I wrote earlier this week about quilting designs, and how I find it physically difficult to do free-motion quilting on very large pieces. In reviewing my photos of past quilts I realize how much I enjoy those designs -- they're fun to do, and beautiful on quilts with enough blank space to show off the quilting. On busy quilts, with lots of tiny pieces and/or patterns, elaborate quilting often just disappears and isn't worth the trouble, in my mind.
Here's an example of nice free-motion quilting that is lovely from the back, on solid color fabric, but barely visible from the front. Too bad. I probably could have quilted it in a plain grid with a walking foot in half the time I spent on free-motion mazes.
But for other types of quilt design, there's certainly an opportunity to add a whole new dimension of artistry by creative quilting designs.
As an example, I'd like to show the work of my friend Sandra Ciolino, who is one of the best machine quilters I know. She has done machine quilting for Nancy Crow and taught machine quilting at the Crow Barn. She will be teaching again at the Barn in October.
Sandy's strength is not just in executing beautiful allover quilting patterns but in combining several of them in the same quilt. Here are a couple of detail shots:
She also does beautiful quilting with the walking foot:
Notice how there's not the slightest bubble at the points of the "darts," where she had to sew into the center, then turn the quilt around and come back out to the edge. That's a sign of technical mastery.