What Shade are You with Jessica Skultety
Hi! I’m Jess of Quilty Habit, and I’m quilting teacher, lecturer, and writer from New Jersey. I’ve only really started making all-solid quilts in the last couple of years, and every time, I fall in love with their graphic beauty. This quilt design lounged for years in my sketchbook, just waiting to be created in real life. Enter RJR Fabrics and the chance to make any quilt I wanted with Cotton Supreme Solids. It was like the quilting gods were sending me a sign, so I had to take it!
“Burst” was made techniques from my “Orange Peels and Improv” class. I pieced the background together in four color segments, using improvisation and snippets of Cotton and Steel Basics to add depth. At first, I was only going to use solids, but the little peeks of prints seemed promising and added interest to the background as I worked.
Improvisation is my favorite piecing method, and I was excited to work with Cotton Supreme solids for the first time. They are so soft, and it’s staggering how many colors are available! I love saturated, cool colors. First, I used colored pencils to decide my piecing plan.
The orange peels, all made in slightly lighter fabrics, are appliqued on by machine. The process can take a long time for this many peels (50, give or take a couple), but I always turn on a good TV show and work away at them (currently, I’m watching season 4 of Veep).
Here’s a list of colors I used:
Harbor – 425
Royal Blue – 126
Night – 280
Horizon – 354
Atlantica – 374
Grape – 121
Bougainvillea – 333
Purple Haze – 279
Violet – 423
Jacaranda – 317
Riviera – 274
Melody – 371
Poolside – 327
Hydrangea – 214
Orchid – 421
Optical White – 33
Silver Screen – 380
Turks and Caicos – 292
The goal was to make the orange peels look like they were bursting out from the middle of the quilt (hence the name “Burst”). Perfect for spring, when all the flowers are bursting open. I’ve been completely obsessed with making and designing orange peel quilts since 2014, and all those I’ve made have to do with flowers or the wind.
Here, I imagine the wind swirling around and around until a huge gust makes the flower petals scatter. I purposefully created three different orange peel sizes (small, medium, and extra large) to add detail through scale. Once I pinned down the middle and large orange peels, I scattered the others randomly within their paths.
The actual quilting step is my favorite part of making any quilt. I quilt everything on my domestic machine, even this quilt, which is pretty large (78″ square). I decided to accentuate the design from the middle using wavy lines and pebbles. I used several Aurifil threads to achieve this effect: 2024 (white, 28 weight), 2535 (magenta, 40 weight), 5006 (light blue, 40 weight), 1128 (medium blue, 50 weight), 2520 (light purple, 50 weight), 1200 (dark purple, 50 weight), and 2805 (light blue, 50 weight).
Pebbles are one of my go-to quilting motifs, but I always underestimate how long they will take. I went through at least 12 bobbins on pebbles alone!
Towards the end, I had some trouble with my machine (she’s fixed now, thank goodness!) but I couldn’t stitch the middle. I grabbed my variegated purple perle cotton to handstitch a starburst right in the center. I’m really pleased with this little detail!
The back of the quilt was made from several coordinating Cotton and Steel Basics. I also used a little bit of extra solid fabric to balance it out. I really love making double-sided quilts! Finally, I bound the quilt in scrappy greys, teals, and blues from the front.
I was so glad to see that the orange peel design, improvisation, and texture showed up from afar!
It feels absolutely wonderful to finally see my vision in quilt form. Thank you so much to RJR for the chance to work with you and your fabulous fabrics! If you hop over to Instagram, @rjrfabrics and I (@quiltyhabit) are each giving away a bundle of fabric that I used here. Best of luck!
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