What I love most about taking a quilting class is that in addition to what I learn from the instructor, I also always take away something I learn from other participants in the class. There are so many great ideas for ways to make quilting more fun, more precise, more enjoyable, more distinctive…more amazing. The downside is I don’t always have time to take all the classes I want. That’s why I’m thrilled about this first-ever quilt along with American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It will be like taking a class with nine top instructors, AND I can quilt along in my pajamas from the comfort of my own sewing room.
Join these designers, below, and follow their progress as they Quilt Along on Tone It Down.
Between November 19 and February 5, they’ll each be sharing their version—along with the tips, tools, and tricks they used in making their quilts. You may wish to join in the fun by making Tone It Down just like the original quilt, or you may find a colorway you prefer from one of the other designers. The choice is yours. The quilt pattern can be found in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, available beginning December 3rd.
If you’re a subscriber, your copy should arrive soon. If you’re not a subscriber, look for the issue at quilt shops or on newsstands, or download the digital edition at allpeoplequilt.com/getdigital. The rules are simple—there are none! Make your quilt the way you like it in the size and color palette you love!
First up, let’s talk about low-volume. That’s what the original quilt started out as an exercise in for designer Lissa Alexander. An antique quilt inspired her design. “I don’t ordinarily piece with a variety of small to medium light-tone background prints,” Lissa says. “That’s just not what I have in my stash. For this quilt, working with those prints became the challenge. I tried to keep the contrast to a minimum. I do know I turned the volume up when I started mixing in reds, oranges, and dark blues. Much like a favorite song on the radio, I just couldn’t help myself. I had to turn it up a bit!”
Much like asking a group of listeners what constitutes low volume when referring to a television’s sound, asking quilters for a definition of low-volume quilts can elicit varied responses. But here are a few similarities most low-volume quilts share:
- They generally are pieced from a scrappy mix of prints that all have light or white backgrounds. These low-contrast fabrics can appear almost solid from a distance, but up close you can see the texture and diversity of the fabrics.
- The finished quilt often has a delicate appearance with a soft cottage or even faded look.
- Once pieced, the quilt pattern takes a backseat to the myriad incorporated fabric patterns.
When I began selecting fabrics for my version, I wanted to stay true to Lissa’s idea of challenging myself with a fabric palette I might not otherwise work with. What did I choose? Taupes.
Ordinarily, I’m a high-contrast quilter who uses a scrappy assortment of colors in my quilts. But for this project, I was inspired by the beautiful palette used by many Japanese quiltmakers. So I pulled some Japanese Daiwabo fabrics out of my stash and then added some other taupes (from Maywood and EESchenck) I had stashed away long ago. What I love about these fabrics is that it’s not only about color, it’s about texture. Look at the great textures in these prints.
Then, because I’m not really a purist at heart, I threw in some brushed cottons that I felt would round out the palette.
This was a bundle of Whimsicals fabric by designer Terri Degenkolb. Again, it’s an older line I had in my stash, but I thought some of the colors would work and I like the idea of using a variety of textures too.
As an experiment, I thought I’d try to work with only the stash fabrics and not add anything else. Since most of what I had in this palette was fat eighths or fat quarters—it adds to the challenge (thrill?!?) when it comes to cutting out the required number of pieces for each block. But, I love a challenge…. Next week, I’ll share how I added and removed fabrics from the mix.
P. S. If you decide to join in—don’t forget to share! We’re so excited to see what everyone’s making as they quilt along! We created a hashtag you can use on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Simply hashtag any uploaded photos to your own social media sites with #APQquiltalong. That will make it easy for all of us to see what everyone is working on! I’ll be back to share my progress with you soon.
Now, check out these other Quilt Along participant’s blogs:
- Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side, amyscreativeside.com. Amy’s planning to make a guy-worthy quilt, with a scrappy mix of blue, green, and gray fabrics.
- Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs, bunnyhillblog.com. A rich, vintage look in hues of beige, purple, and rusty brown is what Anne is seeking.
- Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms, camilleroskelley.typepad.com. A scrappy, cheerful assortment of Bonnie and Camille prints ups the contrast.
- Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co., lavieenrosie.typepad.com. Carrie adds a French twist, working in a scrappy three-color palette of French General fabrics.
- Jane Davidson of Quilt Jane, quiltjane.blogspot.com. Jane’s version is all about text-ure—text prints mixed with solid-color wovens.
- Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter Shop, fatquartershop.blogspot.com. The big blocks pop when separated by colorful sashing on Kimberly’s quilt.
- Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings, lisabongean.com. Lisa turns up the volume with black backgrounds and cream and tan print patchwork.
- Lissa Alexander, modalissa.blogspot.com. Lissa shares her experience and tips about the process of making the featured version of Tone It Down.
- Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life, www.aquiltinglife.com A fan of primary colors and American Jane prints? Sherri’s version might be just what inspires you!
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