Choosing the right machine quilting pattern for your piece is as important as the thread and fabric selections. The right pattern in the right places will enhance the design and bring out the details. A poor choice will detract and even distract from the overall effect.
|Free-motion machine stitched art quilt
by Terry Grant.
Fiber artist Terry Grant was pondering just this question when she considered how to free-motion stitch her art quilt based on a photo she had taken in the town of Baños, Ecuador.
"I had been experimenting with a sketchy kind of stitching and thought this might be a good way to suggest patterns and details in my piece," Terry explains in Creating Detail and Texture with Free-motion Quilting, her interactive article in Quilting Arts In Stitches eMag, Vol. 3.
"Unlike embroidery or heavy machine thread painting, I decided to quilt the simplified piece with a variety of designs that would merely suggest, in a loose and sketchy way, foliage, a rocky pathway, shadows and the textures of an aging building," she says.
|Close-up of vines from
In Stitches, Vol. 3.
"For the vine, I fused the individually cut heart shapes to a dark purple background to really emphasize the shapes. When I started to quilt them they needed little enhancement other than an outline and a center vein. Using a continuous line of stitching, I quickly added those details without taking a lot of care to make the design perfect. A spontaneous, flowing line adds a sense of energy to the vine," Terry explains.
Similarly, the clay roof tiles created an interesting pattern on their own and required very little enhancement with stitching. Flowing lines suggested wood grain in beams and a rough spiral was enough to identify a circle as the cut end of a log beam.
"One of my favorite patterns was the uneven rocky pathway in front of the wall. I used the quilting line to suggest the uneven surface and groups of pebbles and stones. It didn't seem necessary to cover the surface with a solid pattern of quilting, so I quilted the pathway with some open areas between the textured details," Terry says.
It's easy to see Terry's stitching choices and how they affect her quilt, because with an interactive eMag like In Stitches you can zoom in close, pan over the photos, and zoom out again. That's not something you can do with a print magazine.
|Detail of the free-motion quilting
for the rocks.
What do you think of Terry's machine quilting choices? Did you learn something? Would you have done anything differently? Leave a comment below.