How would YOU quilt the quilt – Susan Ponz, Connie Keller and Angela Clark
As quilters we carefully select our fabric, agonize over what colors to put where, and painstakingly work to piece a quilt together. Yet all that planning and effort seems to be a walk in the park compared to selecting a quilting design! All of a sudden we can’t make up our minds about that final step. Maybe it’s because we aren’t sure that what we’re considering is the “right choice” for a quilting design. We want someone “in authority” to tell is that it will look good. Perhaps we aren’t sure whether or not we can actually do the design. Or maybe we are stymied by the thousands of possibilities and we can’t narrow our decision down to one or two that we really like.
Too often we get so wrapped up in finding what we feel is the exact right design, that the quilt never actually gets quilted. It sits in the closet waiting for Divine intervention to either inspire us with the perfect design, or to give us a blessing on the design we have been pondering. The best course of action is to simply dive in and quilt it. After all, “done” is better than “perfect.”
There is not a single “right way” to quilt a quilt, and that the same quilt can look marvelous quilted in several different styles. We asked the owners of some of our APQS stores to help us prove that point. We sent the same modern quilt pattern to our stores in Dallas, Raleigh and all the way to France. The pattern is called “Roman Candles” and was designed by APQS National Education Director Dawn Cavanaugh.
Each store owner was asked to choose their own color palette and then piece and quilt the wall hanging in any style they wished. Next we asked them to provide photos and drawings of their quilts and quilting designs, along with a few sentences about what inspired them to quilt their projects the way they did. Take a look at how each store chose to interpret the quilt with their color palette and quilting. You’ll be amazed at how the quilting makes different elements of the design stand out!
Susan Ponz’s design
Suzan Ponz of the APQS Showroom at Allée de la Mercerie, Vendargues, France saw explosions of flowers in her garden when she envisioned her Roman Candles Quilt, and freehand-quilted her designs:
“Living in the south of France where the sun shines and the sky is blue for more than 300 days a year I designed my ROMAN CANDLES with a Kaffe Fassett fabric designed by Philippe Jacobs, and Kona cotton solids. I quilted it on my APQS Millie with my favorite European cotton thread by Aurifil, 50wt and also with a sparkling thread that is called Sparkle Lame. The batting is Hobbs 80/20.
“To me, Roman Candles are fireworks, so mine are placed in the flower garden; in fact when there are fireworks here, I always enjoy them in my garden. I quilted all the background flowers with gray, pink and black Aurifil thread to give texture and make the flowers pop out. My Candles are quilted to represent their packaging with just a little preview of what will happen once they are lit. I stitched in the ditch around the gray candles with a “ribbon candy” design and added vertical lines on the sides plus flowers, curls and loops in the center and candle drippings off the top.
“The circles represent explosions in the sky with a burst of flowers, circles with loops, a peace sign with flowers and of course quilted hearts. Most of these circles are double-line quilted with pink Aurifil thread and then with the Sparkle Lame over the pink to really make the lines stand out. The Sparkle Lame gives a festive look and shines for the fireworks… just a little bling-bling to make it interesting.
“On the bottom of the biggest candle is my “signature”–a bird with leaves and a flower. I try and place this somewhere on all the quilts that I quilt. This is quilted in gray Aurifil tone-on-tone so not to be showy… Can you guess my favorite color? Yes, it is pink, and my favorite four words are ‘La Vie en Rose’!”
Connie Keller’s design
When the quilt pattern arrived in Connie Keller’s hands at APQS Dallas, she also saw fireworks as the pattern name implies. However, Connie’s color palette favors what she affectionately calls her “happy colors”—blue and white! Sharon Lacey of Flower Mound, TX quilted the wall hanging. The white background provides ample room to showcase a modern filler design that resembles streamers in the background.
Sharon added diagonal designs to also make the candles look like firecrackers. A closer look at the circles reveals Sharon’s clever approach to the balls of fire normally exploding out of the top of a Roman Candle. Her feathers are asymmetrical and arch out from a center pivot point to make each circle look like it is spinning, which creates a fabulous illusion and sense of motion:
Angela Clark’s design
Angela Clark at APQS Raleigh knew immediately that she wanted to use solid fabrics so that quilt quilting would really show on her Roman Candles quilt. She adds:
“I used Quilters Dream Cotton Select for my batting, so that I would get the wrinkly, soft quilt look that I love. I still wanted my colorful circles to lay flat, so I used fusible under the entire circle. My go-to thread is So Fine by Superior. I love that it is thin, and pulls back into the fabric, which lets the quilting dimension be the star. This is also the reason I matched the thread color to the fabric color for each area.
“I decided immediately that I would use Quilt Path, the APQS computerized system, as my main design tool. All the designs were easily made in the design part of the program. I used the EZ Flake tool to create different motifs for each circle. This quilt has lots of background space so I decided to break it up with a sashing design. I had already created the Shadowed Infinity sashing and love the look it gives in both the background and in two of the dark gray rectangles. I used circles in the third dark area because I like to repeat design elements in different ways across my quilts.
“It was fun doing a quilt that has only my designs on it and Quilt Path makes that so easy to accomplish! The only quilting that is not done with Quilt Path is the free motion swirls in the background. My favorite quilts combine free motion and computerized quilting.”