One of the things most fun about free motion quilting is the freedom to do so many different designs with thread, your sewing machine and your creativity. It really is boundless! If you work in the abstract arts as I do, these freedoms allow you to pick and choose how to accentuate colors or designs or how to create depth in your quilts with stitching. I’m going to do a few blogs on free motion machine quilting on landscape quilts. Today I’m sharing ideas for quilting MOUNTAINS and HILLS in your art quilts.
MOUNTAINS or HILLS in an art quilt can get lost amongst themselves due to similar size and shape even if you have several layers with some in the foreground and others moving into the background. I try to differentiate mountains or hills with different fabric selections and by having the color shade lighten up or become more grey as the mountains recede into the background. Even with the color distinctions, mountains and hills need different quilt stitching to give them character.
I like to use a rambling, variably wavy stitching for the foreground mountains which gives a sense of tree covered. I also like to use large unusual rectangle-like shapes that look kind of like a rocky face. Often I also use a very tightly stitched stipling pattern for one mountain which gives it texture and distinguishes it from the others around it. You can also use a very tightly stitched elongated zigzag pattern with columns of this stitch nested into the pattern of the previous column in a random way. Another design I use I call the “ski slope” design as the stitching begins in a common point on the top of the mountain and proceeds down across the mountain.
You can see examples of all of these in the photos of my art quilt “Sunset 50 Water with Mountains”. I had a variety of rocks in the water, hills and mountains to quilt in a variety of ways to further differentiate the colors and design of the quilt. On my “Trees 22 Spring at the Lake” art quilt, you can see more ideas combining more daylight colors for the mountains/hills along with a variety of free motion stitching.
I don’t have a formula or even a typical combination of free motion designs rather I decide with each quilt. Experimentation on scrap fabric is the best way to try different stitching designs before you launch into a pieced quilt. Have fun sewing!