If your elders are like mine you have heard many times that mixing alcoholic drinks is a bad idea. I don’t agree with that, a cocktail can be a beautiful thing. The same way that a mix of various quilting techniques is a beautiful thing. I will tell you why in this article.
There are many different quilting techniques. I have already discussed several of them. And those articles don’t even touch on half of the techniques available. Sometimes it seems a new technique is invented every week. Therefore, it can be difficult to choose the right technique for the right pattern, especially because you also have to take into account the kind of fabric you are using!
However, I don’t want to discourage you from quilting with endless lists of techniques you can use. In this article, I will show you quilt blocks made from some classic techniques that have been around for a long long time. These techniques will help you on your way to become a master quilter yourself. These techniques I’ll show you with the help of some blocks of the Dear Jane sampler quilt. I will end the article with 4 tips to keep in mind when combining techniques.
If you know very little about quilting or just like to read my articles, check the ones below to learn more about the individual techniques:
- Quilting techniques with Dear Jane 101: Foundation piecing
- Quilting techniques 101 with the Dear Jane quilt: Y-seams
- The Dear Jane quilt techniques: the magic reverse applique quilting trick
- Dear Jane quilt: the quilting techniques you hate, or why practice is paramount: Applique.
See the article below to find out more about the Dear Jane sampler quilt. A sampler quilt is a brilliant way to teach yourself new techniques. Each block is made of a different pattern. Therefore, every block you make requires a different way of thinking to figure out how to sew the particular quilt block.
Dear Jane Quilt H-2: Jacob Anthony
In block H-2 below I used a combination of patchwork, Y-seams and needle turn applique. The needle turn applique is used in the two red triangles positioned at an angle from the triangles in the middle. In a previous similar-looking block, C-2 Streak of lightning, I used the Y-seam technique to make this block. However, this pattern has sharp corners and the blue fabric is too thick to use that technique. Both needle turn and the Y-seam technique can be used for a block like this. When you use Y-seam I advise you to first sew the corners of the blue block together where the two pieces meet. When you use the Y-seam technique it is best to sew those corners last. This block shows that different techniques lead to similar results. However, not every kind of fabric is suitable for every technique, so choose accordingly. Adjusting a technique allows you to create a pattern with any fabric you want.
The colour combination of dark blue and red works really well for this block. It gives the block a lot of bad-ass attitude. Also, it reminds me of sailboats lolling in a lake. I realise this is a strange combination of associations.
Dear Jane Quilt Block G-12: Gloriae
This block was complicated. I pieced it with a combination of needle turn applique and reverse applique. Reverse applique places the fabric to be sown behind the background fabric instead of on top. In the pictures below you can see the steps used to construct this block.
First, I reverse appliqued the pink star on the green fabric. After that, I added the pink border with needle turn applique. I did it this way because I wanted to create a 3d effect. Now it looks as if the pink star is furthest away from the pink border. The pink border looks like a window sill. When you are combining techniques there are more possibilities of creating interesting 3d effects like this in your quilt blocks.
I love the combination of green and pink. I probably love it because it is not a frequently used combination. Combining unconventional colour combinations with more normalized ones is a great way to make your quilt pop and look interesting and still maintain the homely feel of quilts we all love.
Dear Jane Quilt Block J-10: Chieko’s Calla Lilly
The next block I’ll show you is an unsuccessful combination of techniques. I am showing you this block to show you we all live and learn. Also, maybe this helps you to prevent making the same mistake. This block combined the foundation piecing technique with needle turn applique and reverse applique. Both the applique techniques were used to create a similar 3d effect as in block G-12 Gloriae.
However, it turns out if your layers of fabric become too thick reverse applique doesn’t work anymore. In reverse applique, you cut the background fabric and fold it to the back. The hole you creates the shape of the pattern. However, the foundation piecing adds an extra layer which makes the block bulky. Also, it was difficult to fold the red fabric under because there was not enough space. Needleturn applique only folds one layer of fabric underneath the piece you’re sewing which prevents bulkiness. You can see the difference in neatness between the yellow petals (reverse applique) and the red ones (needle turn applique).
This is the first Dear Jane block I actually want to re-do. I am not sure if I will in the end though because I promised myself at the start to keep all the blocks. In that way, the different skill level of all the blocks will reflect my journey as a quilter. I even wrote about my less skilled blocks in a post to make that point. I am still disappointed with how this block turned out. I really love the colour combination and the reverse applique technique, but couldn’t make it work this time. I learned that it doesn’t work to combine a technique that creates extra layers of fabric with a technique that requires as little fabric as possible.
Dear Jane Quilt Block H-9: Snowflake Melt
I want to end this post with another nice block, number H-9 Snowflake Melt. The colour combination of dark green and blue is so nice and calming. Also, this block reminds me of a windmill and a windmill in a landscape is a beautiful thing.
This block combined the foundation piecing technique with reverse applique. I know I said with the previous block to not combine those techniques. However, this block shows us that there are rules, and there are times to break those rules. The previous block was very crowded at the places where the points of the petals meet. This increased the amount of fabric to be folded away under the same space even more than the layer foundation piecing adds. The block below has only four reverse applique pieces which are far enough apart to work out. So, the lesson with this last block is to always consider for each quilt pattern individually which techniques are best to use.
Conclusion: What have we learned about mixing quilt techniques?
- Adjusting a technique allows you to make a pattern with any fabric you want
- When you are combining techniques there are more possibilities of creating interesting 3d effects in your quilt blocks.
- It doesn’t work to combine a technique that creates extra layers of fabric with a technique that requires as little fabric as possible.
- Always consider for each quilt pattern individually which techniques are best to use
Even though the last lesson tells us that there are no rules, I still hope this article taught you wonderful things. And remember: the know-how to match a pattern with the best technique is something that comes with experience. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes along the way. As you saw in my block J-10 a block will always come together no matter what. Don’t be too hard on yourself, keep practising and celebrate every block you finish with a kiss and soon you’ll notice yourself getting better and better.
If you need any help to decide which technique to use for a particular pattern feel free to send me a message. You can use the commentary section, email or find me on one of my social media accounts details of which are on the bottom of this article.
Some questions for you:
- Which combination of techniques do you use most?
- What is your favourite ‘conventional’ colour combination?
- What is your favourite ‘unconventional’ colour combination?
- Did you like this article and would you like more of this kind of articles in the future?
Would you like to know more?
A sneak peek of a future project and article
This post is part of the hand quilting along organized by Kathy. We are a group of quilters who want to support each other in our quest for hand quilting. Since my Dear Jane is completely made by hand this project qualifies. If you are interested in joining us send Kathy a message. Also, check out the work of the other wonderful quilters in the links below.
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