What to consider when choosing an edge-to-edge quilt design!

What to consider when choosing an edge-to-edge quilt design!

16th Mar 2024

Welcome back everyone!

While our Wisconsin weather can’t make up its mind, the calendar tells me it’s spring! And spring kicks off another year of local quilt shows!

We’ll be vending at several shows this year, and if you read to the end of this post, you’ll find details on three upcoming spring shows in our area. The first one’s coming up quickly … Friday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 24th … so get ready for a road trip!

Okay, but until then, I’ve got some quilting to do. I’m trying to decide which edge-to-edge design will add just the right finishing touch to my quilt.

In fact, that’s one of the most common questions I hear at the shop …

How do I choose an edge-to-edge quilt design for my quilt?

There’s lots to consider, right? And while there are no right or wrong answers, what you decide does impact the look and feel of your quilt. So, let’s break it down …

What to Consider When Choosing an Edge-to-Edge Quilt Design

1. How will the quilt be used?

  • Wall hanging?

Consider a smaller, more dense quilt design. Tighter stitching will make your quilt flatter. It will lay nicely against the wall. You’ll also notice the quilting more.

  • Baby or lap quilt?

Use a larger, more open quilt design … think medium density. You want these quilts to feel soft and cuddly. However, you want the stitch work and batting to be secure so that the quilt can be laundered frequently.

  • Bed quilt?

Again, choose a larger, more open quilt design. Assuming bed quilts won’t be laundered as much as baby or lap quilts, they can handle a less dense design.

NOTE: Check and follow the batting’s recommendation for quilt spacing when considering a more open quilt design.

2. What do you want others to notice about your quilt?

If the focus of your quilt is the piecing, pick a less dense, more open design. You don’t want the quilting to detract from the piecing.

If your quilt has larger piecing or more background to fill, consider a more dense, tighter design that will stand out. This is a good opportunity to use a themed design or a design with distinct motifs to complement your piecing.

3. Did you use busy or plain fabrics for either your quilt top or back?

If you used predominantly busy prints, your quilting won’t be very noticeable. Consider a more open, larger quilt design.

If you used fabrics with a lot of open background space or solid fabrics, you’ll want to see more of the quilting. In this case, choose a more complex or themed design.

I have a favorite story that illustrates this point. One of our customers brought in a quilt that she had made for her son. The top was a busy mix of hunting related fabrics: camouflage, deer, trees, etc. No way you would notice the quilting! But the back was solid tan. She searched through all the hunting and nature-related Pro-Stitcher designs. Nothing! She began scanning the pantograph designs for inspiration. As she neared the last of the designs, she came up with the perfect answer … a pig! A pig? After quilting, if you looked at the top, you couldn’t tell that pigs had infiltrated the forest, but if you just glanced at the back, there was no question as to the featured motif. For this quilt, a design featuring large barnyard pigs was THE answer … the quilter’s son was an avid hunter, but he was also a pig farmer!

What better example of choosing a unique quilt design that worked perfectly with the busy fabric of the top and plain fabric of the back? (And for exercising personal choice!)

4. What style of piecing did you use for your quilt top?

If your quilt top is mostly straight lines or obvious geometric shapes, consider using a quilt design with a curved, flowing pattern to soften and unify the overall look of your quilt.

5. Do you need to consider the weight of your finished quilt?

Many factors contribute to your quilt’s overall weight: size, type of fabric used for both the top and the back, batting, etc. However, the density of your quilt design also factors in.

If you use a tighter or more dense design, you’ll use more thread in your quilting, adding to the overall weight of the quilt.

If you use a simpler, open quilt design, you’ll use less thread, minimizing the amount of added weight.

6. Is quilting time a factor?

The smaller, tighter or denser your quilting design is, the more time it will take to quilt it. Also notice if the design has a lot of backtracking or overstitching in it. This will also take longer to stitch out.

How about some examples?

Favorite / Frequently Used Quilt Designs

Here are some of my favorite designs and a few others frequently chosen by our renters.

Tighter, Denser Quilt Designs

   Baby Girl Lace     Design by Anne Bright

   Circle Swirls     Design by Anne Bright

   Hearts in a Swirl     Design by Cindi Herrmann, sold by Intelligent Quilting

   Circle of Life     Design by Patricia Ritter, sold by Urban Elementz

Medium Density Quilt Designs

   Expression     Design by Willow Leaf Designs, sold by Urban Elementz

https://www.urbanelementz.com/winter-white.html     Winter White     Design by Dave Hudson, sold by Urban Elementz

   Autumn Leaves     Design by Sue Schmieden, sold by Intelligent Quilting

   Let's Learn Leaves   By Sue Schmieden, sold by Intelligent Quilting 

Open, Less Dense Quilt Designs