Author Archive

What Shade are You with Leslie Tucker Jenison

Since I have been studying with Nancy Crow these past few years I have rekindled my love of solids. In addition to dyeing my own solids, which I love to do, I am using a lot of commercial solids. One can imagine that “solids are solids”….it probably doesn’t make much difference who you buy them from, right? Wrong. Did you know that many companies source their “gray goods” from multiple places? That some companies outsource the dyeing to just as many sources? Guess what happens to the quality control?? You got it.

Let’s talk for a moment about RJR. As a surface design artist it goes without saying that I spend a lot of time working with cloth; quality is important to me. Last summer when I was making objects with Urban Artifacts I had selected a group of solids to accompany the print line. I noticed that the quality of the fabric was quite good. This was feedback I received from every one of the makers who worked with the fabric. I started to wonder about it and I inquired inside the company. Here is what I learned: the owners of RJR have had a long-standing relationship with the same Japanese company for the source of all their cloth as well as their printing and dyeing. There is a very high quality of cotton broadcloth used and it is consistent. This matters to me.

A few months ago I was approached about making a quilt for the “What Shade Are You?” project and I happily agreed because I really love the Cotton Supreme solids. My style of working tends to be improvisational in nature so there is no pattern to be acquired with this project, but I’ll share with you what I used to create my quilt.

Here is the list of all the fabrics:
283-On The Rocks
433-Silver Lining
380-Silver Screen
319-Overcast
321-Greyhound
395-Warm Gray
125-Silver
341-Stormy Night
282-Gale Force
92-Goldenrod
368-Goldilocks
357-Sunset Ruby
222-Redwork

Urban Artifacts:
3067-002 Box Springs in Wine
3067-003 Box Springs in Charcoal

I’m going to “walk” you through how I constructed this quilt and what I was thinking about when I was designing it.

I love to use a rotary cutter to “draw” lines and shapes into my fabric. I think of the rotary cutter as my pen or paintbrush and the cloth as my paper or canvas. When I piece elements together those seam lines become my gestural “marks”. For me, it has been a new and exciting way of thinking about the work. In this construction, another piece in an ongoing series called “Aerial Geometry”, I am thinking about my experiences of flying over the Great Plains in a small aircraft and looking at the geometric layout of fields, crop rows, and farms dotted across the landscape. Quite a bit of my abstracted work is about the meaning of home and place. I’m interested in the juxtaposition of natural and man-made elements. While it might not reach out and “smack you over the head” my work frequently includes shapes and symbols that represent these ideas in many of my quilts. Also in this quilt I have included a basic house-shape, a nest shape, and some graphic Alliums to represent my garden.

First, I free-cut numerous strips of all the neutral colors in my palette. These were sewn together and small segments of Goldenrod, Goldilocks, Sunset Ruby, and Redwork were added randomly throughout. I created sections of gray neutrals and “beige” neutrals separately.

On my design wall I marked a general shape to represent the intended size of my construction. I find this to be a helpful guide while working.

My desire was to alternate the gray and beige areas, which were cut from the long pieced sections in alternating sizes and widths. I wanted to vary the direction of the pieced shapes.

Here is how I “built” the construction: first the pieces, then the rows, then I joined the rows. When piecing these somewhat amorphous shapes I overlaid the edges and cut through them so the pieces would come together as a flat construction. I didn’t worry about that whilst piecing the strips because I steam-ironed the strips really well. It does become important when laying the larger shapes together.

Here are all the large shapes before the rows are joined.

After the background was pieced together I created “stems” for my Allium elements by cutting sections of Gale Force and Rework fabric colors, folding and sewing a quarter-inch seam, then rolling the seam under and pinning the stems to the surface, then stitching in place. Four stems were appliquéd prior to the quilting, and one was added afterward to create some visual depth.

Next, I stitched together a group of raw-edge strips of solids and prints to create a “nest”, which was stitched onto the surface of the construction. I wanted all these elements on the surface prior to being quilted as I planned to add more elements after the quilting.

Here is a closeup of the “nest” components.

Here is a photo of one of my dry giant Allium blossoms, still standing in my garden. I enjoy their metamorphosis and I like how they look after the blossoms have dried out. They offer a lovely visual texture in my garden so I leave them in place as long as possible.

My quilt was longarm-quilted by the talented Joanna Marsh from Kustom Kwilts. She did this beautiful matchstick quilting of the background. I like to use a double batting of Quilter’s Dream Orient and the top layer is Quilter’s Dream wool. This seems to be a perfect combo: lightweight, breathable, and perfect for quilts that will need to be shipped and folded as the wool prevents creasing!

I free-motion embroidered the first layer of blossom with my sewing machine feed-dogs down. Then, I hand-embroidered more stem components of the blossom and the buds were added with French knots. This is one of the few places where I really need to use a thimble because that is a lot of layers of fabric and thread to push a needle through!

The roof and base of my “house” were created with Urban Artifacts by pillow-casing some batting between two layers, stitching and quilting the pieces, then appliquéing them to the quilted surface.

