News + Finish {Sunday Best}

It has been a busy 30 days or so but for super exciting reasons. First off, I did my first quilting webinar last night. It was about the skill I learned this year – hand piecing (hand stitching blocks). If  you are an MQG member you can check it out here. I had a lot of fun doing it.


Also, I published my first Article for the MQG “Inspirational Sources for Quilt Designs”. If you are an MQG member you can read it here.

Best of all, I also have a finish in time for Quiltcon submissions – Sunday Best.   It took me forever to start quilting this one, as I just was not inspired by anything. Finally, I had an idea on how to quilt the orange peel block….and the long quilting journal began. I used a domestic sewing machine and walking foot for all the quilting.

My goal for quilting, was to add interest, while ensuring it complemented the top and did not distract the viewer. For the stripes up the top of the quilt I used straight lines with varying widths from matchstick quilting to 1/2″.

I decided to choose two different designs for each of the main triangle patterns. The design above on the left (with nested triangles) I used for all of these triangles in this section. For the next set of triangles, featured below, I used a sectional design like slices of an orange. It makes this cool pyramid effect.

For the black and white sections of the quilt, it reminded me of a checker’s board so I used a 1″ grid design.


With using the matchstick quilting at the top, I felt that I needed to balance the dense quilting somewhere else. I decided to use it in this block, the background fabrics, that reminded me of a seed pod.


And yes, all those thread ends, did need burying. It took around 9 hours for this task but I did it over 3 sessions. For those that are interested in how to bury threads, I learned from this tutorial from @ crazy mom quilts.

I finished off the quilting with 1/2″ black and white binding. I can’t tell you how in love I am with this quilt.



Name: Sunday Best
Original Design – Improvisation
Fabric: Various Solid from my scrap bins, Black and white stripes
Backing: Lecien Fabrics (Black and white), scraps from the front
Binding: B+W Striped Binding (1/2″ white stripe)
Dimensions: 46 x 53″
Quilted: Various designs, domestic sewing machine with a walking foot. Used Aurifil #4658 and #4060 wt. 50

Just in case, you can find the design decisions and the information about the top, in this post.

Grey: Guest Posts {Nydia Kehnle + Nicole Daksiewicz}

This month’s color is Grey. We have two amazing guests this month. I am so excited for you to read their posts.

First up, is Nydia Kehnle. I met Nydia during Quiltcon 2015 and have always loved her work. Her improvisation quilt that included both machine quilting and hand quilting, won an award that year.  She is an amazing designer, and photographer. I have been so excited to see her quilt pattern/design collaboration with Alison Glass, her releases of embroidery designs and experimentation with improvisation. Recently, she has been teaching some of her techniques at Glamp Stitchalot and next year at Quiltcon. Check out her thoughts on photography and how it influences her use of Grey.

Instagram: @nydiak

Nicole, from Modern Handcraft, was one of the first people I met in this virtual crafting world. If you don’t know her, she has a great sense for modern design and craft beers/ciders. You might know her from her Hexie projects but she has recently been releasing some amazing new quilt patterns. Grey is one of her favorite neutrals. Find out how she uses grey in her projects and in naming her son ;-).

Blog: @modernhandcraft


Aqua + Teal: A Colour Blog Series

I love using aqua and teal in quilts, though aqua tends to be more common. There is so much variation in fabrics on the market today with these particular colors. I use them  often to add a pop of color, as a great intermediate color or to add more depth to a blue color palette.

Aqua + Teal with Blue

This quilt, that I recently finished for my son, is an example of adding a little more depth and variation to this very blue color palette. The use of teal and aqua helps the eye to continue to move over the quilt.


Aqua + Teal as a focal point

I used aqua with these improv. blocks originally just as a filler. As the blocks came together the aqua provided a focal point and pulls the viewer in.


Likewise, with this warm color palette the aqua stripes provide a focal point for the eye to rest within strong and busy prints.


Aqua + Teal balancing color

I use aqua and teal as a balancing color a lot. This first quilt, Moorish Pyramids, is made using Imprint line from Katarina Roccella. I love this line and for this quilt I was using the greys, whites and navy as neutrals.  The aqua and mustard provide the focus and balance for this quilt.


Another line from Katarina, Wonderland, is such a great girls line. As I was playing with the pinks and browns, I realized I needed something to balance this warm palette. The aqua print was perfect for adding the balance. And who would not like those great girl characters in this print.


