Photo Quilt Designs: How to Use Line in your Design

Photo Quilt

Creating unique quilt designs can be difficult; there are so many questions to ask yourself before you begin. Are you creating an art quilt, a modern quilt, or a traditional quilt? What fabrics will you choose and in which colors? What’s your subject matter or do you have one?

Once your quilt design has a direction you are working towards, consider the directionality of the lines within your composition. Today we are discussing line in the context of photo quilts, but it’s a foundation of design that is integral in every quilt we design.

Lea McComas, award-winning art quilter and teacher extraordinaire, explains the importance of line within the structure of art quilts in her online course Successful Pictoral Quilts. In one of the video tutorials featured in the course, she demonstrates how the dominant line within the design can help set the mood. It can form a sense of serenity or energy; it can also help construct a presence of motion or change.

Here a couple ways to use lines in an art or photo quilt Lea describes in the course:

Horizontal lines

In Lea’s quilt “Biker Boys” (as seen above) she uses the horizontal like to indicate a moment of rest as the cyclists stop for a picture. As you look at the quilt the prevalence of that horizontal line is evident in the frame of the six-seater bike, the six suits, six faces, and six hats. Depending on the feature of the pictoral quilt, a strong horizontal line within the composition can be used to depict peace and tranquility, slow motion, rest, inertia or even lifelessness.

Vertical lines

Vertical lines, on the other hand, invoke a sense of stability and rigidity which are depicted beautifully in Lea’s quilt titled “Bamboo”. This is an excellent design element to bring into this particular quilt because it pairs perfectly with the strength and constant nature of bamboo plants. They can also be helpful when designing a quilt to illustrate, whether photo realistically or abstractly, structure and power.

Lea explores picture quilt design from start to finish in her online course; this barely scratches the surface of creating a winning composition. Join Lea when you register for your seat in her course Successful Pictoral Quilts to watch video instruction, ask Lea questions, and see what your classmates are creating.

Happy quilting!

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