Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

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You’ve heard right, I’m hosting a sew along and it starts, today!

As part of Blair Stocker’s Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™ Ambassador series and being August’s Ruby Ambassador (Read my interview by Blair—here), I thought it would be a fun collaboration to merge my Hold Tight quilt and Blair’s ruby-viewer into a sew along workshop-like experience!

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Hosting a new sew along is the perfect way to introduce you to Blair’s ruby-hued artist’s viewfinder tools the Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ and to continue our exploration of selecting color and value for your quilts that we started in the first Hold Tight Sew Along. The extra bonus to this sew along is the opportunity to connect you to more than 1,500 other quilter’s via Blairs private Facebook group where Blair will have live workshop-like sessions to support my sew along blog posts. Note: Blair’s FB group is free to join by answering three questions when requesting to be added to the group. If you can’t join in the live sessions—no problem—the videos are available for replay and ready to view when you are!

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

This sew along is also free to join—no sign up forms—just follow along and have fun. You’ll will need, however, my the Hold Tight pattern. If you don't have my Hold Tight quilt pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page. The Hold Tight pattern now includes two sizes—the original over-sized throw and the new petite crib-size quilt. The material lists, cutting requirements, coloring sheet, and full-size templates are part of the fully illustrated PDF pattern. These sew along blog posts serve to supplement the PDF but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. If you’ve purchased the original PDF prior to August 5, 2019 and didn’t receive a special newsletter email from this blog sharing the link to the Petite Add-On download, see my SEW ALONG page to get your copy of the bonus size. You’ll find the Add-On download that contains the crib-size material list, cutting guide, and coloring sheet. Note: You’ll still need the original Hold Tight pattern for quilt details. The current PDF in my shop has been updated with both quilt sizes so patterns purchased after August 5, 2019 include both quilt sizes—no add-on necessary.

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Week #1 - Color and Value

Welcome to Week #1 of the Hold Tight Petite Sew Along! For this blog post and the following two posts, I'll share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. In three weeks you’ll no longer be hesitant about working with color and become confident about stitching a quilt with curves!

From now until August 21, 2019 I'll break down the key components of the Hold Tight quilt pattern into three manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt you’re stitching. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos from the first Hold Tight sew along. Find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page and can be accessed at any time. Plus, for this Hold Tight Petite sew along, Blair Stocker will be following up my Wednesday morning blog posts with a Facebook Live session at 3:30pm PDT covering the same topic that same afternoon!

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For this sew along I’ve designed a 6-balloon Hold Tight quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. This crib-perfect size is not only quicker to make than the original quilt because there’s fewer blocks but also has a manageable number of colors needed to achieve the balloon shapes and transparency effects between balloons. Either size you choose to make the principles of color selection and construction are the same.

Where to Begin When Choosing Colors

The Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ rulers are perfect for helping to see values between colors by reducing hues to gray scale—allowing you to see value changes. But what does it mean when I say, value?

Value is the darkness or lightness of a color (hue). A high value change between colors can also be called contrast. Black and white have high contrast. A low value change between colors can be called tonal, making the changes (or steps) between the colors subtle and less noticeable.

Let’s assume you’re NOT working with a kit or fabric collection that a designer has already determined the color story. Most of you will be working from your stash of solids and/or purchasing fabrics for your Hold Tight quilt. Where do you begin in selecting colors and how do you get the transparency effect?

The answer is to think like a designer and artist. So as not to overlap too much on the great information I’ve already covered on Week #1 and Week #2 of the original Hold Tight sew along, I’ll cover aspects of color and value as I use them in my surface pattern design, artwork, and quilts. Be sure to take a look at those earlier posts if you’re wanting more insights into Color.

My Process

I’ve introduced you to the trick of using inspiration images for color selection on the Community Sampler Week #1 post and like I said, on Week #2 Hold Tight Sew Along. I used this same approach when selecting the colors for my fabric collections and my finished Hold Tight Petite quilt. Now, let me walk you through the process….

