in the Quilting Studio, No. 9

Do you wonder just how the design aspect of longarm quilting service works for Stitched in Color? Who makes the decisions? What is your roll and what is mine?

Choosing a Design

Recently a customer asked if I charge extra for recommending a quilting pattern. No, no, no! Definitely not. I am more than happy to suggest designs that would compliment your quilt, and there is no extra fee for that. Since this is a mail-order quilting service, we usually discuss design by email after your quilt arrives. I provide links to 1-2 suggested quilting patterns with thoughts about how they would affect the style of the quilt. Most of my clients prefer to work this way.

For example, Laura of @LittleandLots sent me a charming rendition of Jen Carlton Bailly’s Scandinavian Flower Garden quilt. On her project form she wrote, “Help me! I want something fairly simple/clean and overall.” That was plenty of info to send me in the right direction. I suggested Triple Arc quilting, to which she enthusiastically agreed.

Triple Arc quilting. Stitched in Color.jpg

This is an extremely large scale flower design that Laura made all her own. I don’t have a photo of the full quilt because it was so, so, so big, but you can see it over @LittleandLots.

by Laura Collins. Stitched in Color.jpg

I think this was my favorite part of her quilt. This curving stem with multiple blossoms is not in the original pattern, so far as I can tell. Isn’t it sweet?

On the other hand, I’m also completely fine with you choosing the pattern. It is your quilt, after all. I post a large design catalog to place some choices at your fingertips. If you don’t spy the right pattern or know of another one that you like better, please be in touch. I’m happy to honor your wishes.

In fact, I work with customers in all sorts of ways. I have one client who likes to be surprised. For her I independently choose the quilting design and thread color each time. My goal is to be flexible. Sometimes you have an idea what you want and sometimes you don’t! I am truly happy to meet your unique needs.


Choosing Density

Selecting a quilting pattern is only the start. What about quilting density? This refers to how large or small a design is quilted. Variations in density make a huge impact on the aesthetic finish. I ask my clients to let me know if they prefer an open design with minimal quilting or medium density or really dense quilting.

It’s always best to start by listening, because one can always learn something new. For example, Naomi Grebe loves dense quilting. When she sent me her Strawberry Social quilt, she suggested dense Damask quilting. I would never have thought to quilt that design tiny, but I adore the results.

Damask quilting dense. Stitched in Color.jpg

As a large, open pattern Damask feels elegant and traditional. Quilted densely, it has a curly look that’s more modern and playful. How nice to discover “new” looks for my quilting patterns this way.

On occasion I work with a quilt that would particularly benefit from higher density in order to increase durability. This is the case with quilts made with linen or quilts made up of lots of small patchwork. I do let my clients know!

Most of the time, customers are unsure about density. That’s no problem. I will simply choose a density that I feel will compliment the quilt best, keeping the scale of the patchwork and style of the quilt in mind.


Choosing Thread

Thread color is the final design decision. For most people it’s an afterthought, as you simply want the thread to blend nicely with the quilt top. On the quilting form, you can let me know if blending is the goal, or if you’d like the thread to be more prominent. I do quilt with lots of colored threads and have a whole rainbow at hand. Sometimes I recommend a colored thread that contrasts a bit, when I feel like it will add to the quilt.

Gypsy Wife diamond wave quilting. Stitched in Color.jpg

Randi recently sent in a Gypsy Wife quilt. She suggested gray thread, but added that I should make the final call. Before quilting, I auditioned several threads, laying them on the quilt to see how they interacted with the quilt top. I considered a few shades of gray as well as a peach thread. In the end, gray won the day.

Quilted Gypsy Wife. Stitched in Color.jpg

This Gypsy Wife quilt is quilted with Diamond Wave running horizontally to compliment the striped patchwork background. Randi felt her quilt needed simple, all-over quilting, nothing too busy. I thought those quilting-along right now, might enjoy seeing this finish!

Gyspy Wife by Randi Burke. Stitched in Color.jpg

I photographed it in Rora’s peachy room. Heart. Did you notice the darker gray strips at the horizontal sides of the quilt? Love that subtle frame.


Thanks to all those who have entrusted me with their quilts  It's an honor to become part of your creative story. I look forward to collaborating with you in this new year as we work together toward your next finish!