“Deciding what to quilt”- part 2

Welcome to the second post of my weekly series, “Deciding what to quilt”. Here is the first post, just in case you missed it.

In this post we are going to talk about “breaking down the quilt”. Trust me, it’s not exactly what it sounds like! Sometimes when you are getting ready to quilt, it may be tough to decide where to start. To help illustrate how I get started on a quilt, I am going to use this Value quilt made by Katie for our example this week.

When Katie gave me this quilt, the first thing I did was break down the quilt into smaller units. I needed to do that first before I could pick a quilting design. Below are some different options:

(Using batting scraps or pieces of paper will help you audition your blocks.)

Even though I had a lot of options, my choice was an easy one. She laid out the quilt so that values of the fabric formed lighter blocks and darker blocks…..can you see them?

Once I determined how I was going to break down the quilt, I had to pick the designs. I wanted to help emphasize the difference in values between the lighter and the darker blocks, so I knew that I wanted the designs to be different in every way.

In the darker blocks, I went with straight lines that echoed the seams of the blocks. In the lighter blocks, I went with a simple flowery design. (Now that I am writing this post, I am realizing that I do that flowery shape a lot! Yikes!)

The picture below has an illustration of how I quilted the lines, since the actual quilting is a little hard to see on the quilt.

Here is the quilt top quilted:

Picture by Katie Pedersen

The contrast in the designs helped define the pattern and resulted in quilting that adds a lot of texture.

Back of Quilt

Be sure to check out next week’s post when I will discuss picking out the designs. And don’t forget, if you have a question or a quilt top that you would like to have discussed, please let me know!

Also, If you are interested in making a Value Quilt of your own, Katie has a tutorial on her blog.

Picture by Katie Pedersen

In the meantime, Happy Quilting!!



  1. Love taking a peek into your creative process! Thanks for sharing.

  2. So very pretty. I love when you flip it it has such a neat look. I have a pinwheel quilt with sadhing around the pink pinwheels i need to quilt for my two year old daughter. I was thinking a rounder flower like what you did here on the pinwheels and maybe some evenly saced lines down the sashing. Not sure though! Any thoughts?

  3. Sorry should say sashing not sadhing and spaced not saced. Ug

  4. It’s my favorite quilt. Someday I hope to have a larger one for my bed with the same design. xo

  5. I love your quilting! One question though, do you quilt all of the straight lines (or flowers) then come back and quilt the flowers (or straight lines)? Okay, maybe two questions…in a previous post you mentioned quilting the borders first, do you quilt the top/sides, then roll the quilt and quilt the bottom/sides? Then roll it back to the top?

  6. That’s an easy way to figure out how to quilt! I haven’t thought of it that way. I have several tops that need to be quilted and I want to get out of my “stitch in the ditch” or “meandering” zone. I am comfortable with both but want the quilt to have more than that.

  7. To be honest I never realized so much work went into the actual quilting part that you do. I figured you just put the top on your machine and just did whatever came to mind, like freehand or something. Reading this made me realize that you put so much thought and creativity into your designs! It’s amazing!

  8. Angela, to add to Brenda’s questions…are you stitching in the ditch before quilting designs or are the designs creating the stitched blocks in this quilt?

    Can you tell by my constant questions that I really want to learn your technique? :-)) Trying hard to make one of the quilting shows where you are teaching!! May be able to make Kansas.

  9. That quilt and the quilting have been awe-inspiring inspiration to me for quite a while now! I love it! You and Katie both rock.


  1. […] in on Monday, where I will have Part 3 of the Deciding What to Quilt series. (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you have missed […]

  2. […] 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 actual […]

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