by Mary Beth Krapil

They say that quilting makes the quilt. Sometimes, that is more true than others. Of course it’s very true in the case of a whole cloth quilt. After all, in a whole cloth quilt, quilting is all there is. A single piece of fabric for the quilt top, made fantastically beautiful by quilting.

At the 2018 Houston International Quilt Festival I saw some quilts that were technically not whole cloth quilts, there was some piecing and/or applique or painting or dying. However the quilting was certainly the star of the show on these quilts.

Pink Oyster Mushrooms was created with dyed and painted white cloth. The quilting created real depth and texture.

Pink Oyster Mushrooms by Sarah Ann Smith of Hope Maine

detail of Pink Oyster Mushrooms


This quilt is actually pieced! Karl used a single fabric, Quilter’s Linen. He carefully changed the direction of the fabric to provide subtle variation in color and texture. Quilted with silver circles and rays. The thread creates amazing highlights.

You’ve Got to Start Somewhere by Karl Burkett of Houston, Texas

detail of You’ve Got to Start Somewhere


There was a beautiful display of Cathy Wiggins lovely quilted leather made into saddles. Cathy uses paints and dyes after quilting the leather.

Red Roses of Texas by Cathy Wigginsnof North Carolina

Jackson’s Sunday-Go-to-Meeting Saddle by Cathy Wiggins of North Carolina

Bentley and Saddle by Cathy Wiggins of North Carolina


Stephanie used multi-colored threads to add depth and texture to this minimally pieced quilt.

Clyfford-Still Life by Stephanie Ruyle of Denver, Colorado

detail of Clyfford-Still Life


Cristina did not share what she used to create this adorable quilt. My guess is ink for the stripes on the bathing suit. What do you think?

The Jump by Cristina Arcenegui Bono of Alcala de Guadaira, Seville, Spain

detail of The Jump


This quilt definitely has some fantastic intricate piecing, but in my mind the star is Bethanne‘s wonderful pictorial quilting.

Into the Westward Sun by Bethanne Nemesh of Allentown, Pennsylvannia

detail of Into the Westward Sun


Another quilt with lovely piecing and over the top quilting. Sorry the detail photo I took was blurry.

Oh, My Bleeding Heart by Lisa H Calle of Pottstown, Pennsylvania


Vicki manipulated a photo of a Bird of Paradise bloom and then had it professionally printed on silk charmeuse. Her quilting creates the detail of the leaves and bloom.

Dancing Bird by Vicki Bohnhoff of Culver City, California

detail of Dancing Bird


This quilt was machine pieced and hand appliqued, but the dramatic use of contrasting thread really steals the show.

Blue Moon by Mary Lorenz of Austin, Texas

detail of Blue Moon


Here is one of my own. It was a challenge issued to the Handi Quilter Educators in 2015. It is a single friendship star block and I added quilting in a contrasting thread color along with some couched yarn.

Friendship star challenge by Mary Beth Krapil of Duncan, NC


You should add this to your list of quilts you want to make: a minimally pieced or appliqued quilt where quilting makes the quilt. Are you game?