Archive | 1:16 pm

Ask the Panel

11 Mar

I love panel quilts. They allow you to get on with quilting without having actually to make a complicated quilt and they give you scope for experimentation without worrying about messing up a quilt that took hours to piece or wasting time on a bit of calico that you don’t know what to do with when it is finished.

I also once went on a thread painting course that was a bit of a waste of time but when I started to use a longarm I realised that panel quilts were the ideal material to practise on.

On this one from SusiBee I did mostly echoing and swirls because it was one of the earlier ones I did. A few wiggly lines for the water and Bob’s your Uncle.

This one allowed a bit more definition with a bit of thread painting on the icebergs and mountains. It is not dense but it is the same technique.

This one gave a lot of scope for echoing and a touch of thread painting but the next one takes it to the next level. The giraffe is my favourite.

Once you get the hang of the panel the next stage is to make a panel into a quilt with some simple borders in matching fabrics..The same criteria apply in that you don’t waste hours of piecing if it all goes pear shaped but so far it hasn’t. You get a full sized quilt made quickly and very difficult to get wrong. There are no points on these, no misshapen blocks and no running out of fabric on the last block. A word to the wise – always measure the pieces, never just add a strip and cut to size afterwards. You will get wavy borders and they are a real pain to quilt.

Panels help to learn techniques and also allow you to get control of the machine instead of it controlling you which is the way it appears when it is brand new. Try it. It’s much more fun than calico and a lot less nerve-racking than a pieced quilt when you are practising.