I don’t always post about finished quilts, but I’m particularly proud of this one: Cherries. It’s also going to be hanging at QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix, USA, so I thought it would be good to document its creation for anyone who sees it there and wants to know more.
On Instagram, I follow a UK-based multidisciplinary artist and printmaker named Frea Buckler. In July 2021, Frea posted an image of a series of screenprints, one of which featured large overlapping hexagons.
I fell in love with the artwork at top right. The colours (that yellow!), the shapes – everything about it just makes me happy.
Coincidentally, the Modern Quilt Guild had just announced the 2022 Hexagon Quilting Challenge for QuiltCon: “Eligible quilts must use a hexagon shape as a primary element in the design.” I knew Frea’s artwork would work really well as a quilt, and I wanted to make it and submit it to the Hexagon challenge. Can you see the four hexagons in her design? Two standing side by side, and two more larger ones created by their outside edges?
I contacted Frea and asked for her permission to recreate her artwork (which she had provisionally called ‘Cherries’) as a quilt, and she graciously agreed. I also bought the print 🙂
I’ve never adapted someone else’s design to make a quilt before; I’ve got enough of my own designs to work with. But I loved the idea of scaling up a small (20 cm square) artwork to quilt size, sourcing just the right solids to match the original paint colours, and creating an entire quilt with only 9 colours and 14 seams.
When the print arrived, I used my Kona Cotton Solids and Devonstone Collection solids colour cards to match – as closely as I could – the colours in the original artwork. Then I had to wait for all the fabric to be delivered (this was during lockdown, when I couldn’t shop in-person, and post was delayed!). Some were perfect matches; others, not so much. But I finally settled on a palette that I was happy with.
I procrastinated a long time making this quilt. I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it, and I didn’t know if I’d encounter problems with sewing together large pieces with long bias edges. In the end, I just started measuring and cutting and sewing and re-sewing where necessary. It wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting, and it didn’t take me nearly as long (which is good, since I’d left it til the last minute!). The final quilt measures around 49″ square.
Cherries was quilted by Valerie Cooper of Sweet Gum Quilting. Because I’d left it so late, we settled on vertical straight lines with yellow thread. I think the quilt could’ve also looked great with more geometric quilting within each colour block, but I didn’t leave Valerie nearly enough time for that. She quilted it quickly, and I did a facing and took photos with what felt like only minutes to spare before the QuiltCon submission deadline.
I received confirmation in December that Cherries had been juried into QuiltCon. I’ve seen lots of amazing hexagon quilts on Instagram that are destined for the show, so I’m excited that Cherries will hang with them. If you’re in Phoenix and you see this quilt, feel free to send me a pic! I’d love to see it.
I’m very grateful to Frea for allowing me to recreate her artwork and for inspiring me to break out of my quilty comfort zone. I’ll definitely be less hesitant to try something new next time.
I’ve got a new quilt pattern out! It’s called Zester, and it’s in this year’s QuiltCon magazine.
Zester is based on Sunday sketch #250, which features large drunkard’s path blocks alternating with nine-patch blocks made up of half-square triangles.
I modified the design to add some negative space along the top and one side, and introduced a bold palette.
I used Art Gallery Fabrics’ Pure Solids in this quilt, because I wanted that exact yellow – Empire Yellow, my new favourite – and a black (Caviar) to match. Their solids definitely have a lighter hand than the Konas I usually use, and they feel a bit more slippery, but they sew like a dream and don’t fray terribly.
Because it uses only two types of blocks, Zester comes together really quickly. You can chain-piece all the curves, then chain-piece all the HSTs, and before you know it, you’ll have a quilt top!
Zester was quilted by Valerie Cooper from Sweet Gum Quilting. With Valerie’s advice, I settled on yellow thread and straight-line quilting, which I’m really happy with. I love the contrast of the yellow thread on the black fabric! (I also love being able to trust Valerie with the quilting, rather than stressing about doing it myself!)