Next, I squared up the edged and stitched a facing onto the quilt, then turned it to the back and whip-stitched it in place. This is a cotton canvas print from Rifle Paper company, which is a division of Cotton & Steel (which is part of the RJR family, in case you didn’t know!).

Here is what the turned corner looks like from the front. I like the clean edge of a faced quilt, particularly for one that is to be a wall piece.

I’m satisfied with the details of the construction.

And here is my finished quilt!
Dimensions are 40″ by 40″.

If you are coming to Quilt Market and/or Quilt Festival in fall, 2017, please look for my quilt as part of “Personal Iconography: Graffiti On Cloth”, a special exhibition presented by Dinner At Eight Artists. Jamie Fingal, another designer for RJR, is the other half of the curating team with me. I hope you enjoyed seeing how my quilt was created. I really encourage you to ask for Cotton Supreme Solids at your local quilt shop(s). It is really a great product and I am a fan!

Easy Flannel Baby Blanket with Jennifer Fulton

Easy Flannel Baby Blanket

Hi! I’m Jennifer Fulton @Inquiring Quilter, and I’m pleased to share one of my favorite sewing projects.

I love it when someone close to me gets pregnant because that means I get to make a baby quilt! Sometimes though I don’t always have the time to make a quilt. That’s when I pull out my easy peasy flannel baby blanket pattern. Not only is this blanket easy to make, it’s quick too! It’s one of those gifts every mother will appreciate because it’s so useful (not to mention soft and cuddly!)

To make this blanket you’ll need two yards of flannel, one yard for the front and one yard for the back. May I suggest these gorgeous flannels from the Afternoon in the Attic Flannel collection? The fabrics coordinate perfectly, and you’re certain to find a color combination you like.

After you purchase your flannels, it’s time to make the blanket! This is an easy get it done in an afternoon kind of project.

Cut the flannels
Cut off the selvages, then stack the flannels, one on top of the other and cut them the same size. I cut mine 36” square.

You can also cut rounded corners if you like, by tracing around the edge of a small plate and cutting on the line.

Prewash
After cutting the flannels to size, prewash them (I call this “preshrinking”). Dry the flannels on high heat and press.

Sew 1/4” from the edge
Layer fabrics RST (right sides together) and pin. Sew 1/4” from the edge all the way around, leaving a 6”-8” opening for turning.

Turn right side out
Clip the corners at a diagonal. Turn the blanket right side out and gently poke out the corners so they are square. Press.

Sew the opening closed
Press under the raw edges at the opening and pin.

With thread that matches the top, sew all the way around, 1/4” from the edge. This will close the opening and stabilize the edge of the blanket.

Create a “border”
Top stitch all the way around, approximately 2-1/2” from the edge. This will create a nice border for the blanket, and further stabilize the edge. To add more interest, you might want to use a contrasting thread and a zig-zag or other decorative stitch.

At this point, your blanket is all done! To download this free pattern from RJR Fabrics click here.

What Shade are you With Krista Hennebury

Hi There! I’m Krista Hennebury, otherwise known online as Poppyprint. I live near Vancouver, British Columbia and am active in both modern and traditional quilt guilds. I blog here, I teach workshops all over Canada and occasionally elsewhere in the world and I share pretty much everything on Instagram as @poppyprint.  I’m so happy to be back for an encore What Shade RU blogpost. You can read about my first RJR Supreme Cotton Solids quilt, Round Peg, Square Hole right here.

Pop Stars by Poppyprint, quilted by Twincreekquilts

I’ve long been enamored with traditional star quilts. Last year, while teaching at a fibre arts symposium, I saw a gorgeous 8-pointed star quilt made by another teacher Stacey Armstrong. Her star diamonds were scrappy strip-pieced.  I realized that at the right block size, I could make the star diamonds out of my Improv Under the Influence units (I just keep trying to find new ways to incorporate these fun improv units into my work to give students design ideas, like here, here and here). The stumbling block for me with the 8-pointed star block was the Y-seams. I knew I wanted to use lots of great color and make more than one star. I’m kind of allergic to Y-seams. And there would be a LOT of them in the quilt I envisioned.  In doing some research online and looking at images of 8-pointed star quilts, I learned that Nancy Zieman had created templates to make these star blocks in three different sizes without the use of Y-seams. I immediately ordered a set!

RJR Supreme Cotton Solids for my Pop Stars quilt.

Then the painstaking job of choosing colors began. I first imagined a very soft, almost ghost-like quality for this quilt, with barely-there stars on a light background. Then I realized how difficult it is to display or use a most white quilt in real life. Plus, the myriad colors available on the RJR Supreme Cotton Solids color cards were just too hard to resist. In the end, I decided on a plan of split complimentary colors for my stars and their backgrounds.  Here is a list of the color combinations I chose.

