Quilt Whisperer Wednesday #3

Another Wednesday is here, so time for another QW quilting plan.  This first quilt comes from Dory, a quilter who lives in Quincy, CA.  Dory has a quilt made exactly like this Hoffman  quilt called “Tradewinds:”


I first saw this quilt and thought of the Linda’s quilt I recently completed.  I recommend breaking the block designs into 2 blocks- the smaller pinwheel and the larger darker brown spaces.  I have done this in my first design sketch, which, by the way, would not be my final design pick:


But what if the recipient dislikes flowers?  So here are two more quilting plans:


The quilting above would be a terrific custom choice, plus for you professional machine quilters out there, this one would quilt up fast.  Here is the next one:


Personally, I do not like the feathered design on the darker block in the half quilt design above.  I would go with the middle plan if this were my quilt.  If you scroll up and down looking at the 3 plans, the middle one feels most balanced to me.

Thread Choice: I would choose 2 colors of thread; one for the light areas and one for the darker block areas.  It would blend nicely and look fabulous in both areas with low contrast.  I feel that picking low contrast thread is important here.  You want the quilting to enhance the quilt and the piecing and not overpower it.

Let me explain this further…  if the quilter were to pick only one color of thread, say a dark brown, the thread (and quilting) would look lovely in the dark parts of the quilt.  However, in the light areas would look awful and detract from the quilt.  Trust me on this!

Beginning sit down quilters: Here is an easy beginning quilting design appropriate for this quilt.  New quilters could use their walking foot and just follow the lines:


For sit down quilters who free motion quilt, choose the design that you believe you can do with you current skill level.


Quilt Whisperer Extra: I have mentioned I am quilting a quilt for a local guild.  Here is my quilting plan for this quilt:


For this current quilt I am working on, the thread choice for each area is what will make this quilt work.  I have intentionally chosen less contrast thread for the inner black area around the star, so from a distance it will read as “black.”  I have intentionally done this to give the viewer a place to rest their eye before moving onto the outer piping ring area- which is quilted with a high contrast Rainbow  by Superior Threads. To show you this principle, I have left some areas black in the drawing above.

2 sided quilt: I have made this a 2 sided quilt, which is a quilt with an interesting back, by also choosing exact thread color for most of the colors in the star.  Combine this with the thread and quilting choices in the black area and the black area on the backing looks pretty cool! When I am done with this quilt you will see what I did- and know my thinking behind it.

I hope you have enjoyed this week QWW!  If you want to see my first two QWW, here are the links:

Quilt Whisperer #1

Quilt Whisperer #2

For all of you who have kindly sent me quilt pictures… keep watching!    Regards, Carla Barrett

Yesterday’s Class

I’m taking a break from quilting to say hello to everyone who was in my class yesterday in Cameron Park, CA!!  What a fun class and meeting you all!!  The 3 L’s- Laura, Laurie, and Linda, plus I got to finally meet Debbie from Chico, Nancy, [Barb’s friend]Cindy and Eloise! Thank you for your contribution to the class and also your input!  We learn from each other, no?  LOL

I should have taking a picture, but I figured you were camera shy, like me. LOL

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!  Those who know me well will crack up when I say I went over my time allottment trying to cover it all.  This class started out being a 4 hour class the first few times I taught it, and we expanded it to 5.  I’m thinking that for longarmers, I could easily expand it a full day class!  I’ll be sure to post when I finish developing my quilt fills class, too.

I shared a few stories and favorite mantra’s that I hope they could appreciate!  Something about not disturbing our artistic harmonies and life is short to quilt for Pita’s!!     Anyway,  know I had fun!

Pictures to follow, finishing up the blue/white quilt today and loading the Guild Opportunity quilt.  Hugs, Carla

Quilt Whisperer Wednesday #1

Today is part 1 of my new weekly post on the topic of Quilting design, which is one of the final steps in the quilting process.  The “quilt whisperer” title came about as a joke title for my “How Do I Quilt This Quilt” kind of class.  Perhaps margaritas were involved, I can’t remember.  LOL  (Apologies to Caesar though)

First quilt is courtesy of Sandy from the Quilting Nanny blog.  Here is the before quilting picture:


When I see a quilt like this- with lots of black empty spaces, I really get excited because I know good quilting will elevate and make this quilt shine.

From a quilting standpoint, any quilting in the colored fabric areas will not really show, so most of my effort will be in the black areas that do.

This is also a feminine quilt, so feathers, flowers or anything frilly will look just fine.  Here is how I would quilt it:


I have chosen freehand flowers in the negative black space for two reasons- lots of interesting visual punch and I also can easily quilt this flower in my sleep.  The ferny feather in the triangular spaces would also be freehand, however the straight lines would be quilted with a small ruler.

The freehand fill in the outer border is also one of those designs that is easy to do for me, so I would quilt it to match the “feel” of the quilt.  Same goes for the floral block in the interior of the quilt.

Threads: I would audition threads for the floral sections, picking something that would blend nicely and not fight with the fabric. The thread for the black area would be a dark gray.  My thought is that using lighter thread for this quilt in the black would diminish the stark contrast between the black and the floral parts.  Sometimes, subtle is better.

Those of you wondering why I would not pick black thread?  LOL   Because if I used black, I would have a hard time seeing what I was quilting, much like quilting in the dark.  Using a dark gray allows me to see what I’m doing.

Domestic Machine Quilters (sit down quilters): What would I suggest for a  quilter who is using their home machine??  Here is a simpler design that you could easily manage with your walking foot:\qwwdomestic

Other than the flower circle center, and the curve at the end of the flower, the rest of the quilt are straight lines or slightly curving lines.  For thread choice, the same reasoning applies as above.

There are thousands of ways to successfully quilt this quilt, however, this would be how I would quilt it if it were on my machine table today.   Thank you Sandy for sharing your quilt!


I’ve decided to do a second quilt today, this one is from Maggie.  This one is a very traditional design (called a Churn Dash) using modern fabrics in a black and white fabric palette:


From a quilting standpoint, the complexity and busy-ness of the fabric would rule out any custom quilting.  Certainly, the customer could pay for- and get a custom quilting job on this quilt, however,  I see an Edge-to-Edge (E2E) quilting design or a panto design for this quilt.

Before I chose the E2E quilting, I would need to know more information.  For instance, who is this quilt being made for?  What will be the use of the quilt?  It would be a shame to quilt trucks and sailboats on the quilt if the recipient were a little girl who loved flowers.

So Maggie, go ahead and tell me who the quilt is for, do they have any particular likes or dislikes, and next week I’ll suggest some E2E  and panto quilting choices for you.  In other words, to be continued next week- or once I have more info.  LOL!

I hope you have enjoyed this first of many QWW posts.  I hope this will be helpful to people who quilt their own or send their tops out to a professional machine quilter.  I also hope this is helpful to newer machine quilters who quilt for others.

Let me know what you think?  Regards, Carla