Spinning Tops

Posted on February 13, 2019 by prairiemoonquilts in Longarm Quilting

Back in the fall, I once again had the honor of quilting some quilts for Victoria Findlay Wolfe that she made from her new fabric lines with RJR Fabrics.

She combined her Playmaker prints with her Neutrals collection to make this huge and gorgeous paper-pieced quilt called Spinning Tops:

I’ve waited to talk about this quilt until the pattern and kits were ready, cos I know you’re gonna want this one! Well, the pattern and the kits are now in her shop (HERE), so today I’m gonna talk about how I designed the quilting for it and show you the quilting designs.

Whenever I have something large and highly custom to quilt, I like to work from a picture of the entire quilt first. I make several printouts, and then just draw all over them.

For Spinning Tops, I spent one entire evening sitting in my chair, trying to come up with designs to quilt in the different areas.

If you look at this quilt, you can see lots of secondary designs, so deciding which of those I wanted to play up (and then deciding how to do it) was daunting.

Here are my attempts to decide on something:

This one really had me stumped for awhile! I ended up using a few designs from each one of these sheets, combining them all into the finished design.

Instead of doing an allover design and following the blocks, I decided to turn it into a medallion-style design. While it helps to have Victoria say, “Just do whatever you want,” it also makes me nervous wondering if what I choose will be something she likes. Yes, still, after all these years of working with her! I’m a worry-wart.

So here are some photos of what I ended up doing. Sorry some of them seem kind of dark — it’s very difficult to photograph quilting on a white quilt!

Where there was a group of five blocks:

In the blocks made up of four small blocks:

The center “medallion”. I didn’t put any quilting inside the small colored triangles, and in the larger ones, I quilted a “V” that followed the V of the triangle itself, just one line.

You can see at the edges of the center medallion, I stopped the center design, and then did a partial of the regular design used on the other sections — it just stops there and butts up against the center design, letting the center design be the star!

Here’s another shot of that; I hope you can tell what I mean:

Then I ended up with this blank area that was very difficult to decide on a design for. I struggled with this space.

You can see in this photo that Victoria took, Agatha is showing you what I finally decided to put in that space!

I also forgot to get any pictures of that border! I love that border — it would be fun to put on other quilts, too, wouldn’t it? You can see in Victoria’s photo how I quilted that part — straight echoing lines in the dark triangles, and a feather motif in the light parts. You can also see in this photo, since I forgot to take a picture of it, how I quilted around the larger blocks that stood alone. I quilted a curved diamond coming out of the side edges of the block, then quilted large feathers up each side to fill the blank area.

I used a straight ruler and some of my QP Curve rulers on this one. It’s quilted with Superior Threads OMNI in Natural White. If I remember correctly, it has Quilter’s Dream Wool batting inside.

I did not do any marking on this quilt (I normally don’t, since I’m scared to), but I used my rulers and a little bit of white chalk when I really needed a reference point.

So there you have a peek inside my brain as I’m trying to come up with custom quilting designs. No wonder I can’t remember anything any more!

You can get the Spinning Tops pattern HERE — it comes with the instructions and all the foundation papers you’ll need. Or . . . you can buy the kit, which comes with the instructions, all the foundation papers, AND all the fabrics! Or you can buy just the fabrics — they’re wonderful, too! Click HERE.

23 responses to “Spinning Tops”

  1. denniele says:

    WOW! What a process! Lovely results…always!

  2. Wendy says:

    So fun to see how you work through a quilt design. How do you get your photos of the quilt top? Do you just enlarge it from a photo? The quilt design makes me think of spring, warm weather and a soft breeze. Fun!

  3. Debbi says:

    Fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing your process, very helpful to me as a struggling longarm quilter. I always have the hardest time deciding on what to quilt. When I see what you have done I know I could quilt those shapes but I have no idea how to come up with the overall design.

  4. Maxine E says:

    WOW! Amazing work! AGAIN!

  5. Mary Kolb says:

    Love reading about your quilting process – would love to watch even more!

  6. Marianne says:

    Love the quilting! I do not machine quilt yet . Must learn as the hands are shot. It was fascinating to follow your thought process! And informative

    For the life of me I cannot see why this pattern has to be paper pieced tho! A process I only do..in small amounts..if absolutely necessary

  7. Loved seeing your process. thank you for sharing

  8. Rose Marie says:

    I’ve been seeing peeks inside your brain for years. All I can say is your brain is wonderful and mine is nothing like it when it comes to meticulous art. Fabulous quilting.

  9. Sandy says:

    Love your quilting decisions!

  10. Tia says:

    So beautiful!! I love your quilting and want to suck up as much knowledge and info as you can share! I need to start practicing with the rulers… The make such pretty designs! Thank you for sharing your process with us!

  11. Karen E. says:

    You are SO good! My wish for you is that you don’t worry if the quiltmaker will like your quilting; I’ve loved every one you’ve shown us.

  12. Tonia says:

    Incredible work! I add my thanks for the peek inside the process of turning a wonderful quilt design into a work of art. Although the quild design itself merits the label of fabric art (in my opinion as a non-designer) All kinds of superlative adjectives come to mind!

  13. Becky says:

    Outstanding work Shelly! That medallion is perfect!!!

  14. Thelma says:

    What an interesting post, I had no idea how this side of the creative processed worked. The quilt is a beauty before the quilting, you sure brought it to life. Wonderfull work by you both

  15. Mary D. says:

    It turned out gorgeous! I loved reading about your process.

  16. Mary Delia says:

    You are an absolute genius at finding the perfect combination of quilting designs. What a gift.

  17. Angie in SoCal says:

    Gorgeous quilting. Thank you for the process post – it helps to see these.

  18. Diana Rolland says:

    Stunning! Very interesting to see your process.

  19. Elaine says:

    Wow! What beautiful quilting. I’m very impressed with how you came up with the designs. Amazing. Like another comment, my brain does not work that way. Can I brag that I know the quilter that quilts for the “stars”? Your quilting is all over the quilting world.

  20. Sherry V. says:

    Your quilting is always wonderful.

    Can I ask what may be a really dumb question? How do you know when you’re getting close to the end of your bobbin?

    I have a long arm and, admittedly, am no where near as talented as you are, but I have been hesitant to branch out beyond edge to edge quilting since I am afraid that I will run out of bobbin thread 1/2 way through the design.

    I have read everything that I can find on machine quilting and, unless I missed it, I haven’t seen any mention of stopping “mid stream” of a design.

    Thank you for the eye candy and all that you do!

  21. Cindy Spearman says:

    I love the Quilt and the quilting!!!!

  22. KT says:

    Beautiful! Loved reading about your thought process behind your stunning work–thanks for sharing!

  23. Thanks for posting, I’ve just discovered your blog! I’m a big fan of VFW quilts and your quilting too!! Seeing the quilts up close inspires me, and I’m glad to know that printing photos and doodling is how you get inspired. Me too! I’m really enjoying your blog.

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