To Quilt or not to Quilt Applique!
At some point you will most likely have an appliquéd quilt to finish on the longarm quilting machine. The question then is whether to quilt on the appliqué or stay off of it and go around the appliqué. There will be a great temptation to quilt on the appliqué as the longarm could certainly go through all the layers and secure those pieces forever.
The answer has been generalized but will hold true for the majority of appliqué quilts.
- Stay off of the appliqué and go around absolutely everything you can about ¼ inch away from the appliqué work. If you quilt on the appliqué it seems to destroy the appearance by shrinking it down into the stitching valley irregularly. If you quilt ¼ inch away from the appliqué the appliqué is on the top of the puff of the quilted area and retains its shape.Acceptations are when the appliqué is large and may need a second or third line of stitching to go through and secure the layers as the batting manufacturer has a recommendation for stitching distance on the package and we do want to use those guidelines.
- If you are using a background fill in like meandering you may not even need to outline the appliqué if you think you can get close enough and even enough to compliment the appliqué. To decide this, picture how the back of the quilt will look with just the fill in. You might like to actually outline the block and not the appliqué to make the back look like a quilt and not scattered meandering. Thinking about what will be on the back will also help you to keep a balanced amount of quilting in each block as appliquéd quilts are often samplers with varied amounts of appliqué in each block and you do want to try to balance the amount of quilting throughout the quilt.