I spent last week in St. Cloud, vending at the Minnesota Quilt Festival. A lot of the winning quilts were ones I have seen (also winners) at other recent shows, but I hadn't seen this one before -- I definitely would have remembered it!
Witchway to the Quilt Show, designed and sewn by Kristina McCaughtry and quilted by Karen McTavish (the quilter who invented McTavishing) is whimsical, funny, and exquisitely done in every way. It is full of quilter-isms, embedded miniature quilts and so much more -- there is so much going on in this adorable quilt that you could look at it for hours, weeks, months, years and still see something new every time!
If you couldn't be there to see it in person, here are some photos of this delightful quilt for you to enjoy. And be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for some pointers on what you can learn from this quilt to use in your own quilting designs!
About the quilting:
The quilting may look complex, but when you look closely, you'll see that Karen used just a few motifs that are repeated throughout the quilt.
Spiderwebs: These are used in all the blocks, filling the area behind the witches.
Piano Keys: You'll find these in areas that are "indoors" where a floor would be.
Scalloped Rose Border: Used around the edges of the quilt, mostly inside borders.
Spiral Fill: You'll find this as a fill in areas that are outdoors.
Swirly Sky: Just in the sky of the central panel -- it suggests clouds & wind.
Straight Lines: In the corner blocks behind the miniature quilts.
Using just a few motifs then repeating them in similar areas of the quilt means that you have fewer decisions to make, and a quilting design that is cohesive and consistent, pulling together the entire design of the quilt.
Layers: Notice that when Karen was using motifs that have a definite structure to them -- particularly the Scalloped Rose Border -- she placed it so that it appears to lay under the applique, so the quilting and applique look like they are on different layers. This layered approach is something I discuss in the 2nd edition of the FMM30 book (see pages 98 & 99).
This quilt is a perfect example of two other approaches I use to come up with a quilting design: Story and Personality.
When I am deciding how to quilt a quilt, I always refer back to the story of the quilt -- what inspired it -- and the personality of the design or the fabrics. In this case, there is a very clear story -- the witches -- so Karen's choice of spiderwebs for the background was perfect. And the personality is whimsical and fun, so spirals, spiderwebs and swirly skies fit that personality too.
If you're thinking about how to quilt a quilt right now, consider how you might use Layers, Story and Personality in your own quilt design.
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