Following a quilt pattern…or not

Appliqué my way.


If you’ve bought a quilt pattern, how do you put your own individual stamp on it?  Do you use colours you love?  Do you adjust the size of the quilt?  Do you add extra blocks, appliqué, embroidery, sashing or borders to it or do you use the pattern and colour scheme as is?

Lately I’ve been thinking that if I was to create a book of quilts, I would include the drawing of each whole quilt and a detailed version of one-quarter.  I would put in a grey-scale drawing and photos of my version of the finished quilt and any tips I had for each quilt.  I don’t think I would put in fabric yardage or instructions on how to create it.  There’s probably a section of the quilt community that would freak out at this point but this is my reasoning…I would want people to think for themselves as to what size they made it and choose their own colour schemes and techniques for construction—whether they be by hand or machine, appliqué or pieced (or all four).  Of course, this kind of book would be geared towards people who have made quilts or are adventurous enough to dive in and do what they like.

This is the same kind of philosophy behind slice quilts.  There is a common pattern and each contributor chooses their own techniques and colours to create their slice.  The group may have guidelines or use a particular fabric for continuity.

If you weren’t given instructions, would you feel free to create the quilt any way you wanted?  Would that be more fun or terrifying (or a bit of both)?  Most quilters have a stash of fabrics or scraps so are fabric yardage calculations really that important?  Using several different reds can make a quilt more interesting than using just one red.  It also increases the amount of value in a quilt (using dark reds through to light reds).

Once you eliminate the rules (or create your own), you’ll be surprised at how in control you’ll feel with the project.  There is no one way to create a quilt.  How about taking a construction technique that you don’t really like and try it again but adjusting the technique to suit you?  You can think outside the box and make the quilt as unique as you are. Isn’t it fun to see a quilt group all tackle the same pattern but make the quilt any way they want?  What if a traditional pattern was turned into a modern quilt? How about creating a 3D version of the pattern?

The possibilities are endless.

Happy quilting,


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