Recently I was at AQS QuiltWeek in Branson, MO and I saw a quilt that absolutely blew me away. The top was made by Karen Kay Buckley (you may have used her Perfect Scissors) and it was quilted by Judi Madsen (also a rock star quilter).
The quilt is called Red Bird, and here's a picture of the whole quilt:
In my lecture / class Layers & Lines: How to Create a Quilting Design, I talk about seeing a quilting design in layers. The "Top" layer has the main elements, the "Middle" layer has connecting and framing elements, and the "Bottom" layer has fill elements. But this quilt goes beyond all that.
Apart from the fact that this is just a gorgeous quilt, there are two things I find particularly exciting about it.
The first thing is that this quilt take really remarkable approach to layering: the quilting is an entirely different yet complimentary design quilted so that it appears to be layered UNDERNEATH the applique design.
Take a look at these detail photos and you'll see what I mean. See the diamond patterns behind the applique?
Honestly, I have never before seen an entire quilt layered this way. Sometimes you'll see lines overlap or part of a design pass under another, but I've never seen a completely different design lie under the appliqued or pieced design across the entire quilt. My brain just started shooting off fireworks when I saw it!
Apart from the spectacular design, this is also technically virtuosic quilting. Just think about how many times Judi had to stop, tie/bury a thread, then start up again. Oh, the patience! But worth it!
The second reason I find this quilt fascinating is the way that Judi used the quilting to extend the applique design into the borders. Take a look at these pictures of the border:
This is the work of two master quilters, and the results are phenomenal. But don't let this intimidate you! You can use these two techniques -- layering a design behind piecing or applique, and extending a design into the border -- at whatever level you quilt. Start with something small and simple, and let experimentation and inspiration carry you to a result even better than you might have imagined!
(And if you'd like to take my Layers & Lines online class, click here.)
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