Garden Whimsy // Quilting Ideas

June 22, 2020

So you’ve been diligently sewing your rows every 2 weeks for the Garden Whimsy Quilt-along and now you’re thinking to yourself: How should I quilt it? That’s where I come in, I’m going to give you a few ideas that are a bit more intricate (perhaps if you’re taking it to a longarm quilter), as well as a few less intimidating ideas you could accomplish on your domestic machine.

If you’re not sure what i’m even talking about, the Garden Whimsy Quilt-along is being hosted by Amy Friend in celebration of her book release this spring with Lucky Spool, called Petal + Stem: 40 Modern Floral Blocks to Mix-and-Match. Garden Whimsy is one of the quilt patterns for this cleverly laid out book. I helped Amy to quilt one of the quilts for it, and i’ll be talking a little more about that and the book later this week. Now, let’s get to the quilting ideas!

The first idea I want to start with is what we ended up quilting on Amy’s quilt for the quilt-along. When she first started talking to me about quilting it she told me she was thinking about a pattern reminicent of grass, so of course I couldn’t get that idea out of my head and I went to town finding all the grass-like quilting patterns I could. She ended up choosing a pattern called Arnica by Melonie Caldwell, and made it nice and dense. The pattern itself is 3″ tall, and we squished them together so the quilt had a nice textural feel, with a subtle grassy pattern that didn’t pull away from the quilt tops design. Sometimes the quilting is the show stopper on a quilt, but in this case it needed to be a subtle boost to the already amazing paper piecing.

Besides Arnica we hemmed and hawed over a few other grass-like designs. Any one of these would be a wonderful compliment to this quilt, and most of them would be easy enough to accomplish on your domestic sewing machine. (Clockwise from top left: Bean Sprout, Cat Scratch, Curly Weave, Roaring 20s, Lemon Grass, Pico)

If you’re wanting something more “modern” feeling, one of these designs might be what you’re looking for. You’ll notice I am keeping the ideas pretty simple, because the quilt is really so eye catching all on it’s own that most designs will be lost in the background as you focus on the piecing itself, so don’t over-think the quilting on this one. Simple design really would be perfect. (Clockwise from top left: Modern Leaf, Wishbone, Twisted Mirage, Marble Cake, Wavy Pearls, Abstract Butterfly.)

If you were wanting to custom quilt this I would suggest simple outline stitches around each of the pieces and fill with a horizontal line between the different elements in the background. Inside the snail you could do a swirl in the shell, and in the butterfly a repeating clam shell design. The flowers could be a combination of straight line designs and “beads”. I’d really focus on keeping the background simple, and put the details in the piecing. I used the books quilt layout for Garden Whimsy to give some ideas. I repeated a lot of the elements, keeping it simple.

While this is the last stop on the quilt-along, there’s still time to join and enter for prizes. Amy has more info on her blog post and of course you can hop on Instagram and see all the great pieces other makers have shared at the hashtags #petalandstembook and #whimsygardensewalong. There’s also a free sprout block to make (you can find that on Amy’s site, too). I look forward to seeing how everyone quilts their final quilt, and I hope you’ll tag me on Instagram so I can see how you quilted your quilt!

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