Saturday, March 25, 2023

Halo Quilt Value Study: Making a Messy Start

Happy Weekend, quilters!  I have an itty bitty amount of progress on my new Halo quilt to share with you today.  For those who missed my earlier post about this NewFO project, Halo is a Jen Kingwell pattern that can be found in her Jenny From One Block pattern booklet, available on Amazon here (this post contains affiliate links).

Unsewn Halo Blocks On My Design Wall

For the last couple of weeks, I've been working on cutting out shapes and rearranging them on my design wall without any sewing.  When I searched #haloquilt on Instagram, I found lots of different versions of this quilt, in all kinds of colorways.  What struck me immediately was that it's the muddled values in Jen Kingwell's original version that drew me in, the way that her "halo rings" appear to come forward in some places and recede in others, creating an illusion of depth.  Other quilters have made some very striking and modern versions of this quilt by increasing the value contrast, limiting the color palette, or restricting themselves to solids, but I was really intrigued by the way Jen broke the conventional "quilt police" rules about value and contrast in her quilt, creating something that feels fresh and modern but also somehow nostalgic and vintage.  I want to recreate that in my version of the quilt.

Jen Kingwell's 66 x 66 Halo Quilt

I printed a full page, grayscale photo of Jen's quilt and taped it up above my cutting table so I can refer to it as I'm chopping up my fabric pieces:

Grayscale Photo of Jen Kingwell's Halo Quilt

It's so much easier to see what's going on with value when you take color out of the equation!  

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Feathers Four Ways: Quilts for Janita, Paula, Mildred + Nanette

Happy Weekend, fellow quilt lovers!  I have been finishing a lot more quilts than blog posts over the past few months and it has created a backlog of unshared photos on my camera roll.  Today I'm sharing four different clients' quilts that I quilted with four different allover feather quilting designs, with a brief discussion of how the design, thread, and batting choices were selected for each quilt.  Here's a quick glimpse of the four quilts I'll be talking about today, made by my clients Janita, Paula, Mildred, and Nanette, and quilted by Yours Truly:

Clockwise from Top Left: Feathers and Pearls I, Angel Wings, Abundant Feathers, Fast Feathers

Janita's Flying Geese Sampler: Abundant Feathers

Janita chose the Abundant Feathers quilting design for her cheerful flying geese sampler quilt (I don't have the name of her quilt pattern but if anyone recognizes it, please let me know and I'll update the post accordingly).  I just love the playful energy of her color palette of red, pink and aqua against a crisp white background!

Janita's 70 x 87 Flying Geese Sampler with Abundant Feathers E2E

Abundant Feathers is a very versatile design that looks good on a lot of different quilts from modern to traditional or reproduction quilts.  There is extensive backtracking/overstitching in this design, which is why I recommended lightweight So Fine 50 wt matte polyester quilting thread in Pearl (this post contains affiliate links).  With a thin thread like So Fine, your eye isn't drawn to the double-stitched quilting lines, and on a quilt like this one that has high contrast between the background and pieced block fabrics, skinny So Fine thread will seem to "take on" the color of the fabric it's stitching across, appearing like a pale pink against the red fabric and pale blue against the aqua.  A thicker white or cream thread would not have blended into the darker fabrics that way.  We wanted to keep the focus on the variety of pieced blocks and fabrics in Janita's sampler quilt, with the feather quilting playing more of a supporting role.  One more thing to notice about Abundant Feathers is how evenly spaced the quilting is across the surface of the quilt with this design, compared to some of the other feather designs we'll be looking at in today's post.  That's something to think about when choosing between similar quilting designs, whether you prefer a balanced overall texture like Abundant Feathers or whether you want to see some variety between the more open feather parts of a design verses the denser details of pearls, echoes, etc.  

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