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Shawl Quilt - Fabric selection

Today I'm sharing some additional tips on choosing fabrics for the Shawl quilt pattern!


In the Shawl pattern I give some tips on fabric selection, and also in the Color Hexa blog post there are tips on how to choose colour selection.  This extra blog post is not meant to overcomplicate the process, so if you're into a groove with the other resources available, then by all means, stay with what's working for you!  But, since colour selection matters to achieve the woven plaid look of the quilt, and since there are so many ways to choose colours successfully, I thought I'd mention some simple tips for any of you who would find this additional info helpful!

The Shawl quilt is a visual effect, where fabric can achieve the look of a woven plaid. There's a formula in the pattern that can help you choose the right colours, whether you're using prints or solids.

So far I've made this quilt three times, all in very different colour palettes; twice in prints, and once in solids.  So for the upcoming QAL, I thought I'd play with solids once again.  This quilt will be going on my youngest son's bed.  My goal is to re-do all my kids's bedding this year, and so I'm looking forward to knowing this first one will be checked off the list in a matter of weeks!

Here's my in-progress fabric palette.  I'll share my thoughts as I narrow it down to the final palette.


Unlike other times I've chosen a  Shawl palette, I started with a plaid that I liked the colours of.  These two Robert Kaufman plaids were my inspiration.  I didn't have the actual Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannels on hand though, so my aim was to find a similar:
Black or charcoal,
Red,
White, and
Dark blue,
then put these plaids aside and work with the four colours to find the right interacting colours.

This time I didn't use Color Hexa, or any other digital colour blending tool, just my imagination as I auditioned different bolts of fabric in the fabric store.


I've actually ordered this one to use as a backing for either a quilt or a duvet in my boys' room, so I'm excited to have a Shawl quilt that will be inspired by these colours.

At the quilt shop I wrote the letters on a scraps of paper to mark the bolts as I chose, and one by one selected my colours.  In what felt like 45 minutes later walked out with all the fabrics I needed.  I am the slowest decision maker I've ever met, so if I can do it, so can you!

I couldn't decide between two prints for AD and BD, so I settled to just buy both since this quilt shop was 40 minutes from home, and planned to make the final decision later.

Also, AB should be lighter than AC, since B is lighter than C, so I popped into a store today and found the right blue for AC.  (Also I could have switched AB and AC and that could have done the trick, too!



Here are some recommendations for how to simplify the colour selection process:

1.  Search for a plaid that you already like the colours of, and refer to that when selecting your fabric.

2.  Usually we find it pretty easy to imagine what any given colour would look like mixed with black or white, so consider using white or black (or nearly white or black) as one or two of your first four colours.   For this quilt I chose a "nearly-white" pale grey blue for A, and a "nearly black" charcoal for C.  This made choosing blended colours easy!

3.  As mentioned in the pattern: A, B, and AB will be the most used fabrics in your quilt, so find colours for these three that you really love!

4.  Don't overcomplicate the process!  Somehow this perception of a woven plaid still works in prints, even.  Our brains are amazing at perceiving pattern and organization.  For example, don't blue and red make purple?  Yes, but I opted for burgundy/maroon in my palette for the red/blue blended colours.  Though my boys both really like purple, I didn't want to introduce yet another colour into their bedroom, so I was happy to find some burgundies that still fit.



For this blog post, I plunked some similar colours into Electric Quilt, and came up with this image to get an idea of how the colours I chose would look.  If I didn't have EQ, I would have used the colouring page from the pattern.  I like it, and I think my little guy will, too!

We start our QAL on the 25th, kicking it off with a giveaway!  As has been mentioned before, if you have signed up for the QALI'm looking forward to telling you more about the giveaways, and getting acquainted with you and seeing your fabric palettes!  A QAL is a great opportunity to find and make quilty friends, so I'll be encouraging you to share pics of your process and use the hashtag #shawlquilt, and tagging me @briarhilldesigns so that I don't miss a post!

All the important info regarding the QAL is posted in this linked blog post, and signing up for the QAL is there as well!  

I can't wait to get started! 




Mulberry Quilt (and a giveaway with Aurifil thread and RJR fabrics!)

