Thursday, 18 August 2016

New York Beauty Brigade Quilt

Welcome to my New York Beauty Showstopper! 

This was the design brief I had from my lovely editor Jen when I discussed making a quilt with Jennifer Paganelli's sumptuous new line 'Color Brigade' (I know, it's an American name so it has American spelling, just grit your teeth and let it go).

I have a great relationship with Jennifer Paganelli, I adore her fabric and she loves my quilts! So she always sends me her new fabric lines (you should see the next one, OMG, it's even better than this!) and I really love creating with them.

Unfortunately I won't be stocking Color Brigade in our shop (but hopefully the next one if the new UK distributors get their act together!), it's actually quite hard to get in the UK but I have discovered this lovely online shop Sugar Bowl Crafts that are selling it! 

Plus I will be giving away a bundle of my left-over fabric at the weekend!

Jen asked for a Showstopper because it would be going in the magazine issue that comes out for Festival of Quilts and she wanted something eye catching for the cover and the stand at the show. 

So no pressure then!

Here it is on the cover of the latest issue which is out today. 

This issue comes with a really good supplement all about sashiko by Susan Briscoe, which is almost a book in itself! Plus an absolutely gorgeous Oakshott Lipari quilt by Lynne Goldsworthy and great articles about Jen Kingwell and feedsack fabrics. It's such a great mag, check out subscription deals here (5 issues for £5!).

I absolutely love any quilt pattern with spikes and curves and New York Beauty has been a favourite of mine since I first saw it 20 odd years ago, in fact I have a mini quilt hanging in my studio that I made back in 1995 (when I was sensible enough to label all my quilts!).

But this mini was an improv, free-hand NYB, and in fact I realised when I planned this quilt that I had never actually made a 'proper' NYB quilt but had always subverted the design a little (and never made a whole quilt!).

So for this quilt I used the simplest quarter block I could find (with the fewest spikes you can get away with), not just for myself but for everyone who makes it from the pattern!

The spiky collars need to be FPP'd and they are time consuming. But they are not hard, you just have to put the hours in!

I used my EQ7 software to play around with the blocks, rotating them every which way until I had the design right (that was the fun bit). 

The curve piecing is the tricky bit but it just requires a little practice, and though I don't usually use them (mainly because I have had A LOT of curve piece practice), pinning really does help here.

The fabric was so beautiful and rich, with lots of dark and and light contrast that all I needed to add was a little neutral fabric for the spikes, to help them stand out and give a little space. I used Kona Natural for this. It may look fairly random but I did play around with the contrast to get the most movement out of the design, so there was a lot of standing and staring at my design wall!!

The quilt was so busy already that I decided to go for an overall FMQ pattern that would blend in nicely and chose this simplified version of a Paisley design I had first used on my Modern Medallion Quilt. It's quilted with Aurifil 50 in a golden yellow shade on my trusty domestic Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 (people are always asking if I have a long-arm!).

I went for quite a plain background, it's a Carolyn Friedlander crosshatch from Architexture.

Here is the quilt on the FOQ stand last week. Love how they've piled all these beauties on to one bed. The gorgeous pink and grey quilt is by one of our Stitch Gathering tutors, Julie (Forest Poppy) and was on the cover of Love Patchwork and Quilting recently (the mags shared a stand).

It certainly drew a few 'oohs' and 'ahhs' so I am hoping it was showstopping enough!

When I finished it back in May I had a very limited time to take a photo before it got sent off (bumping against the deadline as always!) and the sun was full on to our flat photography area. Which means you get to see the lovely crinckly texture but the colours look a little washed out which is a shame.
 (edit: quilt came back today and I got a new flat shot which I've inserted at the top of the post!)

Hopefully I can get some more shots when the quilt returns to me soon!

Look out for the Color Brigade giveaway coming very soon!


  1. It is certainly a showstopper, Jo!! I love a good NYB but am pretty certain I've not the staying power for a whole quilt (in fact, the way I'm feeling this year I may never make another quilt - but that's a story for another day) I especially love that fabric with the grid pattern, it adds such lovely pops of colour and pattern!

  2. So beautiful! Its a masterpiece Jo! Hope to see you and it on my next trip to Scotland

  3. Gorgeous - drop dead beautiful!!!

  4. Oh Jo - I love love LOVE this! I haven't even finished my 1/4 NYB but I really need to dig it out!!!

  5. This is absolutely beautiful, very showstopping, especially because we all know how much work goes into those points, and you made a lot of them.

  6. Just gorgeous! You've reignited my desire to do a NYB - one of my all time favourite designs that I've never made!

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