Spirited by Sharon Holland

Spirited by Sharon Holland

My next Art Gallery Fabrics fabric collection Spirited comes out November 2019. Before I even begin designing prints I consider the season the fabric collection will be released—in this case fall. Then I think about the mood of the collection or what sort of story I want to tell—this very much influences color, values, and of course print designs. When you’re selecting fabrics for a quilt you may subconsciously be asking these same sort of questions: What room will I be using this in, who is this quilt for and do they have favorite colors, what story or mood, energy, or feeling should this quilt have.

After I have my brief or concept from those initial questions, I then go to my iPad and start poking around on Pinterest. I start a private folder to gather my ideas and allow myself to go down that rabbit hole. For your assignment, I want you to do the same thing but try not to think literally (like in this case, balloons) —just explore a wide range of images. You’re bound to have a couple beautiful images jump out at you that check off all the boxes in those initial questions. You’re golden when you can find one or two—that’s all you need—that sum up your vision in that image. Here’s the four Pinterest-pulled images that were the color and storyline inspiration for Spirited. You can view all the prints from the collection, here.

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

I used this exact same concept to develop the palette for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’ll go further into exactly how I extracted the colors from my inspiration images for my collection and for my quilt.

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Because I’m heavily influenced by my upcoming fabric collection and craving fall colors (my favorite season) I found myself wanting earthy hues and an ethereal, muted palette and had that as part of my brief. Nature has always been an inspiration for me in my art so I started a search on butterflies and found these two images that I thought would make a nice color story. It’s a rather limited palette of chartreuse, gold, burnt orange, rust, cornflower blue, and lavender. I could’ve easily extracted the green in these images but instead decided not to introduce that color into the analogous/complimentary scheme that was happening already.

An analogous palette is one where shades (black added), tints (white added), tones (gray added) of hues (colors) lie next to each other on the color wheel. Complimentary colors are two hues directly opposite each other on the color wheel and include the shade, tint, or tone of those hues.

Knowing that the 6-balloon quilt has spots for four transparencies I was conscious to select colors that if mixed could yield plausible transparency colors. See Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1 post from the first sew along—it talks all about color mixing.

Extracting Colors

I’m fortunate to have a lot of design tools in my bag of tricks and I use Illustrator or Photoshop to extract colors from images. I don’t have any specific suggestions but I’m certain there’s many wonderful apps available that you can do on your phone and get the same sort of results—just do some looking around.

I import my images into my program and use the eye-dropper tool to extract a color I like from the image. Of course one could go crazy pulling colors so I limited my pull to eight on my initial pull—knowing my background was going to be off-white, I didn’t need to include that in my selection.

What I was aiming for in my initial eye-dropper extractions was a pleasing range of colors of similar value (darkness or lightness) to maintain my idea of etheral but yet, if I were to line up those selected colors from darkest to lightest there would be a noticeable change in value steps. In my fabric design, artwork, and quilting I try to have one or two value steps between colors that will be touching so they can stand out from each other. You can see that in my above example the colors almost step dark, light, dark, light….

Remember, my background is going to be off-white which in my quilt will be the lightest value. Any of the colors from my initial pull will have enough contrast next to the off-white fabric. So, if your quilt has a medium value background you will want to be pulling a lot of light and dark fabrics for the balloons.

From that initial pull I (with the use of my Adobe program) I then let the computer select the nearest Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid color (that I’d preloaded into my program). You can see the results of what the computer selected as the nearest equivalent. As for my textile designs I have all the Pantone colors preloaded into my program and do this exact same process on my first pass to creating a color story for a collection.

But what if you don’t have access to computer programs or apps? Go old-school and manually compare your fabric swatches. Here’s some ideas:

  • Print out inspiration photos

  • Take your own photos that could yield an interesting color story

  • Use watercolors or paints

  • Pull physical items from around your house that have colors you love

  • Use a painting or colorful printed fabric

  • Take a walk in a garden or museum

Getting Real

Now it’s time to get off the computer and start pulling fabrics in real life. I took my initial Pure Solids results to my sewing room and spread out my stash of Pure Solids to compare the print out to actual fabric. Here’s where your design instincts, the Ruby Ruler™, and your personal preference will go to work.