Hello fellow lovers of needle and thread!

We're Caverly and Julia of Briar Hill Designs.  We're textile designers with RJR Fabrics; Caverly the artist paints all the artwork for our fabric collections; and I'm Julia the pattern maker, designing quilts and sewing my heart out!

Giveaway info is hidden somewhere in this post.  :)




I feel very honoured to get to share on the Aurifil blog.  We have a thread box with Aurifil which I love to sew with.  I love their beautifully-made thread, and I'm pleased to share one of the many projects I've made with Aurifil thread.

(But let me just show you these first!)
Made with Aurifloss and 3mm silk ribbon.


Made with Aurifloss and 7mm silk ribbon.

This is my Cameo quilt, which was appliqu├ęd, pieced and quilted in Aurifil thread.  Quilting by Dara Tomasson of Stitched Quilting Co.

Sorry about that distraction, us sewists can't help ourselves from talking about our craft though, can we?

Onto the business at hand!

This is Mulberry, one of our newest patterns, made with fabrics from our second collection, Bequest.  

I'd love to tell you about the creative process of designing and making this quilt.


The Mulberry design is a take on the Lone Star, continuing the diamonds out to the far corners of the block.
Here are my favourite parts about this pattern:

I love the secondary design that appears when you sew the four blocks together.

I like how different four blocks can look when you have light and dark in different places.

Let's be honest.  Sewing with bias could be intimidating for some of us.  It's so important to me that I give my customers all the tools they need to proceed with confidence.  The pattern includes a comprehensive section full of good sewing techniques that will help you produce a great quilt top. Fabric prep, cutting, pressing, sewing, and cutting strip sets and working with bias are all topics to help you make the most stunning quilt top.

I love the saturation of colour in these big blocks, and how in this Twin size, you can play out a different colour story in every block.


I designed this quilt last Spring and couldn't wait to make it in our fabric once it arrived!

My to-do list turned into a traffic jam this past fall, due to some quilty setbacks. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn't release the four patterns I made for the Bequest fabric release in time without some help.  So I called out to my friends at the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild for help and Anja Clyke offered to help by piecing the quilt.  I starched all the fabrics, and dropped them off at her door with a spool of Aurifil 40wt, and she pieced the blocks beautifully.  Thanks friend!

I then trimmed the blocks, sewed the four blocks together, and chose 2770 Very Light Delft 40wt thread from our Briar Hill thread box.

Mulberry got the best quilt treatment using Hobbs Tuscany wool batting, and Aurifil 40wt thread.  Sheri from Violet Quilts quilted Mulberry in this Baptist Fan edge to edge panto on her Gammil Statler.


The texture on this quilt is just incredible.  I wish you could pet it!

Thanks for reading along!  I love to share my quilt process. So much of our craft is us alone in our sewing room, which is nice, but it’s also energizing to connect with others who love sewing as much as we do!
Happy Sewing!
– Julia

Aurifil, Briar Hill, & RJR have joined forces to bring you a GIVEAWAY
To enter to win 1 Small June’s Cottage Thread Collection, 1 bundle of Bequest by Briar Hill Designs for RJR Fabrics, and winners choice of three digital patterns from Briar Hill’s Etsy shop, please click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 20. Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, March 21. Good luck!

ABOUT BRIAR HILL DESIGNSWebsite — Facebook — Instagram — Etsy
Briar Hill Designs was born out of a beautiful synergic friendship between two self-proclaimed fabric lovers, and Canadian sisters-in-law, Caverly Smith and Julia Wentzell. Caverly’s fine art skills and Julia’s expertise in pattern making transport you to a simpler time before the breach of etiquette when unspoiled natural beauty was abundant. The collections, artwork and patterns are inspired by that hilltop paradise of the past.
**Images by Briar Hill Designs & RJR Fabrics

Yonder Quilt

I've saved announcements for the end, so scroll to the end if you want to know about Quilt Alongs and Giveaways, and want to skip the design process story.


When C+S asked me if I'd be interested in designing patterns for their new collections I had to keep my composure, so I didn't scream "YES!" and make them think I was a weirdo.  Because I'm not.

