Creating a Quilting Plan – Windswept Quilt

Kimberlee Tanner

How to Create a Quilting Plan

It’s been a while since I shared a video on how I create a quilting plan and I’m excited to show this one to you. This quilt continues to be one of our best sellers, and I had so much fun quilting it. It wasn’t a super complicated plan, but sometimes, simple is best!


Thread Color for Quilting

I want to talk about thread color a little bit. On this quilt, I just used white on the entire thing. I don’t mind the thread showing more, and when it’s all done, it doesn’t really stand out as much as you would think. I chose white so it would blend with the white background. A color would stand out more on the white than a white thread on the colored fabric. If you want the quilting to blend more, you can match the color to the fabric, just keep in mind this means more work with starts and stops and changing thread colors. I would choose one color for each flower. When choosing which shade, I tend to lean towards the slightly lighter over darker, so if I’m matching two different purples, I’ll aim to blend into the lighter fabric. Lighter thread colors tend to show less on the darker fabrics than the other way around in my experience.

Break up the Space

The first thing I always do when deciding how to quilt a quilt, I find ways to break up the space. By doing this, it gives me smaller areas to work on and makes it less overwhelming. With this quilt, the first thing I did was define the outlines and negative space around the main flower elements. Now I knew exactly where the focus would be and eliminated awkward transitions between the flowers and background. In these negative space areas, I chose to use the quilting to draw all of the attention to the flowers. By echoing with straight lines, I literally drew arrows pointing at the main element.


After I had decided what to put in the negative space, I turned my attention to the flowers themselves. First, there were weird shapes where the petals came together. By outlining the petals, I turned these areas into the background and was able to fill them in with one of my favorite fillers. In this case, I chose pebbles, but you could easily use whichever fill you prefer. Taking advantage of repetition, I put pebbles in the yellow centers of the flowers as well. Repetition connects the different elements of the design, and makes it easier for me as I don’t have to come up with new ideas!


Turning to the main flowers, I chose to fill in the large areas with swirls. I then used a contrasting element in the print areas and the white areas in each petal. In the printed areas, I kept things more simple. With the print, you don’t see the quilting as heavily as you do in the solid fabrics. If it’s a really busy print, I’ll keep the quilting very simple, no need to take lots of time on a motif you won’t be able to see.

Quilting the Border

Because I really wanted the focus to be on the main element of the quilt, I kept the borders simple with a piano key motif. The best thing about this motif is that you can vary how many lines, the spacing, and even if they are wiggly or straight lines. There are many variations you can make!

To move around the quilt, I echoed around the green strips. By hiding my lines there, it kept it easy to go from motif to motif without being able to easily see the stitch lines.

When quilting large areas and negative space, don’t let it get the best of you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but just remember to break down the space and focus on the areas you want to stand out the most. Let the rest of the quilt play a supporting role by using line to draw the eye and repetition with some of the main elements. Don’t be afraid to try new things as well! The more you sketch and doodle and play, the more comfortable you will get and you’ll notice your own style emerging allowing you to really put your unique stamp on your quilt tops.

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