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The Goldilocks Syndrom

  1. The first photo is the fabric pull based on the initial computer generated AGF Pure Solids selection with two exceptions: The removal of PE-421 because it was too close in value to another fabric and PE-460 because it was too dark compared to the rest of the pull or too high of a contrast. I exchanged those fabrics with PE-485 and PE-457 and that’s what you’re viewing in this first photo. Colors don’t always translate perfectly from screen to reality, so it good to see them in person. I also wasn’t feeling the lavender (although its a gorgeous color and I so wanted it to work!). Viewing the lavender with the Ruby Minder™ I could see it was too bright or a pure a color (one without as much gray added) and not muted enough to play well with the vision for my color story. It threw a bit of a cog into my color wheel (ha ha).

  2. The second image shows that I’ve replaced the lavender with a mid-tone gray but when viewing the new selection through my Ruby Minder™ the gray and the blue were too close in value—making it ineffective as a transparency choice.

  3. For the third photo I selected PE-432, a lighter gray with a hint of yellow undertones so it related to the honeydew yellow. This color selection actually made more sense as a transparency color between the blue and the light yellow even though in reality mixing those two colors would produce a green—I wasn't going to bring green into my palette so this was my best neutral that would convincingly work as a transparency. A quick confirm with my Ruby Minder™ and it was just right!

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I cut out all my pieces and put them up on my design wall to double-check my selections before starting to sew. It’s hard to see the off-white background pieces against my white design wall, but they’re there. I used my Ruby Minder™ again to negate color and view my pieces in gray scale to see if the transparencies and balance was cohesive. That’s when I did just a bit more tweaking to color placement from my original plan and added in a ninth balloon color of PE-484 for a smoother transparency between the lightest yellow balloon and the dark gold balloon.

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Here’s my final fabric pull for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’m super happy with how it looks and relates back to my inspiration photos and brief for this quilt. I’m excited to see what Blair selects for her quilt and would love to see your inspiration for your color story and fabric pull, too! If you’re on Instagram, tag me @sharonhollanddesigns and Blair @blairs use the #holdtightquilt hashtag so we can follow your progress. If you’re sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics be sure to tag #artgalleryfabrics too! Don’t forget that you can join Blair’s Facebook group and meet others working on this quilt along with value and color insights from Blair’s expert knowledge of the subject.

Blair also has a wonderful online class, Make Modern Scrap Quilts Using Color Value which is an evergreen class—you buy its and it’s yours forever, there are no "sessions". Read more about this class on Wise Craft Handmade.

Looking Ahead

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This first week has been all about color and value and making your fabric selections for the size quilt chosen. If you’d like to work ahead and begin cutting out your materials you can reference the Cutting Templates and Fabrics video from the first sew along as well as the additional tutorial information found on the corresponding blog post from the first sew along.

Otherwise on week two I’ll blog about Cutting & Sewing Curves and Blair will being cutting and piecing live on Facebook. We’ll also have a fabulous giveaway from myself and Art Gallery Fabrics of a Hold Tight Petite Quilt Kit consisting of the pattern and the exact Pure Solid colors I used in my Hold Tight Petite quilt along with your choice of any AGF print for the backing! More details on that giveaway next week. Note to anyone winning a Hold Tight quilt pattern on this SAL that’s already purchased the pattern—we can substitute with your choice of a different PDF pattern from my SHOP.

Looking to week 3… I’ll be covering how to finish your quilt in a Quilt-As-You-Go method (QAYG) and talking about the hand quilting I did on my sample. If you’re interested in QAYG —don’t sew all your blocks together if working ahead! We’ll need the blocks as (horizontal) rows for securing to the batting and backing. More about that on the final week.