Top left star background: Peridot 432
Star colors: Raging Ruby 287, Melody 371, Bouganvillea 333, Lilac Festival 378 and Sweet Pea 420

Top right star background: Mustard 410
Star colors: Gift Box 291, Knotting Hill 309, Robins Egg 391, Schooner 392 and Jam Jar 400

Bottom left star background: Beach Coral 355
Star colors: Riviera 274, Cove 294, Luau 376, Seaside 426 and BoraBora 328

Bottom right star background: Turks & Caicos 292
Star colors: Rio 311, Rhododendron 181, Sunset Ruby 357, Magenta 417 and Rose Colored Glasses 322

Then I bound it all up with Indigo 191, the most gorgeous navy and a great alternative to black on this quilt.

Pop Stars by Poppyprint 54" x 54"
Can you see the seam lines that saved me having to sew all of those Y-seams?

The templates made cutting and piecing this quilt a breeze. By splitting the background squares and half squares into two triangle shapes, you avoid Y-seams all together. My star blocks finished 24″ square, but I added 1 1/2″ borders to each star block in the same background colour to float the stars, maintain the sharp star points and also give the negative space a little more continuity and interest.  Each border was pieced on with mitred seams to stay consistent with the diagonal seams at the corner of each block.

Mitred seams by Poppyprint
Mitred seams take time and effort, but in general I get better results than when I try y-seams. I know I just need more practice, but that’ll come on another project.

Quilting a 54″ quilt in summertime on my domestic machine was not a task I was looking forward to. My second storey sewing room gets so hot! Enter the my friend Carol Chernov of Twin Creek Quilts, a fabulous longarm quilter who lives only 20 minutes away. You can find her on IG as @twincreekquilts.  Luckily Carol had time in her schedule and was keen to collaborate on this project with me.

I gave Carol complete freedom to quilt the top however she saw fit, using her Innova machine that she affectionately calls Lulu.  She suggested adding dimension to the solid fabrics by using a double layer of batting: 80/20 against the backing paired with 100% wool under the quilt top for extra loft. So effective!

Pop Stars by Poppyprint 54" x 54"

When it came to the quilting, Carol really put a lot of thought into the motifs. I loved her initial idea of the circle to define space around each star and they came out even better than I’d imagined.  Carol decided to quilt each individual improv-pieced strip in the star diamonds (holy cow!) so that the piecing work was able to shine through in the final appearance and not disappear under a complicated motif that crossed over all of the seams.  Her freehand and ruler work on this quilt is just spectacular, I wish you could see it in person!  It is heavily quilted, but I think the motifs are so consistent and really accentuate the design of the quilt rather than overwhelm it – I love it so much and I feel very lucky to have some of Carol’s amazing work.

Pop Stars by Poppyprint 54" x 54"

Pop Stars by Poppyprint 54" x 54"

Naming quilts is always a challenge for me because I tend to overthink and put too much obscure meaning into names.  Plus, so many star quilts end up with similar names. The split complimentary contrasts really make these stars leap off the quilt, so I just had to go with Pop Stars. Possibly cliche, likely unoriginal, but I like how it suits the quilt while relating to my online name of Poppyprint.

Pop star by poppyprint & twincreekquilts
I just love the movement that the quilting motifs give the stars…as if they are spinning. Which colour combo is your favorite? I’m leaning to the purple/lime star myself.

Thank you RJR for the opportunity to create again with your beautiful fabrics. Thank you readers for checking out my post and good luck with the fabulous giveaway!


What Shade are You with Julia Wentzell

Hi! I’m Julia! I’m a mom to 2 girls and 2 boys, married, and love living close to the Atlantic Ocean. My sister-in-law and I are the makers of Briar Hill Designs. We’re having a blast working together! We share all about our quilting and art on Instagram at @briarhilldesigns, and on our Blog briarhilldesigns.blogspot.ca. Come and join us there!

So, here she is! My quilt for the What Shade Are You Blog Hop! I’m quite in love with Cotton Supreme Solids, and since I couldn’t say “I’ll take ’em all!” I delightedly settled on this palette of beauties! 


Here’s the list of Cotton Supreme Solids I used:

– Glow in the Dark
– Bowood Green
– Martini Olive
– Pea in a Pod
– Peridot
– Hydrangea
– Opera Mauve
– Marvelous
– Cloud 9
– Periwinkle
– Lancaster Sky
– Hyacinth
– Amethyst
– Feelin’ Blue
– Jacaranda
– Purple Haze
– Verbena
– Jean Jacket
– Celeste
– Tourmaline
– Banana Cream
– Harlequin
– Citrus
– Citron
– Custard
– Linen White
– Lemon Chiffon

For the background I chose Swan. It’s the perfect off-white, and I’m ordering a bolt of it next week, I like it that much. 


Sewing has always been a great interest of mine, though my love for quilting came quite a bit later. I sewed decor for my dollhouse as a kid, then clothing for myself and friends as a teen. I studied all-things-sewing at University including pattern making, tailoring, and reproducing period clothing. I then moved on to making wedding gowns, theatre costuming, and alterations until we had children. Sewing then changed to sundresses and stuffed animals. I even opted to make my kids duvet covers instead of quilts! I’m embarrassed and a little mad at myself that it took me so long to give quilting a go! My first taste of quilt making, and I was hooked! I followed a pattern for my first two quilts, and every one since then has been my design. 


