When my friend Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs told me that she was working on a book proposal with Paige from Quilted Blooms, I started looking forward to this blog post. Today it is my extreme pleasure, honor, and privilege to tell you about Modern Plus Sign Quilts, the book written by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander as part of the Modern Plus Sign Book Blog Hop!
There are 16 quilt designs in the book, and on each day of the blog hop (full schedule at the end of the post), 2 quilt designs are shared from the book and bloggers (like me!) will be sharing our versions of the featured designs. Along with the designs, the book has historical information and includes more in depth discussion of techniques (like traditional piecing, applique, and foundation paper piecing), making this book contain something for a quilter at any experience level. Also, for each day of the hop, Cheryl and Paige are hosting giveaways on their blogs, so be sure to visit them to learn more!
When I had the opportunity to select which design I wanted to make as part of the blog hop, my husband and I decided that the quilt I made would be one of several I plan to make this year for us to keep as bed quilts. Bed quilt in this sense means that I am making it for a 48-inch wide bed we are putting in our custom expedition vehicle, so we settled on a goal of finished quilt top sizes of 68-inches wide by 88-inches long. Pulling from the blue tile we purchased to use as an accent inside the vehicle, we selected Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Sky, Lake, Astral, and Ocean (above).
One look through the quilts in the book and my heart was set on making Kaleidoscope Plus. The pattern calls for 5 fabrics, and I only had 4 to work with, so the first thing I did was spend time evaluating how I wanted to place the colors.
I instantly knew that I was going to make the Dark to Light colorway option, and thankfully my husband agreed (or knew) without me doing more than asking him which of the two he preferred.
Be still my heart! The quilt looks even better on our real bed in our bedroom than I had hoped!
To achieve the crisp precision of the points in the Kaleidoscope Plus quilt pattern, the majority of the quilt top is paper pieced. I was able to get all of the paper piecing completed before I left for QuiltCon, although the quilt top was not finished when I left (which was a soft goal or milestone I had hoped to meet).
My husband and I sleep under quilts that I have pieced, but I have not quilted any of the bed quilts we own. So another huge aspect of this project for me was to quilt as much love and care into it as I could possibly muster. With that in mind, I bought a LOT of 50wt Aurifil thread to match the selected Kona Cotton colors to be sure that I was not going to run out in the middle! I purchased 3 large spools of 50wt 2740 (Dark Cobalt) to match Kona Ocean, 2 large spools of 50wt 2725 (Light Wedgewood) to match Kona Astral, 1 large spool of 50wt 2710 (Light Robins Egg) to match Kona Lake, and 1 large pool of 50wt 2612 (Arctic Sky) to match Kona Sky.
My husband was a huge part of this process. I digitally doodled out many options for different quilting motifs and areas, and we discussed what we liked and did not like. Ultimately, he selected or suggested the motifs that I quilted in each area of the quilt after we auditioned lots of possibilities.
In the background surrounding the pieced design, I quilted a Digital Circuit Board motif, and we are enchanted by the texture and the way it looks from different angles and views.
And the quilting in the pieced areas went basically exactly to the quilting plan doodle I shared earlier. In all, I spent over 30 hours quilting this quilt in the last week. Due to coming home from QuiltCon and being under the weather, I worked on this quilt right up to the deadline of publishing the post. I put the final hand stitches into the binding at 9pm on Monday night: cutting it very close (by my standards) to being done in time for the real deadline of sharing the quilt with you!
I did all of the quilting on my longarm by hand (there is nothing computerized about my machine). I did mark guide points and use a ruler for the extensive amount of dot-to-dot quilting that I did in the piecing. I used the Clover White Marking Fine Pen, which erases with heat (not an affiliate link).
When I took the quilt off of my longarm, I asked my husband to come in and look it over with me to look for any areas that I might have left unquilted. I said it as a joke, but he actually spotted an area at one edge of the quilt that I had not finished off! I placed my Quilting Jetgirl label at that spot so that I will always remember the 4 small lines I quilted on my Juki to fill in the space.
Kaleidoscope Plus from the book finishes at 63 1/2″ square, so I modified the size of the finishing borders to upsize the quilt to my desired 68 1/2″ wide by 88 1/2″ long (I used 7 1/2″ wide side borders and 17 1/2″ wide top borders). After quilting and squaring, the quilt was 67 1/2″ wide by 87″ long (~1.5% and 1.7% shrinkage) and after the first wash the quilt is 65 1/2″ wide by 83″ long (~4.4% and 6.2% shrinkage). I actually think that with a little use it will probably be closer to 4% shrinkage overall.
One of the wonderful aspects of all the quilting is how the the design still shines through when viewed from the backing (solid Kona Cotton Ocean)! I know many people have asked if a quilt quilted this densely is stiff. I used Quilter’s Dream Dream Green batting, and the quilt is not stiff. There are areas where the piecing is more stiff (which I avoided when quilting), but overall the texture of the quilt both before and after being washed is delightful.
I will say that the only time I have really struggled with a really stiff quilt is when I have done very dense matchstick quilting in only one direction. This is not at a matchstick level of density (I consider matchstick quilting every 1/8″ or closer), and there is movement and a change in quilting direction across the quilt.
I just love how the plus signs are still apparent from the back with the lighter colored thread and dense quilting. And how about the fun secondary design of the star with the color removed? There is so much for me to love about this quilt. It will be one of the many on our bed for the foreseeable future!
If you would like to make a Kaleidoscope Plus quilt and are especially drawn to my blue color palette, you can re-create this exactly by using:
- Astral for Dark Gray,
- Ocean for Light Gray,
- Lake for White, and
- Sky for Dark Blue and the Blue Print.
I backed the quilt in Ocean and bound it using Astral.
Thank you so much for visiting today and sharing in my joy at my new quilt and celebrating Cheryl and Paige’s book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts! If you would like to purchase a book, you can order a signed copy from either Cheryl or Paige’s Etsy stores, via C&T Publishing, or via Amazon at the links below:
- Cheryl Etsy
- Paige Etsy
- Modern Plus Sign Quilts (Amazon)
- Modern Plus Sign Quilts (C&T Publishing, Affiliate link)
MODERN PLUS SIGN BOOK HOP SCHEDULE
Thursday, March 15th
Linda @Flourishing Palms
Bernie @Needle and Foot
Liz @Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @Stacey In Stitches
Michelle @From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog
Linking up with Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Friday.