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Week #1 Giveaway

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Right now, over on Instagram, Blair and I are holding the first giveaway. Visit my IG feed @sharonhollanddesigns and enter to win a Hold Tight quilt pattern and Ruby Minder™ ruler for yourself and a tagged friend! Follow the giveaway rules on the post. Look for the post giveaway image on my feed just like the one above and enter by commenting. Two pairs of friends will be randomly drawn from the comments on around 4 pm Eastern Friday, August 9, 2019 and notified on Instagram.

Both giveaways for this tour will be held on my Instagram account @sharonhollanddesigns. Be sure you’re following myself and Blair @blairs and Art Gallery Fabrics @artgalleryfabrics so you don’t miss a thing!

Everlasting Look Book - Part 1

Everlasting Look Book - Part 1

The second most exciting thing to having a new fabric collection is to have Art Gallery Fabrics publish the Look Book for the collection!

Over the lasts several weeks I’ve been busy sewing projects with my new collection and photographing them in preparations for the Look Book. In this Part 1 blog post I’ll give you a more personal tour of the quilt and pillow projects I made plus the beautiful Hourglass Quilted pillows Maureen Cracknell of Maureen Cracknell Handmade stitched for this virtual magazine. Next week, in Part 2, I’ll show more of the other pretty (non-quilt) projects I made—there’s just too much for one blog post!

Quilts and Pillows

Lily Pond Quilt

Lily Pond quilt designed by Sharon Holland. Made and photographed by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Lily Pond quilt designed by Sharon Holland. Made and photographed by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Every Art Gallery Fabric collection has with it a FREE quilt pattern. The Lily Pond quilt made with Everlasting prints and AGF Pure Solids is a remake of a quilt I designed a couple years ago for International Quilt Festival magazine 2017, using Maureen Cracknell’s Soulful fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics.

It’s amazing how fabric placement can change up the entire look of the new Lily Pond quilt (above) compared to the same design of the Celestial quilt (below).

Celestial Quilt design and made by Sharon Holland with Soulful fabrics by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics

Celestial Quilt design and made by Sharon Holland with Soulful fabrics by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics

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Hourglass Quilted Pillows

Hourglass Quilted Pillows by Maureen Cracknell

Hourglass Quilted Pillows by Maureen Cracknell

How perfect would these Hourglass Quilted pillows by Maureen Cracknell look with the Lily Pond quilt or the Infinity Loop quilt below!?!? Maureen has a free tutorial on her blog for how to make these beautiful pillows.

Over Memorial Day weekend Maureen’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were hacked and then deleted by the hacker. This malicious act has been devastating and erased years of Maureen’s photo memories and work achievements. I know many of you follow both Maureen and I and if you’d like to continue receiving her beautiful daily dose of sewing inspiration on Instagram please follower her on her new account @maureencracknellhandmade. She’s no longer on Facebook and may not reopen an account there. Read more about what happened to her social accounts on her pillow tutorial post.

Infinity Loop Quilt

Infinity Loop Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

Infinity Loop Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

I’ve been waiting since my first Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Gossamer to remake my Infinity Loop quilt and Everlasting was the perfect collection to use!

The Everlasting Infinity Loop quilt is filled with Hobb’s Poly-Down Batting. It’s a slightly different loft than the Hobb’s Tuscany Polyester batting I also love but equally as soft and drapey. I love that you can leave wider spacing between quilting stitches too and chose to quilt a HUGE floral motif on the loop rows and spaces between the loops.

Infinity Loop Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

Infinity Loop Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

This intermediate to advanced level quilt pattern uses both foundation paper-piecing and traditional (curved) patchwork piecing. It’s well suited for a scrap quilt and I didn’t even preplan fabric placements—just sewed and put it together with very little fussing. The Everlasting collection has a well balanced mix of light, medium, and dark prints as well as a variety of print scales that gives a scrap quilt a flawless scrap look without being super match-matchy! Find this PDF pattern on my SHOP page.

