Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

Pure Solids Selection.jpg

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.

Hold Tight Sew Along Sq.jpg

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!!!???

Hold Tight flat.jpg

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.

Hold Tight Art Class.jpg

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.

Monochromatic Schemes.jpg

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.

Paintbrush Color Wheel-01.jpg

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.

Paint Chip Color Array.jpg

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.

Hold Tight Quilt - Art Class.jpg

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.

Art Class 2.jpg

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.

Art Class Color Way Fabrics copy.jpg

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.

The Secret Lives of Color Reference.jpg

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.

HoldTightSewAlong Sponsor.jpg

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!

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. 

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

Book Blog Tour 3.jpg

You can imagine my excitement when my first quilt book Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living (Landauer 2017) became a reality this October and I could hold a printed copy in my hand. Well, I'm even more elated about the upcoming blog tour! Starting Monday, December 4th with the talented Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt and running each day until the 19th are 16 creative bloggers to tell you all about my book. 

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt

Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time

Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble

Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs

Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios

Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View

Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J

Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift

Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World

Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife

Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project

Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K

Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety

Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter

Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Book Blog tour banner.jpg

To kick off the tour I'd like to share a free quilt project with you that I designed to go along with the book. Roman Stripe is super fun to make and a great scrap quilt. You can use jelly roll strips or cut your own 2-1/2" wide strips - the more the merrier with this one!

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

The premise of my book is to make quilts to be used. Don't stress about stitching museum showpieces or quilts you're afraid to let anyone touch--make quilts to be part of your everyday life. Experiment with colors and prints. Feel free to create what sings to your heart and forget about color theories (of which I do go over in the book as a basic understanding of color theory).

Make what you love and love what you make. 
Quilt Stack.jpg

Even though this book is only 80 pages, I've managed to pack it full of everything you'll need to make 12 easy-to-piece quilts from start to finish. This is a great resource for a beginning quilter or even seasoned quilters that want fun new projects. I go over fabric selection, cutting of fabric, patchwork basics, utility-style quilting, and finishing of the quilt. The quilt projects are based in traditional patchwork but all have a fresh-modern look--perfect for today's home. 



It pains me deeply that I already have a correction in my book but that's what happens when you have different people to depend on and many hands on a project. This beautiful quilt called Goose Chase has some changes to the material list and cutting instructions on it's first page. Use this link to Landauer Publishings Correction page and download the changes. I know this stuff happens but that gives me no comfort and am sorry for any headaches it may cause you.

Goose Chase web.jpg

My lovely daughter and dashing son-in-law were my models for this photo. The beauty shot photo of this quilt in the book has a different version and includes my granddaughter in the scene who at that time was less than a year old.

I like to pack meaning in everything I do and this book almost feels like a family album in a way. My friends and family all played a big role in making this possible. Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living is as much a lifestyle book as it is a quilting book. I wanted a cover that could rival any home decor magazine and purposely started the reader outside in front of a house. SIDE NOTE: And no, it's not my house but I like to say it should've been my house. We looked at that home when it was fresh on the market when we were finding a place to live in Ohio. Unfortunately it was priced well beyond our comfort zone and we had to find something else. I love that it's the cover for my book and that curved roof line is divine!

From the exterior of a home I lead you through a home beginning on the porch and into the front entry. Every room of this collective home represents how people live today. We end the projects with Goose Chase out in the backyard for a sweet, impromptu picnic. The life-style inset photos were taken by Susan Playsted of Hopewell Home and Susan can tell you more about how that all came about on her blog tour day. Let's just say social media is truly social and it was an amazing collaboration!

Tracery by Sharon Holland

Tracery by Sharon Holland

I'm happy to announce that this website now has a STORE! My first and only item in my shop right now is my book. I have limited quantities to sell and although you could get the book through Amazon (affiliate link) and potentially pay no shipping costs you can only get it signed through my site so hopefully that offsets the extra expense of paying shipping :) Please note that I'm only shipping to US residents at this time. As I get more comfortable with having a store and add more items to my shop then I will open shipping up to more global locations in the future. 

With every good blog tour also comes good giveaways, right? Each of the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour bloggers has the opportunity to give away one of my books to a lucky follower. I'm leaving it up to the blogger to run their own giveaway, so visit each of their posts to see what project(s) they've created from my book and if they're offering a book giveaway. Since the winning books will be shipped directly to the lucky winning entry via Landauer Publishing I'm sorry to say they will not be signed copies. 

Win Book.jpg

This giveaway is now closed

Congratulations to Jessica Rampelburg!

Follow along on the book blog tour for more chances to win a copy of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living. 



Blithe Quilt

When I was asked if I wanted to participate in the AGF Stitched with Kimberly series of course I said YES! Quarterly, Art Gallery Fabrics and the Fat Quarter Shop team up to design a free quilt pattern. Sewists from all over make their version of the free quilt pattern with their choice of any Art Gallery Fabrics generously supplied by AGF. The participants make and then blog about what they've created. Many make the quilt while others use the block design to create a table runner, bags, or other sewing projects from the design. It is so much fun to see all the different interpretations of the original design. 

The Fat Quarter Shop Blithe Quilt project is made using Caroline Hulse's newest AGF fabric collection Chalk & Paint. Playful and flirty, Caroline's prints are so adorable and you really get to see the prints on the large half-square triangles. Find kit information here.