The aqua and teal within Jungle Ave Tapa, provides a balance to the hot pink and the starkness of the white, without taking over the other colors. IMG_0406

Lastly, the aqua and teal in Phased Circles quilt, is a great intermediate color that worked alongside of the 3 warm colors; mustard, orange and hot pink. I do not think the blue or green would work as well with these. PhasedCirclesComplete

Aqua and Teal for Christmas

I like to use aqua, red and grey as an alternative to the traditional green and red palette for Christmas.  It’s one of my favorite combinations and used here for my Christmas Stocking.

Winner – Giveaway

The winner for this month, the $50 Fat Quarter Shop Gift Card and Fabric Bundle of Katarina Roccella’s Art Gallery Prints is Cathy W. Congratulations!! I will email you shortly for your details.

Aqua + Teal: Guest Post {Katarina Roccella} + Giveaway

This month is focused on Aqua and Teal. The fabulous Katarina Roccella, does an amazing job introducing the color for this month over on her blog today. She has used various shades of aqua/teal in each of her fabric collections. Her collections also have great complementary color palettes.

Left – Right: 1+2. Avant Garde; 3+4. Imprint; 5+6. Lavish.


To say thank you to all of you for following along on the color blog series, the above bundle of Katarina Roccella’s fabrics (provided by Art Gallery Fabrics) is up for grabs + a $50 gift card from Fat Quarter Shop.

All you need to do is leave a comment below on your favorite color and how you want to use it. I will post a winner October 30th at 6pm, along with my post for Aqua + Teal.

What Shade Are You: Rails {a finish}

REPOSTING from RJR Fabrics “What Shade are You” Blog post today.

Today, on “What Shade are You” I would like to share with you on my design journey and inspiration for my quilt “Rails”.


I am Michelle Wilkie. I can be found on Instagram @ml_wilkie, or on my blog Factotum of Arts.

I was so excited to be participating in What Shade are you, and when I received my bundle in the mail a multitude of ideas came to mind. The colors are so vibrant.

My original bundle, had a couple additional colors but the final fabrics I chose were:

Cotton Supreme Solids:
Optical White
Turks & Caicos
Electric Blue
Sunny Delight
Tangerine Dream
Chilli Pepper
Shell pink
Raging Ruby

Additionally, I used some C+S fabrics to add some interest within the solids:
Sprinkle in Corduroy
Dottie in Fedora
Dottie Cousins in Natural

I get inspired all the time from the world around us. For this quilt, it was no different. My husband is from Mannheim Germany, where we both lived for a few years before moving to the US. My inspiration for this quilt came from the Neustheim Train Junction.


The lines fascinated me. I loved the idea of using improvisation strip piecing to try and mimic these strong direction lines. It was an interesting experience bending the fabric to make the gentle curves. Some tips:

  1. I started this quilt at one end and added in one direction, using strips to mark out where I was adding curves that would intersect with other lines.
  2. Use a lot of starch to get the pieces to lay flat and press often.
  3. Make sure you trim your threads and additional fabric as you go, especially when using white.
  4. Lastly, I glue basted this quilt while it was on my design wall. I pressed each layer to fix it to the one beneath. This technique was important as it helped the top to adhere flat to the bottom layers and hold in place as it stretched out some of the puffy areas.

Here’s a close-up of the quilt top. The predominant colors are blues, yellows and white, however as I stepped back with each addition, I decided to add pops of colors. This adds balance and richness to this quilt that helped also break up the stark bands of color. You can see the use of red, purple, pinks, and orange.


For the quilting, I used Aurifil 2410, 2021, 2120, and 2783. I used irregular-spaced wavy lines that flowed with the fabric strips, to complement the colors and design of the quilt. In the binding, I also added some interest and continued the flow of color by inserting a piece of C+S print and a small blue strip to my white binding.


This was so much fun to play with such vibrant colors. I loved the overall finish that the Cotton Supreme Solids provided. Thanks to RJR fabrics for the opportunity and to you for stopping by.

Stop by my RJRFabrics and ml_wilkie (on Instagram) for a giveaway later today.

Mad Dash {Pattern Release}

Today I am releasing my Mad Dash Quilt Pattern. It is now available in my payhip and craftsy shops.


Over some time, I had started to collect a significant amount of scrap and panels of Maze and Vale low volume, hand printed fabrics. Saving them for the perfect quilt. After playing around with dashes, inspired by the lines in a text document, I came up with this design.


In my head, I could envision the recently released Art Gallery Fabrics soft Denim for the dashes, and the Maze and Vale prints for the backgrounds.


I love how this quilt turned out. I have two layers of batting and denim on the back as this is now our picnic blanket.mad-dash-back
The pattern includes 3 alternative sizes. The pattern testers did an amazing job. I love their choices.

