Quilt as Desired: Negative Space

Do you have a stack of unfinished quilt tops sitting in a corner or closet of your house that are crying out for some attention?

You’ve pieced together a quilt top that you’re extremely proud of. You refer to the book or pattern that has inspired your quilt top for what comes next. “Quilt as desired” it says. This dreaded phrase and the next step of quilt-making can create a real roadblock in the creative process. Instead of plowing forward, you set it aside, procrastinating the “quilt as desired” step and your unfinished quilt tops stack grows one more layer.   

Garden Peony Quilt by Yvonne Fuchs

In her article,Quilt as Desired: Negative Space, Yvonne Fuchs tackles the age-old dilemma of how to quilt your quilt. Fuchs is a master of creating compelling negative space quilt designs. In addition to her ability to make interesting negative space quilts, she elevates her initial designs with thoughtful quilting. She aptly calls this a ‘secondary design element.’ 

The first thing Fuchs does when developing a quilting plan is assess what is in her ‘quilting toolbox.’ She asks: 

  • “What tools are available with the machine you will be using (computerized, rulers, templates, marking devices)? How confident are you in using these tools? 
  • When you think of quilting that inspires you, what style of quilting (walking foot/straight line, free-motion, or a combination of the two) draws you in? 
  • When you are having the most fun quilting, what style of quilting (walking foot/straight line, free-motion, or a combination of the two) are you doing? 

In addition to helping create a quilting plan, the questions are also meant to encourage a positive attitude and approach to the creation process. 

Sunset Mini Quilt by Yvonne Fuchs

Fuchs uses a lot of tools when developing a quilting plan. One of her favorites is using Procreate on her iPad with an Apple Pencil. This is a great way to brainstorm ideas and motifs. She then often finalizes her design in a vector-based program like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator so that she can get precise measurements that she can use to create templates or as a marking reference. If computer programs intimidate you, Fuchs says printing out a photograph of your quilt or a page of the finished quilt from the pattern you’ve used can be extremely useful. Use a pencil to doodle on the page or put it in a clear plastic sleeve and use a dry-erase marker on it to test out different ideas. 

Cloudy Night Sky by Yvonne Fuchs

One of Fuch’s final tips is to be thoughtful about your thread choices. The color and thread weight you choose can have a dramatic effect on the end product. 

You can read the entire article,Quilt as Desired: Negative Space by Yvonne Fuchs inCurated Quilts, Issue no.21: Negative Space.

Yvonne Fuchs is a former aerospace engineer turned modern quilter, designer, and technical editor. She was introduced to quilting by her paternal grandmother in high school. Now, over 25 years later, Yvonne has developed a style that specializes in transparency color play and bold, geometric designs. Yvonne blogs at www.quiltingjetgirl.com where she shares her process and tutorials and seeks to help you make quilts that make you proud. You can find her on IG @quiltingjetgirl

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