one I could come up with.

Janet and I both liked the “wrought iron fence” motif for the sashing, and we decided that whatever design we chose for the borders would blend in and went with an overall pattern.

Another element of quilting I discuss with each client is density. Some quiltmakers prefer light quilting, while others prefer a lot of background quilting to set off the block designs as in this quilt:

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Since this quilt was a gift, and Janet wasn’t sure what the recipient’s plans were, we settled on simple block quilting, without a lot of fussy background quilting.

One of the best things about my job is discovering the intricacies of each quilt as I am quilting it. Some quilts are pretty straight forward, having little variation in block design, color or value. Others are like treasure hunts, full of twists and turns, and delightful surprises.

The first portion of this quilt to be quilted was the border. The block designs themselves are quilted from behind the machine, following the motif with a laser light. Therefore, it wasn’t until I did the quilting in the sashing that I found out how complex this quilt was. Each block was made of the same shapes, but they were all different. The pattern (Confetti in the Corner, by Atkinson Designs) had provided building blocks that could be interchanged, and Janet had used color and value to ensure that each block was unique.

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I loved discovering the idiosyncrasies of each block! That’s one of the things I have always enjoyed about making quilts, the freedom to create a unique work of art even while following a pattern…the world is wide open to the quilt-maker through the use of placement, color and value.

The finished product is quite beautiful…even Mabel approves:



Have you ever pieced a quilt that gave you design opportunities like this? If so, I’d love to see a photo!

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