Click here to purchase the easy circle cut ruler: https://www.missouriquiltco.com/shop/detail/953/ez-quilting/-/easy-circle-cut-ruler

Design inspiration can come from many different venues. For this one, I set up some criteria, and came up with the design for this block from there:

·I wanted to design a quilt that could show off the soft and gentle side of working with solids.
·It needed to be a block that could be successful for many levels of quilter, while also teaching skills.
·I designed this pattern in the dreariest, slushiest, bone chilling cold of grey Nova Scotian winters (now you really want to visit, right?!) so I also made a requirement that this design needed to help me think happy thoughts of warmer weather. So this was nicknamed “The Happy Quilt” until I chose to name her Botanica.

I designed the blocks in EQ7, then made tweaks to the curves to fit the Circle Cut Ruler by EZ Quilting. Curved piecing, and what I call true-up templates help the blocks come together with ease.

Making Botanica with these warm purples, soft yellows and spring blues was made especially enjoyable because I could also choose mini palettes for individual blooms. Seriously, the 49 blocks in this quilt were not enough to play out all the dreamy colour grouping potential! Blocks are 12″ and set in a half-drop layout. They’re also rotated so the leaves point every which way, which adds to the organic look of the quilt. 


Backing is Cotton + Steel’s Checkers in Sky. Their gingham is a favourite of mine! This is the third time I’ve used one of the gingham weaves as a backing. I’ve used ½”, 1″ and their 2½” check and they all look great. As a bonus, it’s a little wider than most quilting cottons at 50″ so I could piece the back of this 84″ quilt in two pieces instead of three. 


I thought long and hard about how to have it quilted. In the end I chose a loopy edge-to-edge, that Sheri at Violet Quilts and I built together. 


Batting is Hobbs Heirloom Premium Wool, and the scrappy binding was made with a selection of pastel tinted solids in the bundle. 


I’m so pleased with how it turned out in these gorgeous colours! For a chance to win your own botanical bundle of fabrics, follow @briarhilldesigns, and @rjrfabrics, and tag a friend on the giveaway post! 


What Shade are you Marthe Henderson

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s my turn to share a quilt! Before I do I want to tell you a little bit about myself. I am 37 years old. I am happily married and we have 5 kids. We love where we live and get to enjoy the outdoors often. With mountains all around us we love to go camping and hiking. This summer has been the busiest we’ve ever had so there hasn’t been as much of that as we’d like. When I’m not with my family or sewing you can find me baking, cooking or reading. I learned to sew when I was 8. My best friend’s mom taught a bunch of us girls. I made many of my own clothes. Dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, pillow cases, bags, but no quilts… that is until I was pregnant for the first time. Since I never start with anything easy (take knitting for example… I am self taught and the first thing I made was a sock. Yup, just one. Insert laughing face… you knitters will know how funny that is!) I made a quilt that was full of pieced frogs with lots of HSTs and little pieces. I figured I knew how to read a pattern, so why not. It turned out pretty cute, so I decided to hand quilt it. I learned right away that hand quilting is not for me. Since then I have made many finished quilts and even more quilt tops! But I’ve never hand quilted again.

I discovered the world of Instagram quilters about 2 1/2 years ago. I dived into swapping and grew to love the community of quilters you can find there. You can follow my journey @thesistyuglers.

Now for my quilt! The idea for my quilt has been in my head for a while. But I was too chicken to make it real. So many little pieces and so much fabric and so much time and the fabric and quilting would have to be perfect if I was going to do it. Well, when the opportunity to make a quilt for the #WhatShadeAreYou blog hop came along I knew it was time to make my dream real. The Cotton Supreme Solids as so soft and there are sooo many colors to choose from. I knew that this would be the perfect fabric. I started with pattern design. I love Fair Isle sweaters. I think it must be in my blood, as part of my mom’s family came to America from Norway. So I knew right away that I wanted to mimic the look of the sweaters I love so much. I started by looking at lots and lots of knitting patterns. I wanted to make sure that I had designs I love and the perfect combination of rows.

After deciding on my rows it was time to pick colors. I am not as talented as some at combining colors, but I do okay. When I get stuck I am thankful to have a sister and a husband who can help. My sister helped me color several mock ups of each row combining different colors for each row, but still having each row combine with the others. I sure do wish that I could get colored pencils in as many colors as I can get fabric! I wanted to make sure that my fabric mimicked the look of my favorite yarns. You know the variegated ones? I just love those. It would have been easier to make solid colors, but you know that because I don’t do things the easy way I had to use lots of colors!

In the end I picked 24 different solids:
Chili Pepper
Fire Engine
Noel Red
Rio
Guava
Charlotte
Melody
Raging Ruby
Indigo
Haviland Blue
Slate
Jean Jacket
Twilight
Pea in a Pod
Martini Olive
Sunnyside of the Street
Saffron
Butternut
Oriole
Marmalade
French Vanilla
Egg Nog
Custard
Shadow

I was also lucky enough to be able to include some Cotton and Steel fabrics:
Add it Up Indigo
Folk Dress
Shibori
Folk Dress Earth

The next step was a tricky one. With finished pieces ranging in size from 1″x1″ to 1″x3″ it really put my quilty math skills to the test. I had to figure out just how much fabric I would need for my 110″x120″ quilt, all cut up into those tiny pieces and in a total of 27 colors. I’m sure it won’t make sense to most, it hardly makes sense to me at this point, but here’s how I figured my amounts.