Photo Credits to each of the testers:
1. Debbie's Pillow (IG: @aquilterstable); 
2. Katherine's Lizzie House quilt (IG: @katgraycraft);
3. Jacqueline's quilt using solids (IG: @jskarritt); 
4. Molly's in a great woodsy palette (IG: @lane33andhalf)


Name: Mad Dash
Original Design (Payhip or Craftsy)
Fabric: AGF Denim Studio, Maze and Vale Low Volumes
Backing: AGF Denim Studio
Binding: AGF Textured Denim
Dimensions: 60 x 60″
Quilted: Sarah @ Crinkle Love

I would love to see any makes with the pattern. Tag me on Instagram (@ml_wilkie) or use the hashtag #maddashquilt

Black + White: A Colour Blog Series

This month past month (September), Christa (@christaquilts) showed some amazing examples of her use of black and white. To close out September, here are some of the projects I have used black and white.

Making a Statement with Stark Contrasts

I love the use of black and white as a statement. These first two examples are using the whole quilt as a statement. Both the back and front of a quilt,  used to show contrast/differences.

Phased Circles

This quilt was designed using all Carolyn Friedlander prints (Botanics and Architexture). The front of this quilt plays with color and saturation.


The back though, I wanted to show take out the play of color completely from the quilt. I used black, grey and white on the back for a stark comparison.
Phased Circles Block1 Quilted Back

Sunday Best

Sunday Best quilt is an experiment of using scrap solids, almost blindly, in this improv project.

The introduction of the black and white into the front of this quilt, had a lot of meaning. I added the pieced B&W pieces the week I was feeling down and processing some very sad feelings. I did not feel like color.

Once I added these sections I liked the look of them, and decided to also add some stripey B&W fabric as filler and to help balance the small B&W inserts.


For the back of this quilt, I made the decision again to add that stark difference between color and non-color by adding very graphical B&W prints with the various B&W stripes. I used some of the left over string/strip pieces blocks from the front to add those pop of colors and tie the two sides together.


Making a Statement with Pops of Color

The other way I use B&W, is with quilts that are predominantly neutral but then a pop of color adds interest and somewhere for the eye to settle on.

Cheri D’Amour

One of my favorite quilts is Cheri D’Amour. This is made with Frances Newcombe’s Cherie fabric line. The play with the B&W fabrics highlights dark vs light, also brings the industrial feel / structured feel to the quilt.This industrial look is important as it was inspired by a building/warehouse. The pops of pink and blue, I feel, brings so much to this quilt to bring a focal point into the quilt.

Cheri DAmour

Scrappy Pin Cushion

This pin cushion is another example of adding interest with a pop of color. Using the B&W scrap pack from Umbrella Prints with the lime green print of Alison Glass Handmade adds interest to this simple pin cushion and provides that place for the eye to focus on.B&WPinCushionPleatedPocket

Making a Statement with Monotone Quilts

Lastly, the use of graduating non-colors – Black, White and Grey, are one of my favorite things to experiment with. It is very easy to show how color gradients show movement or to play with saturation levels (high vs. low).

Lunar Lines

Lunar Lines is playing with both of these, gradients and saturation’s. I loved playing with various prints from my stash for this quilt. I believe that prints can be used in a modern quilt, and this limited palette helps keep that modern aesthetic.

Tip: When playing with saturation and/or gradients use black and white photographs (using digital filters) to play with placements and see of it reads the way you think it reads. I used this technique in this quilt and it helped a lot.

patchwork projects shot in the studio

Photo Credit: Love Patchwork and Quilting

Negative Crosswalks

The last project I have to share, is one that highlights minimalism. I loved the idea of a crosswalk in which I inverted like a photo negative (the old photographs, before digital). I keep the palette simple, Black, White and Greys in line with the minimal design. Again, I played with the gradient possibilities in this solids only quilt. I do not think that if this was in other colors it would look as simple, minimal as it does in B&W.


Getting started with Black and White: Fabric Lines

First off, it’s not hard to find black and white prints but it is important to note that there are underlying tonal colors that impact how black and grey’s play with each other. The blacks/greys tend to be in a blue or a brown family. It is not easy to recognize when purchasing fabric, you will need to place them side by side, and assess, and remove them if they don’t fit.

Where to start from fabric selections….

Solids: My favorite  solid line for B&W (and Grey) is based on the variety of selections at the moment: Robert Kaufman Kona Solids. Take a look at Pepper, a blue black….amazing!! I bought a bolt.

B&W Fabric Lines, some of my favorites include:


Anyway, that catches us up on the Colour Blog Series. Next week, I will post the October Color and a giveaway for all. Stay tuned.