Diamond-Cut Quilt

Diamond-Cut Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

Diamond-Cut Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

For the Everlasting Look Book I designed a new quilt pattern called Diamond-Cut for the SHOP. I’m so in love with this quilt and purposely made it very scrappy. Large Nine-Patch diamonds show off the prints and float in a background of the new Blossomed Pure Solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Diamond-Cut Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

Diamond-Cut Quilt designed, made, and photographed by Sharon Holland

This is a full-size bed quilt that has a modern-vintage style and ease to it. I also used Hobb’s Poly-Down batting inside and chose a simple and quick vertical stitching to create puffy channels. I think it gives the quilt an elder-down cozy look to it. Needless to say, this is now the guest room quilt!

Reversible Pillow Cases

Reversible Pillow Case tutorial by Tidbits made by Sharon Holland

Reversible Pillow Case tutorial by Tidbits made by Sharon Holland

As I was styling the bed and Diamond-Cut quilt for photography I realized that if I made pillow cases it would not only save me from buying something new but also be an opportunity to show off more of my pretty Art Gallery Fabrics!

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I found a great tutorial for these Reversible Pillows on the Tidbits website. I even had just enough of some beautiful trim I bought a few years ago at Quilt Market to finish the edge of these three cases. It was so handy to have reversible cases and three turned into six with a quick wardrobe change.

Everlasting by Sharon Holland

Everlasting by Sharon Holland

These projects in this post are by no means the end to the quilts and pillow projects you’ll find in the Everlasting Look Book, these were just mine and Maureen’s contributions. Next week I’ll blog about the other projects I made that were a fun and delightful change from quilt making. It’s always good for the mind to mix things up a bit and I learned some new sewing tricks!

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Visit the AGF Creative Blog for additional Everlasting inspiration AND a chance to win a bundle of Everlasting fabrics! Hurry, the giveaway ends June 4, 2019.

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

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It’s the fourth and final week of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I’ve been sharing tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. If you’ve just discovered this blog or only just heard about this sew along, there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun as the blog post for the sew along will remain up to access any time. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

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The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. I’ve added a new video dedicated to hand quilting and adding the “strings” embellishment to this quilted quilt before binding. View video support Weeks #1 through #4 on my Sew Along page. All the videos will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew and give general patchwork sewing information for anyone sewing curves.

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Quilting

If you’re a beginner or just in need of a refresher on how to baste your quilt top, machine quilt, and add the binding, check out the Finishing blog post I had written for the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt. Since I cover the way I put together my quilt sandwich and how I go about machine quilting in the Sewcial Bee Sampler post I won’t go over that identical information here but instead add information specific to the Hold Tight quilt such as batting selection, the machine quilting design I used on both of my Hold Tight quilts, and hand quilting the string embellishment.

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To help illustrate how different batting lofts look in a finished quilt I decided to use the exact same quilting design on both of my Hold Tight quilts.

The white background quilt on the left has a Hobb’s Tuscany Silk batting inside and the ombré quilt on the right has Hobb’s Tuscany 100% Polyester batting inside. I love both of these battings but they have completely different properties.

Here’s what I love about both of these products:

Both preform beautifully with quilting stitched up to 4” apart.

Both have a beautiful drape, light weight (no heavy quilt to wrestle with when stitching), and easy to handle.

Both are excellent for hand stitching and machine quilting.

There’s no shrinkage with Tuscany Polyester and only 3%-5% with Tuscany Silk (but I’ve noticed very little after laundering).

I’ve had no issues with laundering these battings and set my machine to Delicate Cycle, Cold Water wash and rinse, and low heat (delicate) drying.

The Tuscany Silk is similar to a cotton batting for stitch definition and feel but without the weight. The Tuscany Polyester is a high loft for a puffier look and is light as a feather (great for kids and extra snuggly quilts).

You can read further direct from the source at Hobb’s Batting plus take a look at their handing Quilting Products Batting chart to know what’s the best batting for your needs.

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I decided to do a very simple quilting stitch on these two quilts. The original Hold Tight quilt is filled with Tuscany 100% Polyester batting but has a dense, overall quilt design (see quilt below) so the quilt doesn’t puff as much as with the simple, looser machine quilting (see quilt on the right, above). It just depends on the look and feel you want to achieve.