Got it? I thought so… Once my fabric arrived I waited and waited to get started. The task at hand was a bit daunting. This is going to be huge. Epic for sure, but huge! Twin size is the biggest I’d ever made before. So I cut, and cut, and cut. I started with this row:

It was a breeze to sew up and it looked so cute, so I started another right away. To say that it was overwhelming would be an understatement. I cut all the pieces and laid each one out individually. It took forever. I don’t have a space in my house big enough to lay it all out at once, so I had to work in sections. Sew, sew, sew, iron, iron, iron.. this one row took me at least a month to complete.

At this point I only had 1 1/2 months left to finish all the rest of the rows and get it to the quilter. I stepped away for a week just to get my mind back in the game and to try to think of a way to accomplish my look but take less time. As we all know bacon makes everything better, so I made bacon. Quilty bacon!

Not only was it satisfying, but it gave me the answer I was looking for. I figured out that I could make long strips to cut apart and if I made several different ones I could work faster and still get the random look I needed for the multiple colors. When all was said and done I dropped it off to the quilter on time, at the last second. Marion is a fantastic quilter and was chosen carefully. I knew that this quilt would need a touch of magic and her work gave it just that.

I got my quilt back just in time for me to trim it before I left for a trip to Texas. I thought I was going to have to take it with me and I was stressed because I had a week to hand bind it. Yup hand sewing. 460″ of hand sewing. Very few things in life are worth hand sewing, and this is one of those things. I am so thankful I have a wonderful sister who actually likes it. She was at my house before I left and she was kind enough to take the quilt and do the hand binding for me!

I don’t know how many pieces there are in total in this quilt… but the row with hearts alone has 1560. I don’t know how many hours were put into the making of this quilt. I’d guess well over 100. I do know that I used an entire spool of thread with 1422 yd on it to do the piecing. I also know that lots and lots of love went in to its making. And a quilt that’s made with love is a quilt worth making.

What Shade are You with Vicky

Hey, I’m Vicky from Germany. You can find me on Instagram as @vevivicky and occasionally read a blog post I publish at venividivicky.org . Always in search of the next craft project, I discovered the wonderful thing that is quilting in early 2014. Since then, quilting has guided me through grad school (I’m now an architect by day!) and has become an important stable in my life.

When thinking of a theme for the What Shade are You blog hop I remembered a design I had come up with when I had only just started quilting: three years ago my boyfriend took a job in Bern of Switzerland, which has led to our relationship to become a long distance one. We had done this before, so we are fine most of the time, still I felt the need to channel this chapter in our lives creatively with a quilt. I translated the distinctive Swiss Alps scenery into a design of mountain formations. But back then bad fabric choices (canvas, curtain cut-offs!) and a lack of piecing skills resulted in a WIP that was never finished.

So I took the chance to start over fresh with this idea. Being able to work with the super soft Cotton Supreme Solids allowed me to finally bring this design to life and make my Switzerland Quilt.

SWITZERLAND QUILT
Measurements: 70” by 90”
Focus Colour (mountains): 382 Chalkboard
Colours:
362 Argento,
271 Meissen Blue
358 Harlequin
352 Meadowland
314 Oriole
301 Seafoam
103 Tourmaline
387 Apricot Ice
Accent Fabric, Backing & Binding:
Flight in Natural, Cotton+Steel, Black+White 2017 collection

The design consists of equilateral triangles which calls for precise piecing to match all points. This is why I decided to use the foundation paper piecing method to achieve a crisp result. I designed the three different blocks on my computer and printed 36 blocks in whole (some of them I printed in reverse). For the actual mountain part of the block I used ‘Chalkboard’, a lovely blue-ish black colour, which comes off a lot lessblunt than a real black. The background of each block consists of two colours from the remaining bundle of solids I had picked. I grouped them so there was always a pair of a lighter and a darker fabric of the same colour family next to each other, using 8 background colours in whole. I had played around with the colour placement a little before settling on this, but I love that this strict arrangement keeps the quilt less busy and puts the mountains in the spotlight.

With quilting I stayed at the safe side and went with a simple straight grid quilting, a design I come back to every so often. I have found grid quilting to be very sturdy and since this quilt will get a lot of use I can’t beat myself up too much for playing it save. My boyfriend is actually taking it with him to Switzerland!

Like mentioned above, I loved working with RJR’s solids line. The Cotton Supreme Solids have a buttery feel and a lovely drape to them. The colours are vibrant and very true to the colour card I received. When I next stock up on solids I will definitely consult their range of beautiful solids!

For a chance to win your own ‘Swiss’ bundle of the fabrics I picked, follow me @vevivicky and @rjrfabrics on Instagram where a giveaway each is held this week.

