Quilt Design

Yesterday I wrote about this quilt top


I posted it to a few Facebook groups and had some comments about the design.   Since I so often work on vintage or antique tops, made by someone else years ago, I don’t usually need to be concerned about the design.  It is fun to make up a design myself.  When I teach floral design I tell the students that 80-90% of a design’s success is based on the selection of materials. Quilting is much the same.

This quilt top stated with the previous quilt top.


Cutting out the setting pieces left me with a pile of melon shaped leftovers in solid black and red print.

starting with that I selected fabrics to go with the melon pieces.


I selected these because I wanted variety in scale of the prints and I wanted to keep it all red and white and black.

The large print (Hello Dahlia by P&B)  was a great find.   The shape of the petals in the print mimic the shape of the melons.


going back to what I teach in floral design;  One way to create “rhythm” (visual movement) in a floral design is repetition. Visually our eyes play connect the dots looking for repeated elements of color, shape, material etc.

For the red dot fabric I selected  black with red pattern.  I almost used solid black but selected this because I didn’t want the center to be that visually heavy..


Solid black would have overpowered the center.

In floral design we try to use a variety of textures and scale.   Think of roses and baby’s breath.   The Rose is large and velvety and the baby’s breath is small and feathery, the contrast adds a lot of interest..   I selected fabrics of various scales and visual textures for the same reason.

Now for the quilt layout.

When I first posted the top I had the center 9 blocks


My plan was just a few little sketches.  I do not make a fully developed pattern before I start but I do visualize in my mind how it will look.

Here are my simple sketches


The one on the post it was the first thought.  I have little post it pads everywhere so I can write down ideas before they disappear.

The top left picture was next.   but it would have made a quilt way larger than I wanted so I simplified the plan and that is the 3rd sketch.

I will make up a pattern when I am finished but it is very simple.

I started to get the corner pieces ready to applique.   I am not a fan of needle turn so I pressed  under the edges and starched


I have a tiny little iron


It helps prevent burned fingers but I find that it doesn’t do the job as well as I would like so I re press with the big iron after I get the edges turned under with the small one.

Teddy is Dressed for St Patric’s Day


His groomer always has seasonally appropriate fabric.

Happy quilting






32 thoughts on “Quilt Design

  1. Maureen says:

    I also have one of those mini irons and I do the same thing. I use it just to get the small portion pressed a bit but I always go over with a full size iron. And yes it seems no matter what I do I wind up with burned fingers!

  2. Love Teddy’s Irish look. He is so photogenic. He needs to be a calendar dog! You could make calendars with Teddy posing with your quilts. I’d buy one for sure! Please tell about your little iron. brand? Where to purchase? Love the way this latest project came together.

  3. Neame says:

    Very lovely how by rotating the center on point it makes a secondary design element pop out – gonna be a looker!

  4. Glennis Salls says:

    Tim, I just want to say thank you for the instructions and tips that you thoughtfully give to us. I aam fairly new to quilting and find it very helpful.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Tim, do you just do a machine blanket stitch? And did you pin down the peels?

  6. Angie says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share your quilt design process. I’m always looking for more insight to choosing fabric pattern and color.

  7. Sandy says:

    Oh Teddy you’re just too cute in green!
    Love the direction you are taking with this quilt.

  8. Marilyn says:

    As always I enjoyed these 2 quilts. Your floral training does give you insight with your designs. You piqued my interest with the first quilt with the red melons and blew me away with your second one! I was sick most of February and now need to find my mojo and get working again on my many UFOs,,,,, maybe I’ll go shopping for St. Patty’s fabric. Tilly and Toffee need to be groomed and bandanas would look lovely. Give Teddy a doggy treat from me!

  9. Lorij says:

    You do an amazing job. The tops are beautiful. What color is the back of the scalloped edge?
    Teddy looks so nice and clean. He’s such a handsome sweetie. Give him a pat for me.
    Thanks for all the encouragement you give everyone.

  10. bermudagirl says:

    Cool design Tim! Teddy looks great in that green!

  11. helen says:

    Hello, Tim! I love this new quilt, especially the leaves in the corners!! And the background fabric is absolutely perfect!
    Best wishes and a gentle pat for Teddy!

  12. Margaret Gross says:


    Thanks for sharing your thought process and design steps. I’m a timid designer which makes for boring quilts, picture lots of solid background squares. You and Bonnie Hunter are challenging me to use more prints. I love your hand quilting. Everyone in my quilting group are machine quilters. It’s nice to click on the blog and see another hand quilter.

    Wishing you a pieceful day.

  13. Rose in VT says:

    Both melon quilts look fantastic! I hadn’t realized you were appliqueing and not piecing them. Do you cut away the fabric underneath when you’re done?
    Teddy looks very fluffy and happy.

  14. knitnkwilt says:

    Like others, I especially appreciate your discussion of design decisions and the reasons behind the choices.You can go into teacher mode any time you want to! Oh, and I like both quilts too. Great fabric choices.

  15. This quilt has a unique lay out! Nice Work on this Quilt, Tim!

  16. Barbara Rasch says:

    I enjoyed reading your design decisions. Both quilts are eye popping. I especially like the first quilt.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s