Is there a style – in quilting, fabric, art, decor, or anything – that always grabs your attention? For me it’s bright , bold color palettes. So when Sally asked me to custom quilt her Kaffe Fassett Fan Dance quilt I melted and said “OK!!” Don’t you just love the vibrancy and playfulness of the fabrics in Sally’s quilt?
This quilt looks like it was a lot of fun to make. It’s such a striking design with the colored Dresden fans moving across the quilt. And of course those Kaffe Fassett fabrics always draw me in for a closer look. If you’d like to make your own Fan Dance quilt, you can find the pattern here.
Thread Choice for Busy Prints
I have to admit, this quilt gave me a bit of Stand & Stare Syndrome. The very reasons I love Kaffe fabrics – the wild and colorful prints – are the same reasons these quilts can be difficult to quilt. Because the prints are so busy my quilting can be easily lost in the quilt.
One of my solutions was to use a bright thread that would contrast with the quilt. Glide thread was the perfect choice. It has a lovely sheen that sparkles and catches the eye. A perfect match for a Kaffe Fassett quilt! I wanted a color that would contrast a little with the fabrics and decided on Glide’s Split Pea, which conveniently has a matching Magna-Glide pre-wound bobbin. I believe whenever you can quilt with a bright green thread, you should! The thread blends enough that the quilting doesn’t stand out from a distance, but you can see it as you look closer.
My Fan Dance Quilting Plan
I did need to be careful with how I loaded the Fan Dance quilt onto my APQS Millie 30’s frame. Normally I load a quilt longways with the longest side of the quilt parallel to the bars. But Sally’s fans are all pointing in the same direction. To make quilting easier I loaded the quilt short ways so all the fans are pointing “North.” It requited more passes, but it made my life so much easier!
I stitched in the ditch along the outside edge of every fan to stabilize them. I also echoed about a half inch along the tops of each fan. After that every fan color received a unique treatment.
The green fans have echoed, straight edged ruler work with a wishbone or infinity sign filler.
The yellow-orange fans have feathers with that fishbone design again towards the center of the fans.
The pink-orange fans have a single puffy headed plume in each blade.
And the red fans have stacked curls.
For the negative spaces around the fans I repeated some of the design elements from the fans – like curls and feathers.
The quilt flew by after I started. It may have started with Stand & Stare Syndrome, but with just a few design ideas in mind, the rest came easily. It’s all a matter of quilting one block and one section at a time. And the best part? Sally loved her finished Kaffe Fassett Fan Dance quilt!
If you’d like to know more about my quilting design process, you should join me for my live Quilted Joy Clubhouse meetings! In these online machine quilter’s guild meetings, I spend some time each month showing how I come up with a quilting plan for a quilt. You can watch the replays of all our previous meetings here.