What Shade are you with Kristen

It’s Kristen… You can find me on Instagram @thesistyuglerstoo. A little about me: I love to create… pretty sure that’s what I was born to do! I started painting when I was 6 and haven’t slowed down since. My love of quilting began about 27 years ago when I took a class at a local quilt shop. There were 3 old ladies that taught and they were all in their 90s. We did everything by hand… There were no cutting mats or rotary cutters or sewing machines. Just templates, paper patterns, a pen, a pencil and a needle and thread. Although I see the value in this type of quilting as a busy mom I do not have that kind of time and I’m very thankful for my modern quilting tools. I stopped quilting for a few years but took it up again when my kids were little because painting watercolor was too hard with toddlers. So I saved painting for my Saturdays at art and quilted during the week with my girls.

On to my quilt… It’s called, “A metaphor of life”. I’ve known for a few months that I was going to be part of the RJR what shade are you blog hop. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I knew I wanted lots of bright fabrics because rainbow is my favorite color. I also knew from the beginning I wanted big elongated flying geese blocks with lots of negative space. I had an idea for the square blocks and I was super excited. Then guess what… plan A didn’t work out. That’s ok, I had a plan B, guess what… plan B didn’t work out either. So on to plan C right? Only one problem, I didn’t have a plan C so I hit a creative slump. I put the quilt away for a bit because I had a few months and truth be told I work better under pressure. Well fast forward a few months and my quilt deadline is only about 5 weeks away. So I started sewing the flying geese and racking my brain for a plan C. I’m still feeling very uncreative and frustrated that I have no plan C. Because I’m usually super creative and ideas come to me easily.

Then life throws my family a curve ball. One of my daughters’ best friends is diagnosed with cancer. Well she has never been one to sit back and let others take care of the problem. So she says we need to have a fund raiser for her friend. I say as soon as my quilt is done we can do that. She says, “Nope mom! Service always comes first and the rest falls into place.” So I say ok let’s go for it. And we do a fund raiser that was huge and successful and lots of work. Okay now time for quilting. Then a different daughter is struggling a little and she just needs some attention from mom. So I spend the time help her to feel better and it only puts me 2 days behind. But my quilt is still sitting largely unfinished. I have no plan C and I’m running out of time. So I still work on sewing flying geese and one night it hits me… I want a block I can use most of the colors in with hard lines and angles. But I’m sure I don’t have time to draft one because I’m so short on time, but where would I find one? I remember I have the book, 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars by Carol Doak. I colored at least 30 stars before I found the one I loved… Massachusetts. So thanks to Carol for helping me break my creative slump. Well now its crunch time. I’m way behind and I need about 7 of me to finish. So I ask for help and I am reminded that in life sometimes we all need help. Thankful for a sister that can help iron and cut because she is a quilter too. My quilt is going smoothly so I think it’s time for a bit crazy, Don’t you? Since plan A and B didn’t work and I made a math mistake on 1 square of plan C and a small cutting error I didn’t have enough background fabric to finish my quilt and I need to have it to the quilter in 2 days. None of the brick and mortar quilt shops within driving distance of my house carry RJR solids. (I say get with the program Utah quilt stores.) By some small miracle my sister finds a small Etsy shop that carries the color I need and she delivers it to my house. I call these small miracles tender mercies, and oh how I am thankful for them.

I spend most of the next 2 nights sewing so I can get it to the quilter on time. And even though I’m up most of those nights the quilt gets finished on time! I am so thankful but also a little worried that because of the above craziness and some other small craziness that happened along the way with this quilt that maybe for some reason it doesn’t want to be made and it just might spontaneously combust at the quilters. (Haha, but really only sort of kidding.) But Rhonda @olieandevie on Instagram does a fabulous job quilting and my quilt survives.

So I call this quilt, “A Metaphor for Life” because sometimes life throws us curve balls and sometimes plan A and plan B don’t work, it might even take plan 532 before we find our answer. Maybe we lose our creativity and we feel defeated for a while. But if we stick with it and we jump back on the wagon and we only give up 2 nights of sleep or maybe 10 because your baby never sleeps. We discover in the end its all worth it. We’ve created something beautiful and worthwhile. And we wake up in the morning and say, “Let’s do it all again.” Even the crazy and the tears. Someone once asked Picasso how long it took him to paint a painting and he answered in the number of years, months, and days he was at the time. When they looked at him confused he replied that it is our whole life that shapes us and helps us to paint the way we paint and that everything in our life influences our creativity. I often answer this same way when I am asked about how long a painting took. And as quilters I think we can say the same thing… So I guess this quilt really took me 46 years 1 month and 19 days to create. Happy sewing! Thanks for sticking with me to the end.

What Shade are You with Jennifer Letchet

Hello! I’m Jen and I’m relatively new to quilting, I got hooked in 2015 and I’ve been constantly sewing ever since. When RJR approached me last summer, after seeing my Festival of Quilts entry, to participate in their What Shade are You blog hop, I was very excited. I was already a follower of the blog via Instagram and every month I was impressed by the quality and calibre of the quilts.

