There comes a time in every quilter’s life when they no longer want to lay a quilt on the floor, dining room table or other surface. When you need to see a quilt in front of you and not at a skewed angle – your best option is a quilting design board.
When I moved into my new workspace, even though it is small, I decided a quilting design board was essential. My floor space is limited anyway so I was struggling to lay out a full-sized double quilt on the floor. The wall seemed the perfect option. I can now step back from my quilt, leave it for an overnight test, play with different layouts.
It is super easy to make a quilting design board. Materials needed:
1. Foamboard, cheap and available
3. Fabric or pins
1. I used 10mm thick foamboard. It is lightweight. If you have it delivered, understand that it might arrive damaged, but that probably is unlikely to matter because you are going to cover it. I bought 8 A2 panels. Size matters – think of your ultimate space and how best you can have a layout to view the size of quilts you make. I used just 6 of the panels.
2. To fix the panels to my wall, I used Command picture hanging strips.
3. You can pin directly into the foamboard, but one thing to consider is that with all the pinning, you will one day have to replace your panels. Better to use fabric to cover your panels and pin it at regular intervals. Your quilting fabric will then just magically stay put without pins. I used scrim available here
Alternatives are felt – try any fabric and see if your quilting pieces will stay put.
Opt for a wall that does not receive direct sun, otherwise your fabric might fade if left in situ for long. You do need good light though.
I now use my quilting design board for all my quilt layouts. It cost under 25 pounds and is my favourite quilting design aid.The only problem now is that I would like more wall space to have at least one more design board!
Discover different ways to quilt. Here’s my exclusive guide to quilting to help beginners upwards decide which types and styles of quilting they want to try.
Check out the eCourses page regularly for new courses and why not ask your quilting group to host me as a speaker.
Quilts are made of 3 parts, often referred to as a sandwich
The quilt top
The wadding or batting in the middle
The pieced top is usually referred to as patchwork
The quilting is stitching by hand or machine usually through all 3 layers
A quilt is normally a bed sized quilt, but these days there are far more uses of quilting in wall hangings, clothes, home accessories including anything from mug rugs and coasters to cushions and sewing machine covers plus quilt sizes ranging from mini to King Size bed quilts.
There are different types of quilts
Block quilts have existed from the 1800s at least and are still extremely popular today. There are many traditional and modern block patterns. Take a look at our Block Design eCourse.
Applique is also a traditional quilting technique.
Historical methods of quilting include Cathedral Window Quilting and Japanese Folded Patchwork. Take a look at our eCourses on these two subjects.
Whole cloths or traditional hand stitch quilts are heirlooms. They take a long time to make, but are worth it. See our modern slant on a hand stitched calico cloth quilt in the eCourses section of the website.
Modern or Contemporary
With the advent of freeform quilts – informal designs and free motion machine quilting, this art form has really taken on a free spirit again. We offer a number of eCourses on modern methods of quilting including design eCourses and tutorials using traditional hand stitch methods or computer design.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some methods of putting a quilt together:
A method of adding cut shapes to quilts to the surface of the quilt top. There are several types of applique. This can be done n formal blocks or informal designs.
Technical ability: Confident beginners to Advanced
Technique: there are various techniques of machine or hand stitching shapes to the quilt top some more complicated than others. You need to find a way of cutting and piecing the shapes to the surface. Hawaiiian quilts are a form of appliqué. There is also reverse appliqué – Mola is a form of reverse applique. Broderie Perse is another type of appliqué.
A freeform design that conveys a beautiful image or a message. This type of quilt is usually a wall hanging and can use traditional or modern methods.
Technical ability: Intermediate up
Techniques: often involves multiple techniques including appliqué, free—motion or hand stitching, embroidery, hand-dyed fabrics, text and more
As challenging as you want it to be, a chance to show off your ability
Improvisational quilts are ones which are not bound by rules and often include freehand cutting and innovative piecing.
Landscape quilts are art quilts that mimic the landscape, they often rely heavily on stitch and using the right fabrics.
Photo quilts use your own photos, transferred to fabrics.
Repetitive blocks are an easy way to create harmony. Blocks are often referred to as units. They are used in traditional quilting.
Technical ability: Beginners to Advanced depending on the complexity involved. Simple blocks can be made using geometric shapes.
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam. Piecing can be more challenging depending on the design and include matching points
Versatile including anything from two colour simple striped blocks up to the exhilarating challenge of Double Wedding Ring or Dear Jane quilts or Sampler Quilts which contain different blocks.
