I approach show quilting as an adventure (hence the words “Adventures in Fabric Arts” found on my blog heading). Every show quilt I have made to date has been designed entirely from my own vision, or inspired by copyright free photographs interpreted by me, or my own vision enhanced with elements from royalty free sources such as Dover Publications. I so far don’t use other people’s patterns, which I realize are often a wonderful way to approach quilting, and many people make magnificent quilts from patterns and add their own spin on them. I admire these quilts too, but for me, I love my adventure in quilting.
Because of this approach, for every show quilt I have one or more test pieces accompanying it (I’m getting quite a stack of these little things, and I am reluctant to throw them away). For making my Spiral Galaxy quilt, I have found this little test piece extremely useful:
First, I tested the painted background, which I put behind the spiral of Angelina Fibers:
Then I tested the threads for the quilting on this, which allowed me to make the decisions needed for both the threads and the quilting patterns/fills (see this blog post about making my deadline, in which I discuss these choices).
I also tested the spires behind select stars that I designed in my Bernina v7 software and stitched in the hoop.
Today, I am thinking of adding some fabric glitter paint to the very center of the spiral to enhance the look of my homage to the magnificent spiral galaxies created by God and photographed and processed by NASA that have so inspired me. So I am testing that on the study piece. So here you have the overall test/study piece, which is very roughly 15″ x 15″.
Sew I encourage you to include test pieces in your quilt making. They can save you a lot of mistakes, picking out, restarts, and headaches of all kinds.
Sew happy everyone! Develop your own adventures in fabric art, but be sure to start with a small study piece.