Most of my repeat longarm customers hand me their quilts and say “Do whatever you think is best.” This is both freeing and terrifying! Recently a customer gave me a particularly challenging quilt and told me these exact words.
The quilt was an unusual combination of colors – primarily blues, browns, and dark pink. It wasn’t a feminine quilt, in spite of the pink, but it wasn’t really masculine either. It didn’t have a floral theme, abstract shape, or other identifiable object that stood out in any of the fabrics (okay, it did have spiders on the darker blue!) I wanted to use the same thread on the back and front to avoid loopies (any little spots of one color showing through to the other side where the stitch is formed). And the customer didn’t really want custom quilting which costs more than an edge-to-edge design.
As I looked through designs and thread I had on hand, I recalled the comment made by another quilter about this quilt, “It has a Southwest look and feel to it.” She was right! It could be the bright sky and beautiful colors of clay and/or desert. It had a linear feel that still had a flow to it. I considered all this as I thought about a recent visit to Santa Fe, where the architecture has been dictated by a strict building code for many years. There is a look and feel that is distinct, pleasant, and uniform without being stultifying. And even the spiders seemed to fit in with this theme!
After auditioning several colors for thread I settled on a maroon that blended with all the fabrics and stood out a bit more on the blue border. I chose a pantograph called Paradox that gave the linear yet smooth look evocative of the stucco buildings.
The customer was happy with the results, which is always my main goal! Having inspiration from the art-rich enclave of Santa Fe was a bonus.