I was so happy to have the opportunity because:
1.  I'm a huge Rifle Paper fan, and would get a sneak peek at their newest collection.  (I know, we're Textile Designers too, but I feel that has even expanded my appreciation of other designer's creations, and it's fun to spend some time admiring other artist's work!)

2.  I was intrigued by the challenge of acting as a proxy Quilt Designer for another Textile Designer.  I imagine most textile designers have a feel for how they wanted their fabric line to be seen.  Being that for another means I hope to design a quilt that they would love, and that shows off their collection as they wish to portray it. I've enjoyed it!

3.  Though I wasn't attending Fall Quilt Market, I was excited that some of my projects would be there.



I was sent digital artwork of the collection in August and submitted designs within a week.  I submitted a few ideas for the Wildwood collection, and here is one I loved, but I'm glad Yonder was the winner.

In 2018, Anna Bond had her artwork placed on a stamp.  She had mentioned at the time that it was a huge achievement for her because she had loved stamps as a child, (but don't ask me how I know that because I can't find the source, but here's the stamp, so I didn't completely make it up).  So I thought this would make a fun quilt, and C+S basics had a great manilla envelope colour for the background.  I guess this designs will just have to go into the vault for another time.


My goals in designing Yonder were as follows:
1.  No background fabric.  I imagined a high saturation of print and colour.
2.  I wanted to see five different fabrics in a large 18" block.
3.  I was hoping for a pretty secondary design.
4.  I wanted to build from a simple star design I'd fallen for a few months previous.  Andrea of @3rdstoryworkshop had asked me to contribute star blocks to a quilt she was making.  I could make any design I wanted that was a star, and made this simple block.  When I handed the blocks over to her at one of our MMQG meetings, I mentioned, "I think I'm going to play with this star!"  



My quilty to-do list turned into a traffic jam in the Fall due to a truckload of unforseens, so I called out to my amazing quilty friends and they came to the rescue.  Eleanor Thili sewed up this quilt beautifully.

She also fussy-cut the bunny for the centre square (shown in the pic below).  I love her for that!


I knew for a long time I wanted to have it quilted in a woodgrain, but I couldn't find a pantograph that was organic and un-repetitive for my vision, so I rented Bella, the longarm at Violet Quilts, chose a pistachio coloured thread, and quilted it myself over about 5 hours.  


This pattern has been such an agreeable project.  Writing, proofing, testing, sewing, and editing were all easy breezy; so for the present, Yonder is my favourite child.




I always have a giveaway for a new pattern release, so on Friday please see my Giveaway post on Facebook or Instagram to enter.  Contest closes Monday, March 11th at 9am EST.  A winner will be chosen from FB and Instagram, and will win a great big coupon and a digital copy of the pattern for themselves and their tagged friend.

This quilt needs a Quilt Along.  It just does.  So, I'm starting a QAL on April 29th.

Sign up here!

Here's the plan for the QAL:
hashtag to use: #yonderquilt

You can expect an email every Monday of the QAL.  It will link you to the week's Blog post.

In anticipating the "Can I use Fat Quarters?" question, the answer is yes.  You'll need two for every block, but it's tight, and I'd recommend having a few extra FQs on hand in case you need to bring them into the fold.  I'm sewing up a Yonder made with FQs, and there will be a Blog post all about it before the QAL.

I find it best to cut the entire quilt, match up which prints you want together in a block, then make blocks one by one, so that's how I've organized the QAL.

Opening giveaway will be on April 29th. If you have signed up for the QAL you are automatically entered.  Once I draw a name, I'll request to see proof of purchase of the pattern, then the giveaway will be mailed to you!


WEEK 1, April 29th
Steps 1 and 2: Cut all fabric for your blocks, match up fabrics you would like in the same block.

WEEK 2, May 6th
Sew a third of the blocks
Bassinet:1
Throw: 5
Twin: 8
King: 12

WEEK 3, May 13th
Sew a third of the blocks
Bassinet:1
Throw: 5
Twin: 8
King: 12

WEEK 4, May 20th
Catch-up, get-ahead or take-it-easy week

WEEK 5, May 27th
Sew remaining blocks
Bassinet: 2
Throw: 6
Twin: 9
King: 12

WEEK 6, June 3rd
Layout and assemble quilt top.  Post by midnight June 9th to be entered in the final giveaway.

