Four Reasons to Play with Pre-Printed Panels

I recently completed a pre-printed Asian butterfly panel that I’ve had for 8 years. I loved it, hadn’t forgotten it, just wasn’t sure what to do with it. Given my recent conversion to beading my quilts, I realized this was a great opportunity to try beading again. I also wanted to get better at mixing motifs in backgrounds.

Which brings me to Reason #1 to work with Pre-Printed Panels (PPP!): it’s a great place to experiment with different techniques. I have been following Kathy Schmidt’s blog, admiring her work and seeing the beautiful effect that beading can have.Also, the judge of my big PIQF win commented something to the effect that she appreciated my edited use of embellishments-perhaps that was a factor in my win? Yesssss-vindicated!!! I feel like there is just way too much embellishment going on quilts right now and it just needs to be edited, thoughtful, just right.

So I wanted to continue experimenting with just enough embellishing. This panel was well equipped for beading-there were built-in markings and opportunities to bead. I decided to “swoop” a gridded/beaded section throughout the piece.

Reason #2: Experiment with different batting. I think most quilters have a default batting that they work with. No one batt can serve all purposes. Batting can have a huge effect on your work: puffy batting creates dimension, sturdy batting hangs well, some is more drapeable than others, etc.

After having worked with flat batting on my “Bend Don’t Break” piece, I was surprised at how well it worked on that piece. It was so much easier to quilt. I tried it again on this piece-ugh! This piece would have benefited greatly from the puff and dimension of wool batting. Now I know that a piece like this needs wool batting-lesson learned!Here you really see the lack of dimension. I used Orient batting which I love, but because it’s flatter and denser than my usual wool batting, my fingers got pretty sore from pushing that beading needle! I tried to capture the sparkle of the beads here. It’s subtle, but actually pretty effective when you stand back. This is a high quality linen PPP that I got from Wendy Lee at Petroglyph. I basted this piece with Misty Fuse front and back.I wanted to experiment with mixed motifs but I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable if I’d worked 80 hrs creating this!  Reason #3: Lower anxiety level. When I’m working with a piece I have already invested many hours in, I am much less likely to experiment and, I’ll be more angst ridden in the process. If I just grab a PPP and layer it up, I’m just foot loose and fancy free, ready to try just about anything!I will probably keep this piece since I put about 30-ish hours into it. But usually when I grab a PPP, I will have my fun and then donate the piece. So Reason #4: A PPP is a great donation piece. PPP for babies are great for donations as well as anything lap-quilt-sized and anything for our brave men and women in the military. I’ve often grabbed a PPP and added a few borders to make a great donation lap quilt. Here I can clearly see the benefit of the beading. By looking  at the unbeaded section vs the beaded section, I think it’s clear that the beading elevates this piece. I’ve only used seed beads at this point because I think they are the perfect balance-they sparkle but they don’t shout.

If you are a new quilter or if you just don’t have the time to piece and design a quilt, grab a PPP, let loose, experiment and have some fun!


  1. says

    Ah–edited embellishment! Something new for me to learn. I’m an over-the-top embellisher, so I have a lot to learn. This is a great way to practice all the things you mentioned and experiment with anything you desire! Great blog.

      • says

        Absolutely! I just never get out as far as you and it’s a looooong way east unless we can find something compelling part way for both of us! I would so love to learn more controlled quilting from you.

    • jennyklyon says

      Thank you-I will Kelly! I would love to teach on the east coast-think that it may be awhile before that happens.

  2. says

    Very nice tutorial! I have several panels that I bought when living in Japan and it would be fun to play with them- thanks for that idea. I was thinking that I should be quilting something small and undemanding…… Are you going to be in Houston? I think you said you have a piece there.

  3. jennyklyon says

    Glad you enjoyed the post Deb. Your Japanese PPP sound like a lot of fun to play with! I am going to Houston-are you? I have a piece in the Studio Art Quilt Assoc auction.

    • says

      Hope I’m not commenting twice- my iPad is being testy. Yes! I am at a wedding in Philadelphia this weekend. I fly back to Chicago on Monday and leave on Tuesday for Houston- whew! I will look for your quilt. I would love to see it in person.

  4. Wendy Lee (Petroglyph) says

    What a fabulous creation! I’ve seen many artistic creations–quilts,vests,jackets, even a purse–encorporating “my” panels but yours is by far the most intricate and exciting. Thank you for the inspiration. Best wishes, Wendy Lee

  5. says

    You’re welcome Wendy! I love your panels and had a great time quilting this one. It was well aged by the time I got to it-just wasn’t sure how to do it justice.


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