Sunday, July 17, 2011

Free Motion Stitch Theory

Sounds ominous and frightening! Like Molecular Gastronomy or Organic Chemistry! This post stems from a question I have been asked many times: how do you know what to quilt where?

Hope this will spawn discussion, but here's the truth: it is entirely up to you!
I don't make it easy do I?

So, I am going to give you my thought process or FMQ Theory.

I first consider the fabrics used, the design of the quilt, the end use and the overall quilt style. If the fabrics are to be the star, I want my stitches to recede into the quilt, offering a subtle texture to enhance the quilt. If the fabrics are muted and the quilt design is very graphic, I want the stitches the show off, so I will use a contrasting thread, and dense decorative stitches.

(you can click on each picture to see more detail)

On a quilt like this:

I see it as about the dynamic between the quilt design (pinwheels) and the vibrant patterns. This is a baby quilt and I made it to be useful. So this is quilted in an all over design in a polyester thread that recedes yet holds through use and laundering.

For this one:
was created to be a wall quilt, and about the texture. So I did a dense ground of swirling leaf-type stitches.

  I wanted to impart the feeling of a forest full of thick vegetation. The threads are shades of green and brown.

Now in a more "formal" design, with applique:
 I outlined/stitched-in-ditch around the dog, cat, heart and stars. Then I did a stipple in the background with crosshatched lines in the border.

This quilt is more "graphic" so in the white areas, I used a dense mussel shell pattern.

The quilt below had a lot of white, so I used the free-motion stitching as an important design element to add to the overall design of the quilt.

This is over-all quilted (in cotton) for and old-fashioned look to complement the vintage feel of the quilt.

 I hope this offers an insight to my thought process. Remember to leave a question in the comments (or a comment!) or email any questions!

1 comment:

Frog Quilter said...

Wonderful quilting ideas. Thanks.