The Free Motion Quilting Project: Question Thursday #21

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Question Thursday #21

It's Question Thursday and...well... you guys aren't asking any questions!  Maybe I'm doing too good of a job with the modern quilt project, or the questions just haven't hit you yet.

Regardless, I dug around a bit and came up with a few questions to answer for you today.  In the comments of yesterday's post, Jessim asked:

What kind of drape does the quilt have? It is looser than your dense fillers, but still seems pretty dense for a throw.

Here's a rather zen-like answer: scale is infinite.

You can quilt as loose or as dense as you like on ANY quilt project.

This means that whatever drape you want your quilt to have, all you need to do is determine the minimum amount of quilting required to achieve that drape, and only quilt that much.

This might require a bit of experimentation (quilt 12 inch squares on various scales until you find the optimum distance between the lines of quilting that is secure enough to hold the quilt together), but ultimately scale is something YOU determine every time you sit down at your machine.

As for my particular demo quilt - I quilted on a 1/2 inch scale, meaning 1/2 inch was spaced (on average) between the lines of quilting.

To some quilters, this is dense.  To other quilters, this is loose.

Personally, I find this a comfortable scale for quilting on a domestic sewing machine because it's not so huge that I'm making giant sweeping motions, which can be quite tricky to maintain balance on a small machine, but not so tiny that it takes 3 months to finish the quilt.

I also find this scale produces a soft, nicely draped quilt, but again, this is my opinion.

You'll just have to play and experiment in order to find the drape you want on your quilt!

 Next let's answer a question that wasn't really a question from bushgirl62 from YouTube:

How will this modern quilt be received at a quilt show?

Actual Comment: I was thinking of entering the quilting class at next year's local show and this modern quilting really appeals to me. Not sure if our show judges would know what to make of this but something new and different encourages people to try things.

I'll be honest, I have no idea how a judge will respond to this type of modern quilt.

From experience of showing quilts, this quilt isn't something that is going to immediately hit a judge as a show winner.  It's random, it's "badly" pieced (as in wonky and irregular), and it's anything but traditional.

It honestly depends on the particular set of judges more than anything else.  Sometimes you'll get a pair that loves traditional quilts, sometimes you'll get a pair that loves something different.  The key is not to take a judge's opinions personally or let them dictate how you should make your next quilt.

For example: I once received a criticism for using only white thread on Winter Wonderland.  Dude!  It's a white and gray quilt!  What other thread color am I going to use???

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Some opinions are best chucked out with the trash.  They'll honestly make you crazy, and ultimately, who's quilt is it anyway?

Now for more of my opinion on showing (bear in mind I am NOT a judge): I personally believe the quality of workmanship is the most important key.  Just because the blocks are wonky doesn't mean they should be sloppy with loose threads and gaps in the piecing.  Always piece blocks together with a tight stitch (1.5mm or so) and good quality cotton thread (I'm currently in love with Aurifil 50 wt. mako cotton).

The best place to shine with the modern quilt project is in your quilting.  Breaking the quilt up with the Zen Break is unique and different, and probably not something a judge has seen a million times.  Filling them with different designs will also get you credit, but again, it's definitely a unique take on quilting because it totally ignores the piecing design.

So if you want to enter a quilt show, yes, by all means sign up with your modern quilt!  However, don't be hurt if it doesn't ribbon.  It might simply be too "out there" for the judges to accept, even if your piecing and quilting are superb.

If showing and winning is your ultimate goal, a safer bet would be to enter with a wholecloth.  They're not super common, always beautiful, and show off a slightly in-your-face awesomeness that rarely gets ignored.

That's it for this week!  Get in your sewing room and stitch something weird so you'll come up with some good questions to ask next week!

Let's go quilt,



  1. In my official un-judgy opinion, white was the perfect choice for your quilt.Your dense quilting looks like a snow flake blizzard behind your snowflakes. I didn't link up this week because I have ran out of my background color. Plus ran out of batting. Plus ran out of mulah:( Times are tuff around here, but I hope to be back in the game soon. I really love being part of the quilt along, and also would like to finish my quilt:)But, if I have any questions, I will ask for sure! I do have some scrap pieces of batting so I may link up next week with a quilt sandwich. I have an idea....we will see if it works out;)

  2. Квилт смотрится как кружева! Очень необычно. Прекрасная работа.

  3. Hi Leah, You always give such helpful advice.

    When entering a quilt in a judged exhibition, use the critique to improve technical piecing & binding skills but don't take any negative comments to heart.

    Remember why the quilt was made.

  4. I am very curious to see how the Modern Quilt Convention (QuiltCon) turns out and to see if that has any influence on how modern quilts are judged in the future.

    Perhaps they will have their own categories at major shows sometime soon.

    I am so drawn the to modern quilt aesthetic with lots of clean lines and open negative spaces for quilting.

    I love to see it getting promoted so much!



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