For me, my favourite stage of the quilting process is the planning stage; working out my design [even the maths], and choosing my fabrics. It goes hand in hand with my other passion, Art. I love drawing and painting, colour and form, so I am constantly sketching down new quilt ideas in my sketchbook. As a result when RJR got in touch, I knew exactly what I wanted to make and what my shade was! Like most quilters, I keep a list of all of my ‘I want to make’ quilts [which should keep me busy until 2020!].

I’m a big fan of HSTs [Half Square Triangles], they are so versatile and can be used to create infinite patterns. In this sketch, I was inspired by a then recent trip to Scotland, of the mountainous landscapes and tree filled vistas. I wanted HSTs to create an abstract view of a forest; to convey depth, shadow and light. I had always wanted to use solids for this quilt, to focus on colour and geometry, without letting pattern or texture overpower the design. My colour choice was obvious: shades of green.

I loved perusing the colour card and there are so many options to choose from. Even though I already had green in mind, it was so hard not to be tempted by the other shades and try to convince myself lilac or pink belonged in my forest!
Ultimately, I resisted and chose the following shades:

Optical White 33T
Twilight 353
Shamrock 109
Emerald City 329
Kelly Green 127
Clover 128
Grass is Always Greener 347
Sour Apple 346
Aloe Verde 349
Neon 348
Glow in the Dark 204
Putting Green 290
Peridot 342
Citron 337

This was new territory for me, I normally choose fabrics based on their pattern or colour combination. But I really enjoyed the process, and loved the contrast you can achieve with solids. It enhances the geometry and creates a very modern and minimal look. Plus RJR’s Supreme solids are super soft.

I pieced the shades of green systematically from dark to light to create a subtle ombré, whilst retaining a contrast within each HST pairing. Once I had pieced my quilt top, it took me a while to decide on how to quilt it, and I resolved upon organic wavy lines. As the patchwork is very geometric, I wanted the quilting to soften it, add irregularity and reflect back to itself, to nature. I also used varying shades of green Gutermann thread to emphasise the ombré.

Using the scrap fabric, I created miles and miles of scrappy binding. As there is quite a lot of white in the background, I wanted the green binding to provide a frame and lead the eye back into the design. By using several hues, instead of one solid frame, it gives a softer and more natural edge.

I use Heirloom cotton batting as its incredibly soft, and I chose a solid lemon yellow backing fabric; something light and plain, so it wouldn’t show through the quilt.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and I am really pleased with my Forest Quilt. It has definitely been a learning curve, you certainly can’t hide your dodgy points behind a fussy print! I am very happy with it and love the final look. I will definitely be making more solid quilts, and revisiting Supreme Solids. Plus I’ve got enough scraps to make two matching throw cushions….lovely!

Photography by Martin Freeman

What Shade are You with Louise Wackerman

It’s my turn on the RJR What Shade Are You blog hop!! Have you been following along with the #whatshadeareyou series with RJR Fabrics? I started following RJR fabrics when I found the series or blog hop or whatever you want to call it! What is this # I keep talking about? Each week or so, they feature a quilter with a quilt made from a bundle of RJR Fabric and then have a giveaway of that fabric bundle! The fabric bundle was what originally hooked me, but the quilters are amazing! I’ve found some new quilters to add to my IG feed, for sure. One day they had a call for bloggers interested in participating, so of course I volunteered and they accepted me.

I used the following colors:

Eggnog 228 Canvas 150

Carrot 131 Oriole 314 Bandana 367 tangerine Dream 276 Orange Crush 372

Cove 294 Riviera 274 Luau 376 Turks and Caicos 292 horizon 354

Pistachio 404 Spring 405 Lucky Green 406 Sour Apple 346 Grass is Always Greener 347

2961-001 2960-004 2960-001

Super excited, right?? Yes, I was. Then panic struck! Me being in the lineup with all these other quilters that use tons of different fabric. I typically only use a few different colors in one quilt, but all these others use tons of colors. I remember walking around Quiltcon looking at the quilts with more than just a few colors for inspiration… Then I decided on a design I had made in one of my office meeting sketches. It was a design I could incorporate a bunch of colors into. The kiddo and I got to work and picked the fabrics, finally… Then they came. And stage fright set in again. And I decided I didn’t want to make the design I was starting to make… So in came design idea number 2. A Quilt Design A Day design! The ‘spark’ above from Design Seeds inspired my purple design. And that purple design became my #whatshadeareyou quilt! I thought it would be cool, but I still wasn’t sure it would stand up against all the other quilts in the series. Once I started going, it kept growing on me and I liked it more and more! And now I love it! I hope you do too! I’m calling it Raindrops on Wildflowers! As I was quilting it, I debated, one big spiral or three spirals? The whole family agreed on three circles. The kiddo said it was like raindrops in water! The quilt block is obviously something I just made up, but then I realize it was full of inset corners! Ergh… But I remembered they aren’t so bad and I pretty much mastered it! Well, for this block at least! I’ll post a tutorial soon. The front had to be the solids collection, which I love. My go to solid fabric is typically another brand that I won’t mention here… But I might have just been swayed! This fabric is much softer than my usual. And there’s still tons of colors to choose from. No reason this fabric can’t be my new go to! And the back is actually a really fun polka dot fabric. The front had to be solids, but you could choose anything for the back. Obviously I had different intentions since it was a different quilt design I ordered the fabric for, but I like the polka dots and stripes together!   And stayed tuned… A tutorial and giveaway will be popping up here shortly!  

