What is a quilter to do when a project just isn’t working out? Carol Piercy, a local quilt teacher and enthusiast who has designed many patterns, came to our February meeting with some ideas about how to rescue quilts.
Carol told us that the following design elements contribute to the success of a quilt:
- pattern of the quilt
- fabric – colour, contrast, saturation
- movement – flow and focal points
She talked about some reasons why your quilt might not please you and offered the following advice for tweaking a quilt, or for planning future projects.
- Did you use lots of a fabric in your quilt that you didn’t like quite enough, perhaps because it happened to be in your stash? In this scenario, Carol gave us the brutal truth – there is probably no hope that you will ever like that quilt! Looking ahead, consider giving away those fabrics you don’t really like – they may be pleasing or of use to someone else.
- Are there small amounts of “orphan” fabrics in your quilt that seem out of place? Next time, try to repeat fabrics in a quilt. Repetition unifies the design.
- Is your quilt just too plain? Perhaps adding sashing in a different colour or some applique would make it more interesting.
- Is your quilt too busy? You might be able to calm it down with borders.
- Is there a lack of contrast in your quilt? Using too many fabrics can result in not enough contrast.
Carol also told us that quilts can sometimes be rescued with machine quilting, by both design and thread colour choices. Since perfect tension can be difficult to achieve, she uses the same colour of thread for spool and bobbin, but may combine different thread weights.
Carol generously showed us some of her own less favourite quilts that were learning experiences for her. Some members brought their own quilts for rescue advice from Carol, and members were invited to offer possible solutions, too. It was a lively discussion, and not surprisingly, many of us appeared to have experienced similar dilemmas with our projects!
Keeping it light in the face of our various quilting conundrums, Carol told us that when it comes to rescuing a quilt, remember … “It’s only fabric!”
Carol is an active member of the Lions Gate Quilters Guild on the North Shore and told us to mark our calendars for their June quilt show.
Here are some photos of Carol’s very successful quilts. Click on any photo to open gallery.