Machine Quilting: Duplicate but Different

It happens a lot. I mean A LOT. Several ladies that bring me quilts make the same quilt over and over and over. And let me start by saying there's nothing wrong with that! I'm not complaining if that's what you're thinking...

What I'm trying to say is many people have their go-to pattern. And then they make it several times but maybe in different colors or similar-almost fabrics. You know what I'm talking about - the quilts you make for grandkids or siblings that want the same thing as everyone else, but theirs has to be better than everyone else's at the same time... God forbid you put a snazzy border on so-and-so's quilt when you didn't on this one...

I LOVE getting quilts like this for a few different reasons:

1) I'm already familiar with the quilt and how it's been constructed.
2) Since I'm familiar with it, I've already thought over different ideas on how to quilt it before
3) And finally I'm familiar with it, I've thought it over AND I've already worked my way through the quilt. That way I already know what former ideas would and would not work and why.

That's why these quilts are duplicate but different. Make it the same, but not the same. Similar yet unique. This challenges me creatively and I love it.
 Now, if this quilt looks familiar to you, you have seen two other versions in this post and this post. It's more similar to the first post trying to emphasize the flowers... But rather than several different colors, this version used a monochromatic-ish color scheme.
 I really wanted to use my Quick Curve Ruler Sidekick and came up with the idea for the curved lines in the petals first. I kept the same outlines and swirls in the background to make this similar to the first quilt. Plus it works so well!
 For the life of me I couldn't think of what to use in the center of the flowers... I thought and pondered and thought some more. I was dumbfounded when I thought about using the dahlia flower in the center of the flower petals. It was too perfect.

Each of the blocks were created improv style so nothing is the same. With the dahlia pattern in the center, it's easily stretchable to fit the uneven spaces and still gives a finished and completed look.

 I started with my favorite So Fine Pearl thread for the swirls in the cream fabric. Then I switched to my go-to pale blue thread, So Fine's It's A Boy, and used the blue for the flowers. The pearl would have been too stark, but the two colors are so pale, you really don't notice the difference unless you really look up close.
 All in all, this quilt turned out amazing just like the other two... or was that three ;)
 Here's how the backing turned out. I love how you can see each and every detail and even though the pieces are separate, they work together so well.
Some of you have asked in the past how I come up with these designs. Well, my trusty Magna Doodle is the key. The most important tip when quilting isn't thinking about what you're doing right now - it's where you are going next. Kinda like driving a car. You need to know where you are driving to, but you look ahead while you're driving. You don't stare at the road right in front of the car.

To try and quilt these blocks as easily as possible in the space I could (they're quite large and I didn't want to stretch too far), I split the blocks in half and figured out where to start and which direction to go in for each half. If you look at my doodle, the 'X' marks the start position and then I just follow the arrows. First I outlined the block to mark the 1/4" line (it can be tricky to visualize on some sharp angles). Then I quilted half of the dahlia in the center of the flower before I could finally fill in the flower petals. This little doodle helped me to see which direction the curve should be in for each petal and kept me on track.

I prop up the Magna Doodle right in my line of sight behind the machine so I can always glance up and check my notes if need be. Some other quilters use a tablet or a dry-erase board. I like the Magna Doodle for the no mess part, but sometimes I wish it were a bit bigger. It depends on the quilt I'm working on and how many details I need to jot down.

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