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To stitch the loose Looping Scallop design you will need to do a little prep work of marking a horizontal line across the middle of the block rows.

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By dividing the block rows in half horizontally you’re making guides for two Looping Scallop quilting lines per block row. Stagger the two Looping Scallops in alternating rows as seen in the illustration above. I freeform stitched my Looping Scallops and they look in real life about as wonky as they do on my illustrated drawing.

For one horizontal row of Looping Scallops I used the block seam lines as my guide where I would make the loop. On the next row, that seam line was my midway point between loops that I eye-balled to land in the middle of the block.

I worked from the bottom of the quilt up, as I wanted the scallops to give a bit of a cloud illusion and this felt the most natural for me in creating the loops. You can work from the top down if that feels more comfortable to you. If you’re not sure about eye-balling where the loops and scallops are to be stitched, then draw out the machine quilting design or make a little mark at the midpoints for reference so you have more of a guide to follow.

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Once your quilt has been quilted and before you add the binding, you’ll want to add the hand stitching to create strings on the ends of the balloons. I’ve put together a helpful video all about Hand Quilting and you can find it on the Sew Along page with the other Hold Tight Sew Along videos.

I used all 6 strands of 6-ply Aurifil floss for my hand quilting thread.

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All of my Hold Tight quilt use Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids for the top. The white background quilt I’m calling the Art Class color way and you can see the full list of fabrics used on week #1 of the Sew Along. For the backing I had to sneak in a print and used Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection as the perfect compliment to the colorful front.

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For the Ombré Desert color way I mixed it up a bit and made a gradient background to simulate the sky. Read about the colors that went into making this top along with the color inspiration for the quilt on week #2 of the Sew Along.

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The backing for the Ombré Desert color way is Destination Aerial from my Tapestry collection for AGF. It was the perfect shades of blues and peaches!

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I lucked out with the perfect (although a bit windy) day for photography and love how the blue of the sky looks with these quilts. The balloons look as if they will fly away!!!

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I can’t wait to see your finished Hold Tight quilts, there’s so many possibilities for coloring and even the finishing options make this quilt look completely unique. Be sure to tag me @sharonhollanddesigns when posting to social media and don’t forget to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong to be entered into our final giveaway that will be drawn from the Instagram hashtag pool on Monday, April 15 (see below for more details).

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Let’s give a huge shout out of thanks to our fine sponsors and their generous giveaway prizes. I personally love the people behind these companies, their quality products, and their dedication to serving makers like you.

Thank you to our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously sponsored the Hold Tight Sew Along.

This Friday, April 12th will be our last Hold Tight Sew Along giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY SPONSOR IS FROM The Fat Quarter Shop

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You may need to be restocking your solids stash after this sew along so what better way add some color to your fabric cabinet than with a chance to win this giveaway! One lucky IG winner will be sewing with this beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Summer Sun Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

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Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details. 

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

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Welcome to Week #1 of the Hold Tight Sew Along! For this blog post, and the following three posts, I'll be share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern as well as Hold Tight quilt kits. Please note that the kits from FQS will be ready to ship at or around March 23rd. Use the “Notify Me” function on the kit page to get updates on your order’s shipping date. These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew.

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From now until April 10, 2019 I'll be breaking down the key components of the Hold Tight baby quilt pattern into four manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

Color and Transparency Effects

As outlined in last weeks blog post, Hold Tight Sew Along, I'll be covering a new topic each week. This week's lesson is all about selecting colors and working with transparency effects. 

Color is a big subject, but I'll attempt to give you a practical and applicable approach to color as it pertains to selecting fabrics for this quilt. 

Since color is the first thing anyone notices in a quilt—even before the design, we need an entire post just on this subject. The Hold Tight baby quilt offers plenty of opportunity to play with color through the graphic shape of a balloon. But where do you begin when you must decide on a maximum of 20 different solids!!!???

