Yesterday, I cut and sewed the rail fence blocks and placed them on the design wall so I could see the quilt come to life. The Banyan Classics fabrics make a very striking quilt, don’t you think? I just love the color palette!
Whether you finish your quilt yourself on your domestic sewing machine or have it professionally quilted on a longarm quilting machine, you have many options for the quilting design which will hold the three layers of the quilt sandwich together. Here is my design thought process.
Choosing a design
When choosing a quilting design, I generally like to juxtapose the piecing in the quilt top. For example, since this quilt top is pieced with straight lines, I auditioned quilting designs which were curvy; circular, or, think of a vine or wave. What I wanted to avoid was a design which was angular and may have competed with the piecing. I didn’t want to quilt a series of parallel lines, for example, as that may have drawn attention to some less-than-straight piecing in my strips. You realize this is for example only. I always sew my seams perfectly straight. (ahem!)
As well, since I wanted to showcase the gorgeous Banyan Classics fabrics, I chose a big, open design; something not too intricate or dense to steal the spotlight. The focus was on the fabric, not the quilting.
I also wanted to keep the feel of the quilt more masculine, so I avoided anything too flowery or dainty. To me, the prints and color palette have a modern feel to them, so I kept the quilting design simple; more graphic, less busy.
Lastly, I personally like quilts with very little quilting on it; they just feel more-cuddly to me. I know, that sounds weird given I have a longarm quilting business and quilt for a living, but the type of quilting I do for my clients isn’t always the type of quilting I do for myself. It depends. Ultimately, it’s your quilt, so you quilt it, or have it quilted however you like.
The same goes for thread color. Because of the color palette of the Banyan Classics Collection, you might choose to quilt your quilt with black or white thread. That was my first thought, too, but, after I auditioned each, I thought each a bit too stark; they stuck out too much, for my liking. You may feel differently, and that’s totally okay.
Another thought is to add a splash of colorful thread; perhaps a fiery red, my favorite color! Again, I thought that would stand out more than I wanted because, again, my focus was to highlight the fabric, not the quilting. Instead, I choose to use a neutral, soft off-white, 60wt thread, which meant it practically disappeared into the fabric. Perfect!
Binding is one of my favorite parts of the quilt-making process because it means I’m in the home stretch; my quilt is almost done and ready to enjoy.
You have a few options for binding:
Option 1: cut strips from the leftover fabric you cut off from around your quilt when you square it up, OR Option 2: cut strips from the assortment of fabrics leftover from cutting your strips and piece them together for a scrappy binding.
Initially, I had planned to do Option 1 but changed my mind last minute and decided to do Option 2 instead. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s your quilt so YOU have the power to do as you choose.
Regardless of which option you choose, your next decision will be HOW to bind your quilt. There are loads of good suggestions in Elaine’s article, Binding a quilt, and many YouTube videos on the subject, but, basically, you’ll decide if you’ll finish your binding by hand or machine.
I have a very slick, nifty attachment for my brand of the sewing machine which allows me to finish my bindings very quickly in one step, so ask your brand’s dealer what they may have available to help make the process quicker and easier. In my case, I cut my strips 2″ wide, but typical binding is usually 2¼” to 2½” wide. However, some quilters prefer to cut their binding strips 3″ wide, so again, the choice is yours.
There’s nothing better on a cool fall evening, or, when you’re stuck on the sofa sick with the flu than snuggling up with a quilt you made yourself or by someone who loves you.
Done! Now, wasn’t that easy!?
Enjoy your beautiful rail fence quilt. It’ll surely become a classic in your collection, especially when using the beautiful NEW Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collection.
This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: It’s hip to be square! Cutting and sewing rail fence blocks
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