What Shade are You with Allison Lee

Hello, I am Allison Lee, @QuiltDesignAtelier and welcome to RJR Fabrics’ #whatshadeareyou blog hop! I love solids and foundation pieced quilts with lots of pieces and lots of colors. I’m so blessed to have been given the opportunity to create a quilt using however many and whatever solids I wanted! I already knew what design I wanted/absolutely had to use, and could hardly wait to get my color card to start plotting. ‘Tempest I and II’ are my experiments in exploring color movement and celebrating Cotton Supreme Solids. Looking at the quilts side by side, you’ll see they have the same colors, except for the background. I love how different they look. I chose the background first – the color that would move constantly through the design. However, I couldn’t choose just one background color, so I had to make two quilts. I love how they turned out. The colors flow and sing with brightness. Which one is your favorite?!

Color Choice
Like many before me, I cut up the entire color palette so the individual pieces could be joyously tossed in the air, arranged and rearranged in moments of inspiration, frustration, and finally, clarity. So helpful! RJR’s extensive Cotton Supreme Solids palette allowed me to select color arrays with smooth value transitions. I love a good ombre, all day, every day. I intentionally added yellow to the hues (when possible) as they move from dark to light value. Limiting my palette to six values of four hues meant there would be 24 colors to work with.

Background I
‘Netorious’ in Cloud Metallic #5000-10 is my most favorite print from Cotton and Steel. It’s one I come back to again and again because it plays well with so many others. It also has one of my most favorite fabric words – “metallic”. The greige base color with a hint of green is a perfect neutral – it goes well with just about every hue. And then you add metallic silver: MAGIC. Tempest I is my joyful ode to neutral metallics and the juicy, saturated solids that interact with them.

Background II
Medianoche 430 is the richest, smoothest, darkest blue I’ve encountered. Even the name rolls off the tongue beautifully. It translates to ‘midnight’, but is also the name of a delicious Cuban sandwich. I knew it would be a challenge to photograph, but I didn’t care. Its color depth suggests black, but it is not black. I would like a few bolts of this amazing color, please. Tempest II is my love song to Medianoche (the color or the sandwich – take your pick!).

Design
I am often inspired to take a classic quilt block and make it bigger, with many, many more pieces and colors. So the final quilt is made from a single block, exploded outward. I’ve done this with the pineapple block and various log cabin designs. I am fascinated with the twisted log cabin block. I love to analyze geometric designs and figure out how they’ve been created. To make the quilt bigger, and to smooth the transition from one value to the next, I decided to use each solid twice. This color repetition also gives the design more depth. Here are my rough draft layouts constructed in EQ7:

Construction
These quilts were a labor of love, no doubt. There are 24 rows in each quadrant. Only two can be sewn on at a time, so that’s 48 trips to the sewing machine! The shapes are foundation pieced from the center outward, so adding a row is like watching a flower slowly bloom. It is so exciting to see the design and color emerge!

Quilting
The challenge for me is deciding the quilting design. I drafted undulating zigzags onto each colored ‘spoke’ and then quilted with variegated thread. I chose thread close to the fabric colors so it would not take away from the graphic piecing design. The zigzags move with the direction of the ‘spokes’ to allow your eye to follow, rather than rest on a particular area.

Listed below are the fabrics I chose. They cut, sew, and press like a dream. All the heart emojis!
1. Jam Jar 400
2. Robin’s Egg 391
3. Schooner 392
4. Horizon 354
5. Proud as a Peacock 289
6. Mermaid 393
7. Tourmaline 103
8. Harlequin 358
9. Peridot 342
10. Pea in a Pod 359
11. Wimbledon 205
12. Think Green 375
13. Apricot Ice 387
14. Just Peachy 278
15. Charlotte 226
16. Guava 373
17. Rio 311
18. Magenta 417
19. Carolina 313
20. Cornflower 94
21. Haviland Blue 169
22. Jean Jacket 429
23. Denim 106
24. Slate 298
25. Netorious in Cloud Metallic #5000-10 (background)
26. Medianoche 430 (background)
Backing and center for Tempest II: Sea Farer gold metallic #5114-01
Binding and center for Tempest I: Swan 370

Thank you, RJR Fabrics for the opportunity to create with your beautiful solids. I most definitely did Quilt With Love. Now, for the best news: RJR is giving away a bundle of the fabrics I chose for these quilts, and so am I! To enter, follow both @RJRfabrics and me @QuiltDesignAtelier for two chances to win a FQ bundle. Check out #whatshadeareyou for other quilters and their inspirational Cotton Supreme Solids projects!

All the best!

Allison Lee @QuiltDesignAtelier