Updated: Feb 16, 2022
"Quilt as desired" - has there ever been a more useless pattern instruction? I understand why; there are so many different quilting options and it's such a personal decision that including it in a quilt pattern could easily double the length of the pattern. But, when you've just finished a beautiful quilt top and you're trying to decide how to quilt it, "quilt as desired" just doesn't seem to cut it.
To remedy that, I offer some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. My goal here is not to tell you how to quilt your creation, but to provide some thoughts that might spark an idea that you completely love. Fair warning, I sketch these out on paper and I quilt much better than I draw so the diagrams are far from perfect! However, they convey the inspiration just fine so I'm just going to roll with it. These are my thoughts about how to quilt my Seud Medallion quilt pattern.
First up, if you want something simple and walking-foot friendly, consider a spiral. While many isometric and oblique grid designs would look great, why not emphasize the medallion that is central to this quilt by using a spiral? You can keep it perfectly circular or let it get a little elliptical as it grows matching the shape of the medallion. Christa Watson (not an affiliate link; I don't use affiliate links) has some fantastic walking foot quilting books that describe how to quilt this design using a walking foot if you're curious how this might stitch out. It's way easier than it looks! Use the edge of your walking foot to give a nice consistent spacing (unlike my drawing) or don't and let the lines get a little wavy for a cute wonky spiral.
The All-Over FMQ
If you're comfortable doing free motion quilting (FMQ) on your domestic, but don't want anything too dense or too complicated, try outlining each of the triangle elements with a flower petal shape. Once layered, this gives a nice texture and organic edge to an otherwise highly geometric quilt. It consists of only one, fairly simple shape: S-curves. S-curve up to the apex of a triangle, S-curve back down. Add a gemstone shape, swirl, or other simple design to the center of the square-in-a-square element to give the flower petal design a center.
If you're a FMQ junkie like me, everything gets custom quilted regardless of how the quilt will be used. When coming up with my custom quilting plan, I really wanted to emphasize the medallion portion of the quilt. I also wanted the bright-colored portions to pop, figuratively and literally, so I left those areas sparsely quilted while densely quilting the white background units in between so that they puffed out from the background in a 3 dimensional way. Feathers fill the large diamond shapes while a little ruler work fills the inner portions of the square-in-a-square shapes. When combined, the effect is a modern, almost fleur de lis shape which I love. I did put a little dot-to-dot quilting in the colored wedges just to give them a little stability because that area is approaching the size of minimum quilting density for most battings. Facing the points towards the square-in-a-square shape emphasizes the secondary design.
To emphasize the medallion, I also quilted the gray gradient portions in a different way than the medallion portion. I auditioned 2 different designs for the neutral blocks. Ultimately, I decided to go with the topo swirls filler because it made the medallion pop better . . . it also happens to be currently my favorite filler. However, any filler or design could work there to give the same effect as long as it's different from what's in the medallion.
This is ultimately what I quilted on my version of Seud Medallion. I used a light gray thread for the topo swirls filler and white for the medallion background portions. I did change thread color for each different colored wedge of the medallion because I don't mind changing thread, but I could have just as easily chosen a yellow color for all wedges without issue.
I used 50 wt Glide polyester thread for everything; it's my favorite quilting thread. For the batting, I used a double layer of poly batting (not my typical choice, but it's what I had on hand) and that gave a really wonderful puff to make all the quilted elements stand out. I typically use an 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting but always in a double layer for great texture. I was super pleased with the finish; it's everything I was expecting and more. Once washed, the crinkly texture is amazing!
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