Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quilting a Wedding Wishes signature quilt

Becky, one of my guild friends, asked me to quilt a top for her. Actually, it was a project she got "recruited" into doing because she is a quilter. (Many of you know how that happens.) Becky calls this quilt a Wedding Wishes signature quilt.
Wedding Wishes signature quilt.
The signature blocks were available at the bridal shower for friends and family to sign. I noticed that one of the blocks had a date. As time passes, the recipients and future generations will appreciate that the occasion—and the quilt—is documented in this manner. The signed blocks were then sent to Becky for assembly. She chose batik fabrics for the border and sashing in shades of lavender, purple and blue with splashes of magenta to contrast with the white-on-white signature blocks. This is the border fabric.
Birds in the border print were outline quilted.
When determining how to quilt a quilt, I consider what this new layer of design—the quilting—can bring to the composition... how the stitching can enhance what is already pieced, appliqu├ęd—or in this instance, written—on the quilt's top.
Sketchbook with quilting designs.
With pencil in hand, I made several pages of sketches before selecting the quilting designs. First, I worked up continuous line vines interspersed with hearts (appropriate for this quilt's theme), swirls, curlicues and feathers. I simulated a block with writing and auditioned various designs on that.

I felt there needed to be a better connection between the written wishes on the blocks and the quilting. The quilting needed to bring the hand written messages into better focus. How could this be achieved?
More sketchbook pages. Left: the heart motif enlarged. Right: swirls added to the heart.
The heart motif was enlarged to surround the messages. This provided a focal point and also added more variety in scale.
The quilted heart focusses on the message.
The swirled finials embellished the lower part of each heart half and unified the larger motif with the surrounding quilting. A few select birds in the border print were outline quilted to bring them into the foreground.
A few of the birds were outline quilted.
Full view of Wedding Wishes quilt.
After the binding and label are attached, this quilt is headed to California. They must have lots of zombies out there...
"Fighting Zombies is better with two!"
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