Over the last couple of months I’ve had the great pleasure of sewing along with my friend Nancy Rink and her colleague and fellow designer, Sarah Maxwell. They invited Tiffany Haynes of Needle In A Haystack and me to be “Guest Designers” on their Designer Duo QAL this spring. I had chosen to use Sarah Golden‘s latest collection from Andover Fabrics, “Around Town” in my version of this wonderful sampler quilt. I loved that there were doubles of the sampler blocks and thirteen copies of the set-in blocks in this pattern. It makes for easy and fast block making because your quilt finishes up a tad bit faster when designed this way.
We got started on April 6th and continued making and sharing Instagram, the Designer Duo Facebook group page, and our websites/blogs. The Facebook Group has 2.2K members and although not everyone in that number shared their progress with us, it was a very active community for those of us that did share. The support and cheerleading spirit within the group made for fun and exciting Fridays over the next six weeks.
As I got started I found that my layout was going to make for slightly different assembly steps. I took some time to go over the pattern and make notes to reference as I went. For example, all my four-patch blocks would use the same fabric, unlike in the pattern where you make the four-patches as you make each block. That was because the fabrics are of such a variety that it was easier to make those small blocks as you cut your fabrics for each set of blocks so they reflected the fabrics used in them. I had designed my version to use the same black & white polka dot and background fabrics in all of the four-patch blocks, so I just made them all at once. However this did result in erasing the optical illusion of large circles in the quilt, but I love how retro my layout feels.
I also found it helpful to use one of my favorite notions, the Alphabitties from It’s Sew Emma. They make for an easy system of tracking all the pieces and units per block. I’ve been using them for a few years now and although I could just write numbers or letters on Post-Its, these are much cuter.
My blocks made me so happy and the use of stripes to create interest and movement was so fun for me. I love using stripes in my quilts because they aren’t as complicated to use when they’re cut into smaller pieces. They make for striking blocks and much more interesting fabric play.
*Some of the block images below are actually my digital images from the design software. I had passed the quilt on to my longarm quilter without taking some good progress pictures of the latter blocks.
The Kaleidoscope pattern that Nancy and Sarah produced is full of great tips and tricks, and the blocks are some of my favorites I’ve ever made. I love a good sampler quilt and I truly enjoyed making this one.
When it came to making the set-in blocks I wanted to fussy cut the cheetahs in my focus fabric for them. The pattern calls for the Tri-Recs ruler. I initially placed it over the fabric and using a dry-erase marker, traced the cheetah shape onto it. This way I could be consistent with placement and cutting of my fabric. As the need to alternate the direction of the fabric due to block layout directionality, I easily wiped the drawing off and redrew the image after replacing the Tri-Recs ruler on the fabric in a different direction. I love how these blocks turned on in the quilt. Don’t hesitate to make the tools in your studio work for you. I love the Tri-Recs ruler and plan on using it in future designs of my own too.
My friend Tracey Peterson quilted a beautiful edge 2 edge design on my quilt using her Gemmill longarm. I love how it turned out! Once I got it back it was time to trim up the quilt and get the binding stitched on. I prefer to machine stitch it on the front and then hand stitch it onto the back. I need to make a quilt label for it still but I just love how it turned out.
I made the entire quilt using my Janome Skyline S5 and Aurifil 50 weight 100% cotton thread. These two things are used in everything I create in my studio.
Last weekend I was finally home after a busy two weeks of travel for Quilt Market in Portland, OR and the first Janome Education Summit in New Jersey, so Hubby and I went over to nearby Woodinville, WA where the famous Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is located. I brought my Designer Duo quilt with me and Hubby held it up for me in front of this gorgeous blooming tree on the grounds of the winery for a photoshoot. It was a bit breezy but we succeeded in the winning shot eventually.
Thank you so much, Nancy, for inviting me to be a part of your beautiful and fun quilt along. I look forward to seeing what new designs and fabrics you will have coming down the pipeline.