How Do I Quilt This?

The eternal question . . .

In this case, my client requested that I secure the applique and give it some definition. She also mentioned that she loves feathers, which is very helpful information to have!

Client quilt (the "BEFORE" shot!)

I really liked the nature of the background piecing and wanted to highlight it without over-quilting. (Dense quilting here would equal dense quilting everywhere - not my intent with this one!)

It occurred to me that my StrataVarious Quilts book might offer quilting ideas, and it did! A directional, jagged zigzag would be perfect.

Applique stitched, background zigzagged
The blocks changed from light to dark as I worked my way down, so I changed thread three times to match the tone of the fabrics. To create smoother transitions, I pulled the darker thread up a notch into the lighter blocks on the right side of the flower stalk.

Once the center was done, there were still three large borders to fill.

The two inside borders needed something showy, whereas quilting in the outside border would virtually disappear.

Border one, feathers head to the left

Large, whimsical feathers begged to be stitched!
I thought they suited the scale and character of the applique, so - full speed ahead!

Somewhere along the way, I even decided to fill the second border with the same feathers!

Border two, feathers head to the right

Pointing the feathers in opposite directions added movement and interest, and kept them from running together into a visual blob.

Client quilt in progress

Inspiration struck for the final border about the time I finished the second round of feathers.

Leaves in the print made me think of the jagged stipple I'd recently done on one of my art pieces. I knew it would do the trick here, too! It relates back to the jagged stitching in the center of the quilt without drawing undue attention.

Jagged stipple filled the final border

Here is the Ta Dahhhh moment . . .
Fresh off the Frame!

94" x 100"
quilting by

Imagine how beautiful this will look on a bed. It will be quite Spectacular!

Quilting by

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P.S. To see more of my pictures on Instagram, look for my blog name freshofftheframe


  1. Very cool. I always love the before and after shots.

  2. Changing the direction of the feathers was perfect! I am sure your client will be thrilled.

  3. It looks perfect! I love the feathers moving in opposite directions and the way you tied in the quilting in the final border back to the center. Thanks for explaining your thought process behind the decisions - it's always so interesting for me to read.

  4. So beautiful! I really enjoy reading about how you make your design decisions. And those are my favorite type of feathers, the squared-off "lettuce leaf" style.

  5. I am, as always, thrilled with the results. Carole does an amazing job, thanks again!

  6. Carole, it's stunning! You are so inspiring! ~karen

  7. I'm trying to determine from the photo, but did your client simply have the applique adhered, but not stitched down? And so effectively you were the one to secure it with your quilting? (Does that make sense?) Fun quilt, and great quilting. I like your choice in the outer border, where the busy print won't show the quilting very much.

  8. Perfect job as usual! Looks great!

  9. Really great job. Love all the different quilting you came up with. Can I ask, what are those rings on your backing bar for?

  10. Very striking!! I think you enhanced the quilt *perfectly*! There are some quilts that are quilted beautifully - but not not necessarily appropriately (in my very unprofessional opinion ;-) but you struck an excellent balance with beautiful quilting that added to the quilt, not overwhelming it. (I like how the piecer sewed her (his?) border strips together with diagonal seams - I think that's much less jarring than a straight seam across the width of the border)


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