Good morning! I am so excited to be posting today as part of the blog hop for Jennifer Sampou‘s new Black & White collection from Robert Kaufman! I had the wonderful fortune to meet Jennifer at Quilt Market last fall, and she was incredibly generous in sharing her time and expertise. I was so flattered to be asked to participate in the blog hop for Black & White, and I’ve really fallen in love with the collection (as I know you will, too)!
Jennifer’s collection has many lovely blenders, as well as a coordinating line of yard-dyed designs, but the patterns that really drew me in are the large scale ones–photo-realistic feathers, cut-paper inspired florals, lacy butterflies, and an amazing repeat that looks like faceted gemstones. Although I typically love working with large scale prints, it took me a while to figure out how to design a quilt that would make these ones really shine. Jennifer encouraged me to look to my new book, Modern Applique Illusions, and everything suddenly fell into place. The book has an entire alphabet of illusionistic letters, and I decided that, combined with the Black & White fabrics, they would make a perfect modern baby quilt. (Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I’ll be teaching the Perspective Alphabet from the book at QuiltCon next month! I believe there are still a couple of spots left in the class for any interested folks!)
The simple patchwork squares of the background allowed me to use my favorite large-scale prints from the collection in a way that made each print a focal point. I chose the values based on which prints had the least contrast, since I knew that the visibility of the letters would rely on how strongly the appliqué pieces contrasted with the background fabrics. For the appliqués, I alternated using Kona Black and Snow, which coordinated perfectly with the collection.
I cut each square to measure 8″ (so, 7 1/2″ finished), which framed the letter appliqués perfectly. I debated over whether to sew the squares into place first or after appliquéing the letters, and honestly you could do either if you wanted to recreate this quilt. I finally settled on sewing the squares together first, because then I could ensure that the letters lined up with one another perfectly by marking an overall guideline, rather than fussing over one more element to line up when I sewed them together. (I’m new enough to patchwork to still get super excited over matching points, so I shied away from adding one more reference point into the matching equation). After sewing the squares together, I simply marked single a baseline for each row then eyeballed the placement of the “letters” within each square.
When given the option, I couldn’t resist adding a pop of red to the quilt. I envisioned this as the perfect way of incorporating an initial for a special baby into the quilt as a whole. Red is my favorite color, but I find that I seldom use it in my quilts, so this was the perfect opportunity.
I quilted the outlines of the “letters” as well as the shadows, and I really wanted the quilting to accentuate the letter forms. For this reason, I tried wool batting for the first time with this quilt (having been sent a package to try out by the wonderful folks at Pellon). I have to say, the additional loft of the wool gives a completely different effect than the low-loft cotton I usually use. For this quilt, I really like the additional definition it gives the quilting, and I think it accomplishes what I wanted it to. Also, it was a dream to sew with, even if less forgiving than my usual cotton.
For the back, I turned to one of my favorite prints from the collection, which reminds me of Mexican paper cuts. This print was too high-contrast to use for one of the background squares, but perfect for the back. As usual, I couldn’t resist incorporating the selvage into the backing, so now I’ll always have a document of this beautiful collection and it’s designer.
I had a wonderful time working with Jennifer’s newest line, which is available in stores now! Jennifer and Robert Kaufman have also generously donated a selection of three fabric “taquitos” to give away to a lucky reader. Since the patterns for the quilt I made are in Modern Applique Illusions, I thought I’d throw in a copy of the book as well. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below about what you’d make with this collection. Entries will close at midnight on Wednesday, February 4th, and I’ll draw and announce a winner on February 5th.
There are lots more chances to win, too! Jennifer will be giving away a fat quarter tower of the complete Black & White collection from the opening post on her blog, open until February 8th, as well as a taquito pack and a copy of one of her new patterns via Instagram. To enter the Instagram giveaway, take a picture of what you’re working on with Black & White (or repost any of the blog hop projects) and tag it with the hashtags #blackandwhitefabrics and #jennifersampou. Finally, visit the other blogs on the hop–they’ll be posting amazing projects over the next week and a half, and I encourage you to hop over to all of them!