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This quilt is marketed as a baby quilt but its large size also makes it suitable as a throw-size quilt for any age. Maybe there's already a nursery color scheme selected, favorite colors, or some sort of predetermined color inspiration (like from printed fabric or artwork). That's really helpful and gets you halfway to a fabric pull. If you'd like to create a color palette from creating a mood board, take a look back at the Community Sampler Week #1 post on this blog. If you remember, I made my Community Sampler quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids and my color inspiration came from creating a mood board from images I found on Pinterest. But, if selecting a color palette still seems daunting, read on.

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As a textile designer, artist, and newbie to embroidery coming up with color palettes and selecting just the right color for a given project is an ongoing challenge. Rather than focusing just on color relationships and schemes like you'd find on a color wheel (e.g. Complementary, Split Complementary, Diad, Triad, and Tetrad), I'll walk you through color composition instead and how to select hues that work in unity together because of their shade, tint, and/or tone. Once you've discovered how to view a color by what colors it's made from you can always go back and incorporate traditional color wheel schemes into your fabric selection process.

When you start seeing beyond the colors within a given color (hue) you'll be able to successfully mix colors physically like with paint for example or visually, like with fabric transparency effects.

In this tutorial I'll be using the following technical terms:

Shade: Amount of black added to the hue

Tint: Amount of white added to the hue

Tone: Amount of gray added to the hue

Value: Lightness or darkness

Intensity: Brightness or dullness

Before I tackle mixing colors, let's first discuss the easiest way to select colors that achieve the effect of unity and transparency by using a Monochromatic color scheme. For both the Hold Tight pattern sample and the quilt you'll see featured in the sew along tutorials I'm using a combination of monochromatic color trans effects and mixed color transparency effects and sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids fabrics.

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A Monochromatic color scheme uses one color and the shades and tints of that color. Art Gallery Fabrics has an array of shades and tints available for their Pure Solids and makes it easy to achieve beautiful gradation steps of colors—creating a transparency effect where the balloons overlap.

The four monochromatic color schemes above illustrate color steps arranged from tints (lightest) to shades (darkest) of a hue.

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To illustrate mixing colors I'm going to refer back to the color wheel and start with the Primary Colors which are blue, red, and yellow. These three colors cannot be created by mixing other colors. 

If you mix equal parts blue and red you'll get violet (or also referred to as purple). Mixing red and yellow will create orange and mixing yellow and blue will result in green. These resulting colors are called Secondary Colors because they were made from mixing two different Primary Colors. 

Tertiary Colors are the result of mixing a Primary Color with a Secondary Color. The resulting color name always has the primary color first followed by the secondary color. For example: blue-green, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange, and yellow-green.

Crayola Color Wheel

Crayola Color Wheel

As a kid I was fascinated by color and as soon as I could read I was memorizing the names of the crayons. From early on I saw the pattern of this primary color name first followed by secondary color name as a way to distinguish one color from another.

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Anyone who's gone to the hardware store to buy a can of white paint knows about the zillions of options there are for “white” paint. Do you want a yellow-white, a pink-white (which has a whisper of red paint added to the can), a cool, blue-white, a white with a warm, green cast...??? You get the idea. Once you understand about Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors you can start to see what makes up a particular hue.

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I'm remaking a Hold Tight quilt for this sew along to put myself in your shoes of where to start for selecting colors. I had no color scheme in mind, so I got out my watercolor paints. If you don't have watercolors then attempt the same exercise with colored pencils, acrylics, pastels, crayons, markers, colored tissue paper that can be overlapped, or anything that can be mixed, blended, or overlaid and put onto paper for this lesson.

Begin with mixing Primary Colors to make violet, green, and yellow. Try to get as close of a match to a true Secondary hue as possible just to give yourself a clean and bright color sample (see Intensity definition). Next, create your Tertiary Colors. This is your starting point.

Start mixing colors and see what you end up with. I guarantee you'll create a lot of stuff you're pretty meh about but what's happening is you're learning about color and what colors go into to making a new color.

Now it's time to add black to your colors to create shades and darken a hue. A fun outcome of adding black to yellow is you'll create a drab olive green. True story: I never use a pre-mixed black paint when painting. I always create some sort of near-black from the colors already used in the art.