Attic Windows Quilts are another type of block involving an optical illusion using a frame to give the effect of windows.
Simple blocks are an excellent introduction to traditional quilting.
Cathedral Window Quilting
A type of quilting that requires no wadding, so is often referred to as a patchwork method
Technical ability: Beginners to Intermediate
Technique: Accurate hand stitching. Can also be machine stitched, but I do not find it any quicker. Accurate cutting and folding to ensure all the ‘blocks’ are the same size
Design can be varied to offer challenges
A style of irregularly-pieced quilting. Shapes can be random or follow a design pattern. Embellishments are usually added including buttons, beads and embroidery. Unusual fabrics such as velvet and lace might be introduced.
Technical ability: Confident beginner up
Technique: Accurate piecing of different shapes.
You need expert knowledge on how fabrics behave and if they will behave the same when washed.
English Paper Piecing or EPP for short
An easy way to achieve precision. If you are struggling with accurate seams, inset seams or matching up shapes – this is the way to do it.
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: easy accurate piecing using whip stitch
Challenging depending on the design but easy to accomplish accuracy. Hexagons are a favourite of EPP
Bonus: portable. These days you can repeat your template easily in software and print out as many templates as you need in the size you want. Templates are removed once the top is completed.
Foundation Paper Piecing or FPP for short
Fabric is stitched to paper or muslin forming foundation pieces. It’s another accurate paper piecing method. When you look at perfect points – this is the way it is done. Patterns that look complicated can be achieved easily with this method from triangles to picture quilts. The paper pieces are numbered for piecing.
Technical ability: Confident beginners to Intermediate
Technique: accurate machine piecing
Easy to accomplish complicated designs.
Japanese Folded Patchwork
This is known as patchwork even though it does have a type of wadding, though it is usually felt
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: Accurate hand stitching. Accurate cutting of circles to ensure all the ‘blocks’ are the same size.
A style of quilting that traditionally uses the clothing of someone you wish to remember or to give to someone as a keepsake. Photo quilts can also be a type of memory quilt.
Modern or Contemporary Quilting
Emphasis on bold colours, design, use of space enhanced by quilting stitches. These quilts often look equally good on the wall as on a bed.
Technical ability: Confident beginner up
Technique: can be as simple as lines breaking up negative space to challenging designs with multiple techniques.
One Block Wonder Quilts or OBW for short
A way of cutting and arranging fabric to produce a stunning look from just one fabric
Technical ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Technique: Accurate cutting of triangles with points
Challenging to find a fabric that will work. Challenges accuracy of cutting through several layers of fabric. Takes more fabric than other quilts. Can be boring to piece but can produce stunning results from fabrics you would not normally use BUT not every fabric works. See the tutorial on OBW from my own hands-on experience
Pre-cuts – squares, layer cakes, jelly rolls
Like strip quilting but you can cut into shapes
Technical ability: Beginners to Intermediate
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam. Piecing can be more challenging if you cut your squares into triangles.
Lots of examples in the Quilting for Beginners eCourse
Quilt As You Go or Quaygo (or QAYG) for short
A simplified way of working on one block at a time, piecing onto wadding then quilting before you move on to the next block. Blocks are then joined together to form the quilt with minimal quilting of the whole quilt because the quilting has already been done.
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: quilting on smaller pieces as you work that avoids having to do extensive quilting on the whole quilt.
Bonus: can be fitted into small sessions and you feel as if you have accomplished something because you have a pieced and quilted block.
These are quilts using traditional methods but including non-traditional materials such as denim. The seams are exposed on the front. They are assembled differently to traditional quilts.
Raw Edge Quilts
A type of quilting with exposed raw edges.
Japanese quilting with precise stitches that form designs. Special sashiko cotton is available in different colours. The fabric is usually dark blue (indigo). Sashiko quilts traditionally have no padding.
Scrap or Scrappy Quilts
A quilt that uses leftover bits, often in small pieces to make a quilt.
The selvedge (selvage) is normally cut off the fabric as it does not behave like the rest of the fabrics as it is woven differently. However recently, people have started putting selvedges together to form accessories or quilts. Nothing is wasted.
Strip quilting is an easy method and you can use pre-cut strips
Technical Ability: Beginners
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam
Challenge yourself with a Bargello strip quilt. You could also try different ways to cut up strips once sewn together.
