Monday, February 7, 2022

Blended Quilting Revisited

While zipping around the background of the Love runner, filling it with stippling, I was reminded of how important it is to blend the stitching in with the piecing. 

valentine fabrics make an E

Personally, I think any background fill just looks better when the piecing seam is used as a travel line for the fill, giving the impression that the piecing sits on top of the fill. The fill is, after all, in the background, right?

Look closely at the picture above of the letter E from the Love runner. I've stitched those stipple lines right up to the piecing, traveled along the seam, then come back out into the background to complete the fill. Doesn't it look as if some of that stippling is behind the piecing of the E?

Thinking about this prompts me to revisit my Blended Quilting tutorial, which explains in more detail how to do this. Let me show you!

This all started while quilting the Holiday Forest runner. The background fill is similar to a stipple, though here it's in a more horizontal direction to imitate a  landscape of hills or of a breeze blowing through the trees. 

It was important that the background quilting blend in with the trees. And by that I mean making the background quilting in the small areas relate to each other, creating unity between all the small spaces and a consistent landscape theme.

Notice the landscape lines in between the trunks. See how they hit the trunks, follow the trunk for a small distance, and come back out again? Just like the stippling for the E block.

So here's what I mean by 'blended'. When there is a small amount of piecing separating areas, align the quilting lines on each side of the piecing. Then, just like my stippling for the E block, it will look as if the piecing is on top of the background fill.

This creates not only unified quilting between separately quilted areas, but it's also visually pleasing as the eye tends to follow these lines. 

The drawn example below is what not to do. It creates a quilted area that doesn't relate to the other piecing - it just bounces back and forth. The background doesn't flow from one area to the next.

The correct way is to quilt around pieced shapes, letting the quilting bump into the object with stitching that follows the seam line, and then resuming in the background. 

This concept applies to any background fill, not just the landscape lines or stipple I've shown you. All it takes is a bit of planning, and the willingness to do a bit of stitch-in-the-ditch to follow the piecing. Hope you give this a try as the results are worth it!

Happy Quilting!

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  1. Susan, thank you! This is a great tip, and I will try it the next time I have a chance.

  2. What a great tip! As a beginning longarm quilter this is invaluable to me because I don't have computer software. I'm just a free-hand quilter! This was really helpful!

  3. It really does look nice done that way.

  4. You are right in, Susan! Thank you sew much for revisiting this concept! Your explanation and tutorial is so clear!

  5. You are spot on with this - and its a great explanation. Gonna try to store it in the memory banks!


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