Next, add white to make tints and lighten a hue.

For some real fun try mixing colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel (e.g. Complementary Colors). The results can vary from creating different brown hues to different gray tones depending on what colors make up the resulting hue.

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After this exercise about shades, tints, and tones you'll start to notice how adding black, white, or a Complimentary Color has changed the original color's intensity and value. Intensity and value play a big part in relative contrast and why some colors appear dull and other bright. Using fabrics of the same relative intensity but of varying values is a good rule of thumb to give the overall effect of unity. All bright colors look less bright when placed in the same quilt or piece of art. Likewise if the palette is all muted or duller those colors make sense together because of the relative sameness. Now that's not a hard and fast rule, just an example. Many times in art, mixing intensities of colors can create a focal point where the bright, pure color stands out above the more muted tones. Artists often use colors of different intensities, temperatures (cool or warm), and values to make objects advance or recede in a painting.

Contrast is very similar to Intensity and describes the amount of difference between two or more colors. We know as quilters that contrast plays a big part in how a block reads or a quilt pops. If there’s little or no contrast between touching colors (or prints) then the overall effect is very flat and at a distance may read as one solid mass.

Watercolor Mixes Hold Tight Quilt.jpg

A great way to make a transparency areas successful is to utilize dark, medium, and light contrasting colors. Dark, medium, and light contrasts can be positioned in any order but I’ve found when a dark color is used on a balloon and a light colored balloon is overlapping it, using a medium (mixed result) color in the transparency area will be most affective for creating a transparency illusion. See the photo below at the transparency overlapping blocks.

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Take a look at the colors you mixed and hopefully, there's some colors and blending that really speaks to you! For my quilt(s) I'm using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. Pull out all your solid fabrics or take your paper swatches to your fabric store for reference when purchasing fabrics. You may want to cut out the paint or mixed samples you want to work with. Assign the colors and color combinations you love a fabric that matches as close as possible. Don't feel you need to follow your mixed samples exactly and depending upon your available fabric colors you may need to make adjustments. Implement what you've learned in this mixing exercise and soon you'll be able to confidently make judgements about color mixing in your minds eye. Remember to look closely at the underlying colors that make up the color of the fabrics and select the transparency fabric color that would simulate as closely as possible the “mixed” result if you could mix the fabrics on either side of the transparency shape. Notice in the Monochromatic color scheme examples I’d grouped the colors by yellow-greens, greens, blue-greens, and aquas.

I’m calling my second Hold Tight quilt the Art Class Color Story because the above photo was the AGF color palette I came up with after my paint mixing exercise. Because I still need some print in my life I like adding a fun printed backing to an all solid quilt top. The Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection was perfect!

The Art Class Color Story quilt uses PE-408 as the background and PE-402, PE-405, PE-410, PE-414, PE-427, PE-450, and PE-466 as the transparency fabrics.

If you have a design wall, pin up some swatches and take a step back. Squint your eyes and see if the colors make sense together. Likewise, taking a photograph of the fabric pull and viewing the photo on a screen can sometimes allow you to see color relationships you didn't notice in person.

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If you’d like a fun read about fascinating and unknown histories of color, add The Secret Lives of Color to your library. Awarded NPR Best Books of 2017. (Amazon Affiliate link).

My fellow Art Gallery Fabrics Designers, Dana Willard, Mathew Boudreaux, and Alexandra Bordallo along with AGF Sewcialite Carolina Moore will also be sewing along with us and making a Hold Tight quilt. I’m excited to see the beautiful colors and looks all of you will make so don’t forget to snap some pretty pictures of your color lesson homework, fabric selection, or color palette process to share with the other Hold Tight Sew Along makers. If posting to Instagram or other social platforms be sure to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong and tag me @sharonhollanddesigns so I see your beautiful work.

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A sew along is a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! Every Friday, beginning on March 22nd through April 12th, 2019 I’ll be posting weekly a giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

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Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

This Friday, March 22, 2019 the giveaway prize will be the beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Woodland Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details.