Seminole Patchwork is another type of strip quilting.
An Italian style of quilting that is ‘stuffed’ with padding to add dimension to the design, a bit like stumpwork.
Technical Ability: Intermediate
Technique: raised areas are formed by inserting padding
This guide is free for personal use only. The contents are not to be copied nor shared nor distributed in any way.
Copyright Karen Platt 2018
Free-Motion Block Designs, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978161745625, price 9.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
75 inspiring free-motion quilting block designs. Easy to see, easy to use and the spiral binding allows the pages to lie flat. The design is split over two pages for many of the designs however, so you need to hold the book at a slight angle first to see the genre of the design clearly. That’s far better than trying to hold open a book with a fixed spine. Useful for both domestic and longer machines, the designs come form various artists and they are all curvilinear designs. Lots of ideas and inspiration however there is no starting place marked on the designs, so it is difficult to know where to begin to stitch – you would have to work that out for yourself.
Free Motion Design AllOver Patterns, softback published by C & T Publishing. ISBN 9781617456237, price 9.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
75 free motion designs for all-over quilt patterns. Spiral bound so the book lies flat, but many designs are over two pages. Line drawings are clear and as such this book could inspire quilting patterns to use and develop. However if you are new to free-motion, this book does not provide an arrow where to start stitching. The designs may have appeared in other published books.
Constellations by Amber Platzer Corcoran & Jaime Jennings, softback published by Lucky Spool Media. ISBN 9781940655277, price 15.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ’12 Pieced Astrological Blocks, 8 Personalised Sewing Projects’, this book includes blocks for each of the astrological signs. These modern blocks include clean lines. For each one, you will see a large colour image, cutting and assembling instructions with a clear line diagram presented over a two-page spread. The authors have included typical characteristics of each sign. The book also includes a block for Orion, one of the most famous constellations. I do like the blocks, but they all look very similar, the only difference is in the scattering of the yellow blocks. In Part Two, you will discover eight ways to use the blocks from a large quilt, another quilt in various sizes, a table runner, jacket, tea towel, cushion, tarot reading cloth and tote. In Part Three, find out how to use the blocks and star designs in any project you wish. This book also includes simple embroidery stitches and how to make a tassel. The book has a full-sized, pull-out pattern for the jacket. The book provides ample inspiration to make your own individual blocks and personalise the contents by adapting the blocks, using different quilting stitches to enhance the blocks and so on.
Log Cabin Variations by Annie’s Quilting. ISBN 9781590128817, price 10.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Everyone loves a traditional block and log cabin tends to be a favourite. It’s also a favourite to swing the changes. There are 9 possibilities to do just that in this book. Find 9 patterns, with instructions and techniques in this book that has superb photos. It’s hard to chose a favourite quilt; I liked them all. The skill levels are graded. The patterns include table runners, a baby quilt, full sized quilts and smaller quilts and a quilt that uses scraps. There is also a techniques section on raw-edge fusible appliqué, a butterfly template and a quilting basic section. Superb variety of quilt patterns offers good value for money.
Welcome to the new website. This is now my new home for all things quilting and textiles. You’ll find quilting talk, professional tips, ecourses, ebooks, kits, patterns, supplies and finished quilts. Mark this page to follow my professional practice making and designing quilts. We welcome beginners to advanced quilters.
We aim to provide the information and know-how no matter what stage you are at in your quilting. We are an education based practice that provides tips and the knowledge you need to create wonderful quilts from designing your own to technique know-how. Our ecourses and ebooks contain all my hands-on experience. I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher with a background in education and I have been a designer since the early 1990s. I launched my first quilting ecourse in 2017 and a textile design ecourse in 2016. I also provide Inspiration Books for all designers. The focus is on enabling you to become a better quilter and to reach your potential. Tutorials start at just 10 pounds, techniques courses at 30 pounds and we have longer courses for design.
I work with both traditional and modern techniques of quilting, including using computer design. I aim to push the boundaries and make you think again just what quilting is all about.
Supplies include non-woven fabrics such as Lutradur, Evolon and Zeelon, Bondaweb, undyed threads for stitching and undyed as well as hand dyed fabrics and digital fabrics. Quilting patterns, kits and finished quilts – just check out the categories on the website. The eCourses and eBooks are my main focus.
You’ll also find my finished textile art. My digital art and paintings have found a new home on Artfinder
Other fabrics and makes can be found in my Etsy shop including more fabrics and rust-dyed fabrics.