June 10th
Final giveaway winner announced!

It's going to be a fun QAL, I just know it!  I hop you'll join us.  Follow this link to Subscribe!





Shawl Quilt Along starting March 25th

I hosted my first QAL in the Fall, using my Potter's Wheel pattern, and I loved the sense of community that comes form working on the same project together, and watching all these creative and different quilts grow.  During the QAL, I highly recommended commenting on other participants' posts on instagram which resulted in some new quilty friendships for many of us, and that's the best part!

So I'm especially to start another Quilt Along, this time with my Shawl quilt pattern.  Our Shawl Quilt Along is less than 3 weeks away, and I'm already seeing participants colour planning their quilts.



I first designed Shawl over a year ago, wanting to explore transparency in a quilt.  I tried a few plaid designs before I fell for this one, and then used all my brain power to figure out how to plan colours for the quilt, so that the design would appear as a woven shawl.


There's a process fully described in the pattern to pick colours for the quilt.  Colour planning is divided into two steps:

Step 1:  Choosing your main colours (these represent the thread colours that would be used were it actually a woven shawl).

Step 2: Then in the pattern is a chart that helps you determine a colour of fabric that represents when any two of the main thread colours would "so to speak" weave through each other and interact, such as in a woven project when two different threads weave through each other, and from a distance appear as one colour.


Please see my What Shade Are You post for more on this coral Shawl.

I've also added a blog post on using a colour blender to help you select colours as a support for the second part of the fabric choice process.  This process can even work with prints and solids.  Both June's Cottage and Bequest fabrics have been made into Shawl quilts.

My plan is to sew in solids during the QAL.  I'm making a quilt for my youngest, he's 7 and had fun choosing colours with me.  This is the year of new quilts for my kids.  There are loads of my quilts around, but they belong in our common areas.  I think my little guy is excited to have one that's all his own!

Here's the plan for the QAL:
hashtag to use: #shawlquilt

You can expect an email every Monday of the QAL.  It will link you to the week's Blog post.

I find it best to cut and make Blocks, Sashing and Cornerstones separately, so that's how I've organized the QAL.  There are lots of blocks per week, but thanks to strip piecing, and production-line sewing, these parts go together so fast.

Opening giveaway will be on March 25th.  If you have signed up for the QAL you are automatically entered.  Once I draw a name, I'll request to see proof of purchase of the pattern, then the giveaway will be mailed to you!

I'll be making a post before the QAL all about colour planning, talking about how I choose colour, and any tips that could be helpful.  It's our goal to be ready to cut fabric the first week of the QAL so please use the resources such as the first few pages of the pattern, the Color Hexa post and future blog post to choose your fabrics, email me any questions through the blog contact link above, and I'll be sure to answer them in the blog post I'm preparing on colour selection.

Also keep in mind!  If you'd like someone to do all the fabric choosing for you, Missouri Star has kitted out Shawl quilt in the Throw size.

WEEK 1, March 25th
Cut, strip piece and assemble half of your blocks
Crib 9
Throw 25
Queen 36

WEEK 2, April 1st
Assemble second half of blocks
Crib 9
Throw 25
Queen 36

WEEK 3, Apr 15th
Cut, strip piece and assemble cornerstones
Crib 18
Throw 50
Queen 72

WEEK 4, Apr 22nd
Cut, strip piece and assemble sashing
Crib 36
Throw 100
Queen 144

WEEK 5, Apr 29th
Catch-up, get-ahead or take-it-easy week

WEEK 6, May 6th
Step 3 and 4 in the pattern; cutting pieces for outer edges and assembling units.

WEEK 7, May 13th
Assemble quilt top and post by midnight May 19th to be entered in the final giveaway.

May 20th
Final giveaway winner announced!

Sheri of Violet Quilts is once again offerring discounted batting and quilting services, so stay tuned for more on that, and info on our sponsored giveaways!