So, the exciting part of the AGF Stitched with Kimberly series is to take an already awesome design and make it your own. I love the simple geometry of this quilt and thought maybe this would be the perfect quilt for my youngest. My youngest is turning 23 this month and is an industrial designer, a year fresh out of college. He's always been my wild card and the one I butt heads with the most because we may actually be too much the same in personality. We use each other constantly to bounce off ideas. Sometimes, I think I learn more from him than he does from me! We sorta keep each other grounded in a way.

I sent him a mock-up of the Blithe quilt design I was playing around with to see what he thought. He really liked the design and said it reminded him of Sergels torg, which is a public square in Stockholm, Sweden.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

My world-traveling son has lived in Sweden for several months on two separate occasions and is very smitten with the country. What a cool way to make a quilt more meaningful than to have it evoke memories of a wonderful trip and place. From this image we found our color inspiration for my version of the Blithe quilt. For an off-white and grey palette I used Art Gallery Fabrics designer Katarina Roccella's Imprint fabrics. Katarina's Imprint fabrics are edgy, modern, and tend to have a more masculine look to them. The quilt design was very cool (literally and figuratively) and needed a little pop of something. I noticed the yellow taxi in the photo and my son told me that although not seen in this image, there are bright yellow planters around the square and that also during the holidays, yellow lights and decorations are installed. Brilliant! Bright, PE-448 Canary Yellow Pure Elements solid was added to the design for our POP!

For my Blithe Quilt I kept the orientation of the A/B/C blocks all the same to mimic the inspiration photo more closely. In the original, you will notice the blocks are flipped for a different overall look to the quilt. I also decided to make the quilt wider than the original design and added another block row to the width to make a 72'' square quilt. The decision to enlarge the quilt on the fly (after I already had the material) meant I had to do some creative piecing to my pieces to finish the quilt top and back to get the amount of material I needed for the larger size.

I can't tell you how many times I have had to piece scraps of fabric together to get a usable patchwork size. Honestly, this practice does not bother me one bit and makes me feel a kinship to past quilt makers that needed to do the very same out of necessity. Even though I knew the pieced sections were there, I had a hard time finding them to take this photograph. No one will even notice if you are hard pressed to do the same! I also needed to piece my backing to get my added width and find I like a pieced backing way better than not. This not only added interest but also economy and I used every last scrap of fabric for this project. 

Fun backing huh? Makes for a nice optional look to the quilt. And yes, you may have noticed the signature on the painting above the sofa. I painted that (a few years back) , it's the Chicago skyline at night and painted for the same son who will receive this quilt for his birthday.

Get the free Blithe quilt pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop and see where the design takes you. Kimberly has a great YouTube video of how to use Triangles on a Roll for making half-square triangles, how to assemble the blocks, and quilt. 

But wait, there's more!

This blog is now sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop and we are teaming up to bring you a chance to win an Art Gallery Fabrics fat quarter bundle giveaway every month! Yes, a bundle of fabulous AGF fabrics every month. 

The beautifully curated By the Lake is a sublime collection of 15 Art Gallery Fabrics prints pulled together by Pat Bravo. A $42.98 value, includes coordinating prints from your favorite AGF designers like Pat Bravo, Katarina Roccella, Bonnie Christine, AGF Studio, and (me) Sharon Holland. 

To Enter:

Giveaway begins Monday, March 7, 2016 and will end on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 4 p.m. EST. 

  • Leave a comment on this blog post anytime between 3/7/16 and 4 p.m. EST 3/14/16 to be entered into drawing

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified via email so be sure to use a valid email address. If I cannot reach the winner within 24 hours I will select an alternate winner. 

Happy sewing!

Sketchbook Blog Tour Day 2

I couldn't be more excited about the Sketchbook Blog Tour week. Today's post by Raedene Averitt from Chasing Mermaids is one of the five reasons why I'm so happy! Yesterday Kara Orr from Sweeter Than It Seams posted about her date night tank and clutch. See the full line-up of five talented bloggers here.


   Sketchbook fabrics outfits made by Chasing Mermaids


Sketchbook fabrics outfits made by Chasing Mermaids

Visit the Chasing Mermaids blog to read more about the patterns and prints used to make these adorable outfits! So cute! Thanks Raedene for being part of the tour :)

In addition to the five ladies posting beautiful Sketchbook fabric projects, I will also be posting each day with either a tutorial or new free project. Today will be a tutorial on how to sew a French Seam. The rest of the week I will have sewing projects that use French seam construction.



I love French Seams. They are as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside. The technique is very simple, but can sometimes be confusing because you begin the French seam by sewing with the WRONG sides together. That's what usually trips people up. Here's how they are made:

1. With raw edges even, sew the WRONG sides together along the side seam line(s) using the seam allowance indicated in the pattern. 


2. Turn pieces RIGHT sides together, press, and stitch deep enough to encase the raw edges inside the new seam or as indicated in the pattern. Note: Some patterns will have you trim the seam(s) before turning, so always read through the instructions before you begin.

3. Turn right side out and VOILA!

Tomorrow we will put this technique to good use and make a pretty pencil case to fit into back-to-school notebooks!

Don't forget to repost your favorite Sketchbook Blog Tour projects on Instagram for a chance to win 10 yards of Sketchbook fabric! To enter, use Instagram and repost a blog tour picture from any of the bloggers on the tour. Be sure to include the hashtag #SketchbookTourGiveaway in your post. The drawing ends Saturday, August 22nd at 9:00 am EDT.

Tomorrow Elizabeth Whiteburst from Cotton Belle Boutique will be posting her Sketchbook fabrics project!