I picked the name Zester because the HSTs remind me of the really sharp bits on a cheese grater or micro-plane for lemon zesting. We have a wasabi grater and those teeth are sharp! But ‘Zester’ felt like a nicer name than ‘Grater’ haha.
I don’t publish quilt patterns in magazines much anymore, but I still submit designs for consideration in QuiltCon magazine every year. QuiltCon is definitely a focal point for modern quilters, and I get a lot of inspiration seeing others’ work each year (from afar – I’ve never been to the show in person!). I’m happy to be able to contribute to the magazine once again, alongside loads of incredible designers and makers.
Digital copies of the 2022 QuiltCon magazine are on sale now. Print copies go on sale on 22 February to coincide with the show in Phoenix. You can also buy individual digital patterns, so if you fancy just making Zester – or my award-winning quilt Fanfold from QuiltCon 2021 – you can find the pattern on the Quilting Daily website.
I am over-the-moon, beside-myself excited that my quilt, Fanfold, is featured on the cover of the 2021 QuiltCon Magazine. WOW!!!
The pattern for Fanfold is one of 10 in this year’s magazine. This is the second time I’ve had a pattern in QuiltCon Magazine; the last time was Flight Pattern in 2020. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the magazine once again! The editorial team are fantastic to work with, and it’s such a privilege to be able to share my work with other modern quilters around the world. I’m so chuffed!!
Fanfold is a simple but striking design that came from Sunday sketch #4, which I posted waaaay back in July 2016. At the time, I had been quilting for less than 2 years, and I still wasn’t super-confident. My designs followed my skills, so they featured a lot of squares and triangles. (The first time I posted a design using curves was two years and more than 100 sketches later!)
You can see that I reworked the design slightly for submission to QuiltCon Magazine. I kept the overall shape of the zig-zagged columns. I kept the spacing, so that adjacent columns never actually touch. And I kept the off-set placement of the zig-zags in the overall frame. But I flipped the whole thing around, so the zig-zags are on the right of the frame. And I added another column. And – most importantly – I added dimensionality to the columns by using two colours instead of one; the zigs (ha!) are coloured one way, and the zags another.
Here’s how I re-drew the design in ElectricQuilt 8, adding colour:
The design was actually super-easy to make. The quilt top came together so fast! The shapes are made from half-square triangles and two types of half-rectangle triangles (2:1 and 3:1). Probably the longest part was just figuring out how many I needed of each colour. Then I cut, chain-pieced, pressed, trimmed using my Bloc-Loc rulers (lifesavers!), pieced into columns, added large pieces of background fabric, and ta-da! Finished quilt top!
I used Kona Cotton Solids (my favourite) in Carrot, Primrose and White. But one of the great things about this design is that you could make it in any colour for the background, with another 2 colours (or 1 colour plus white) for the zig-zags. Lots of opportunity for personalisation!
Fanfold was custom quilted by Valerie Cooper from Sweet Gum Quilting. There’s no way that my own quilting would’ve been good enough to get this quilt on the cover of a magazine, so I’m very grateful for Valerie’s work! I am all about focusing on my strengths and outsourcing the other stuff to people more skilled than me.
I did learn one new skill with this quilt though. I ended up adding a faced binding, rather than my usual standard binding. It was a bit stressful, as I’d never done one before, but I found tutorials from the Silly BooDilly and Cotton & Bourbon super-helpful (just don’t combine them… ask me how I know). Facing really does give a different look to finished quilts, one that’s probably more suited to a ‘show’ quilt. It also worked well with this quilt, as it meant that the zig-zags could run to the very edge of the quilt without being cut off by the binding.
If you’d like to see more of Fanfold, or make the quilt yourself, you can buy the digital edition of the 2021 QuiltCon Magazine on the Quilting Daily website. Print issues will be available closer to QuiltCon Together (Feb 18-22).
If you make Fanfold, let me know! I’d love to see pics! Send me an email or tag me on Instagram (or both, since I don’t always see all notifications).
And if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll register for QuiltCon Together. I’m excited about being able to take part in workshops and lectures from Australia. I hope to get to QuiltCon one of these days, but not this year. Let’s all stay home and stay safe!