Deciding what to quilt, a new weekly series!

Probably the question that I get asked to most often is, “How do you decide what quilting designs to use on a quilt?”. There are so many factors that play into my decision making progress. Some of the things I ask myself are:

What does the piecer want?

What kind of quilting does the piecer dislike?

What is the most important thing about the quilt?

Is there an area on the quilt that I want to highlight or play up?

Just like putting on makeup, there isn’t just one way to quilt a quilt. You may want the toned down version or you may want the glammed up version. Quilting, like any other art, is so subjective. I am starting a weekly series on my blog that will give you tips and ideas on how to pick out quilting designs for your quilt. It’s going to be fun, relaxed and (hopefully) informative! If you have any questions or quilt tops that you would like me to address, please send me an email at or comment on this post.

So today, I am going to highlight a  quilt that I just finished for Heather, a fun and bright spiderweb quilt.

Quilting inside the blocks was easy enough, I went with a simple flower-type design. The idea was to not quilt anything to intensive or dense, since it wouldn’t be seen anyway. But I was stumped just for a bit on how to quilt the space around the blocks. I wanted something interesting, but not too distracting. So I left areas unquilted to give the look of a lattice behind the blocks. This is one of the easiest techniques, since you are quilting less, but still gettign a great visual impact!

I didn’t even need to mark the quilt, I used the seams in between the blocks as a guide, quilting a 1/4” from each side of the seam.

Back view of the quilt:

So the next time you are trying to decide what to quilt on your quilt, consider leaving certain areas unquilted. Heather will be putting more pictures of her quilt on her blog later on this week so be sure to check them out!

I will continue this series next Monday with a new post, so make sure to send any questions this week.

Happy Quilting!



  1. Thank you for this type of entry. What to quilt where is an eternal question!

  2. Angela, I love the quilting you did! I like how the back turned out, looks like two quilts in one. Thank you so much for posting this as I have been sitting on a kaleidoscope quilt top for 2 years now because I could not decide how I should quilt it. I will give your suggestions a try. Thank you again.

  3. You always quilt so beautifully and inspired! So I shall look very much forward to this series :))
    I have just made a quilt top from the very first swap/bee where I have been the ‘mama’. I am very happy about this top, but I am afraid to ‘dive in’ and machine quilt it, as I am 1) a quilting amateur, quilting on my domestic machine, and as such my repetoire is _very_ limited,
    2) horribly afraid to ruin this special-to-me quilt, by not using the right pattern, that will emphasize the right things.
    I will send you an email with a picture of the top!

  4. sillyandrea says:

    Sometimes I look at a quilt and just *have* to quilt a particular design on it. It just comes to me. Does this ever happen for you?

  5. What gorgeous quilting on Heather’s beautiful quilt! I’m happy to hear that you’ll be posting about deciding what to quilt – I certainly love seeing your quilting, and I’m always in need of some quilting inspiration! I have many quilts waiting for quilting… !!

  6. You are just so darn good!

  7. Beautiful quilting–I love the contrast between the densely quilted areas and the others.

  8. Love this series- this is such a great idea. Here is a question for you- when quilting on prints do you typically keep the quilting simple as it is hard to see and can take away from the print on the fabric- I am about to quilt a quilt that is about half solid half heavy prints- and I am debating on whether to quilt the print area or just stitch in the ditch around them and only quilt the solid areas- if a picture of the quilt would help answer the question I would be happy to send you one… thanks for sharing your knowledge- I am a huge huge admirer of your work and aspire to be like you when I grow up! 🙂

  9. What a great idea!

  10. Love, love your talent, just BEAUTIFUL

    • Hi Victoria, Thanks for visiting my blog. It has been lleovy to “meet” new bloggers through Karen. Although I’m not a quilter I love your work and I’m sure I’ll be back to see more!Congratulations on the article in Quilting Arts too!

  11. Awesome! I’m very interested in following this series and stealing your ideas.

  12. Angela, When quilting the border, did you quilt the larger linking spirals first then come back with the pebbles, or quilt both as you go? And if you’re quilting both, what is the trick to keeping the designs flowing? I’m afraid I would loose the flow on the spirals when switching back and forth. (Obviously completing at least one spiral at a time, but still…).
    Thanks for any feed back.

    I just completed my second baby quilt that I machine quilted (Bernina 220) and while it’s much better than the first, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

  13. …Sorry, I meant Bernina 820

  14. Ooh, I am excited about this series! Thanks for sharing… I am just getting into quilting and find piecing the easy part, quilting always stumps me 🙂

  15. I was just on Heather site and thought I would come over to say…AWESOME that quilting is amazing. Seriously amazing.

  16. love it! where do I send the picture of my small pieces quilt to??

  17. Paula Coleman says:

    Angela, I am ready to put my 10 minute quilt block quilt on the longarm. My dilemma is that I changed the whole design of the quilt and made the blocks smaller and set the blocks on point with plain blocks in between that have little gold stars on the fabric. There is still the little center piece in each of the ten minute blocks probably about 2 x 2 that I either have to quilt something in the middle of, or just all around them. I would like this quilt to be in the “Deciding what to quilt” series if possible. I could send you a photo of the quilt if needed. Thanks!


  1. […] to the second post of my weekly series, “Deciding what to quilt”. Here is the first post, just in case you missed […]

  2. […] wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, but then I read this post by Angela (part of a weekly series of posts on deciding what to quilt) where she talked about leaving some […]

  3. […] Thanks everyone for the questions and comments about my new weekly series, “Deciding what to quilt“! If you sent me an email, I promise that I will get back to you as soon as possible! Next […]

  4. […] lets you see how I quilted the design. It’s very similar to how I quilted Heather’s quilt and Tula Pink’s Kiss Kiss quilt. I just love how leaving areas unquilted creates a totally […]

  5. […] here we are…..we have talked about picking out the most important thing about a quilt top and also about breaking the quilt down into smaller units. Now we are ready to talk about the […]

  6. […] forget to let me know if you have any quilts that you would like me to feature in my “Deciding what to quilt” series. I am working on next weeks post, and it’s going to be about figuring out how […]

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