We have tremendous respect for Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl. She contributes so much to the beauty of the modern quilt world while also offering carefully constructed, impeccably designed patterns. Her background as an aerospace engineer beautifully informs her approach, which often follows a path of form and function. Her patterns are wonderfully versatile, often weaving between geometric precision and the organic meanderings of free motion quilted or thread painted motifs. We love seeing Yvonne’s pattern releases and are even more excited when she agrees to take a moment with us, to share her thoughts, work through her process, and drop some serious tips along the way.
Today, we’re honored to help Yvonne introduce her latest pattern release– actually a trio– Night Garden, Space Arcade, and Congruence. Yvonne walks us through creating a quilting plan for one of her quilts. For more detail on the patterns themselves, click on the button below.
In late November, 2021, I set aside time to let myself play with quilt designs based around curved piecing. It was a gloriously productive few days, and I’m still working through those ideas to turn the sketches into realistic versions that can be pieced, writing the patterns, and making the quilts.
Night Garden was one of the November 2021 design sketches that I loved and wanted to bring to life. In April of 2022, my sister- and brother-in-law mentioned that the bed quilt I had made for them years ago was starting to look a little worse for the wear. In complete honesty, I thought they would use the quilt I had gifted them as a throw quilt and I’m so honored they used a twin-size quilt on their bed for so many years; quilts are meant to be used and loved to the point they become threadbare. Excited by the prospect of making them a new (and properly sized) bed quilt, I got some input from them on color choices and perused my design sketches.
Something magical happened when I expanded out the Night Garden design to become a 90″ x 100″ queen size quilt. Thankfully, my sister- and brother-in-law were just as excited by the design as I was, and they chose the dark blue background two color version (Kona Cotton in Royal and Oyster). And even better, they were patient enough to let me work on the quilt in my own good time.
In January of 2023, I had written the pattern and I had all the fabric and thread I needed on hand; it was time to get started piecing. Because the majority of the pattern is the lovely, rich Kona Royal blue, I used color matched 50wt Aurifil 2740 (Dark Cobalt) to piece the quilt top.
Photographing a 90″ wide by 100″ long queen size quilt is not an easy task! In the end, I used my husband’s mobile gantry, and with a large A frame ladder and with super strong magnets, I was able to secure the quilt to the frame.
One of the things that excites me the most about quilting right now is designing ways to use the leftover scraps from a quilt. The queen size Night Garden quilt is large enough that I came up with TWO bonus quilt designs to use up the scraps. The first bonus quilt, Space Arcade, can be made from the scraps from making either the throw or queen size version of Night Garden paired with an additional background fabric. And you can probably spy the matching 50wt Aurifil thread I used for the piecing in the photo above: 2805 (Light Grey Turquoise).
When it came time to quilt Space Arcade, I didn’t have much 2805 left, but I had a fairly full large spool of 50wt 1320 (Bright Teal). In the photo above, you can see how the 1320 stitched out across the background (FreeSpirit Designer Essentials in Cerulean). I also used 50wt Aurifil 2740 (Dark Cobalt) to match the Kona Royal piecing and 50wt Aurifil 2000 (Light Sand) to match the Kona Oyster piecing.
The pattern instruction to “quilt as desired” can leave a lot of us feeling stumped, especially when we are working with a quilt that has a lot of negative space (like the quilts I love to design and make). In my quilt patterns, I include details and templates that I use to create my quilting plans, but I base my quilting plans and decisions on my unique set of quilting skills and tools. Clearly, I cannot recommend Aurifil thread enough to help piece, quilt, and finish your quilts. But let’s pause for a second and think about what is in YOUR quilting toolbox.
Before I begin developing a quilting plan, there are always a few questions I use to check in to help me make choices. Below is a list of questions for you to consider so that you know what quilting motifs and styles you want to make available for any upcoming quilting plan:
- Will this be quilted on a domestic or midarm machine (stationary needle) or on a longarm?
- What tools are available with the machine you will be using (computerized, rulers, templates, marking devices) and how confident are you in using these tools?
- For instance, I have a wide variety of marking tools available to use, but I am the most confident and happy using my Hera marker. Everyone will have different preferences! (Tips for Using a Hera Marker)
- What thread color and weights are readily available to me and what would you like to use for this quilt?
- When you think of quilting that inspires you, what style of quilting (walking foot / straight line, free motion, or a combination of the two) draws you in?
- When you are having the most fun quilting, what style of quilting (walking foot / straight line, free motion, or a combination of the two) are you doing?
- When you look back at previous quilts you have finished, which quilting are you the proudest of and what techniques did you use for those quilts?
- How much time do you have to devote to this quilting?
- What is the end use of this quilt (baby quilt, wedding gift, show quilt, etc.)?
This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you a starting place for considering what inspires you when you see it in other quilts and what brings you pride and joy in your own work. Any time I find that I am struggling with a quilting plan, coming back to my answers to these questions really helps focus my attention on the positives and that will often help get me out of feeling stuck or uninspired. You can read all about how I worked through the quilting plan details for Space Arcade on my website via the button below.
I also really like having a few mini quilt samples around that incorporate my favorite free motion quilting motifs that I feel confident in, like my Sunset Mini quilt. One of the great things about the Sunset Mini Quilt is that it uses high contrast thread in some sections. Samples and mini quilts like this are a great place for low-risk exploration to try out different thread weights or contrasting thread colors so you will have a much better idea and confidence of when you want to use those in larger projects.
Which leads me to the second bonus quilt made using the queen size Night Garden scraps, Congruence. I paired the Kona Oyster scraps with Kona Enchanted for the background and used 50wt Aurifil 4093 (Jade) for the piecing and quilting. The quilting plan for Congruence changed out of necessity: in late May I tested positive for COVID and it took me many weeks to regain enough strength and to recover enough from the intense vertigo I suffered to be able to sit at my machine to finish Congruence.
You can read about the evolution of my quilting plan ideas for Congruence here:
The Night Arcade pattern (which includes instructions for the Space Arcade bonus quilt and Congruence bonus quilt) is now available. And if you would prefer to only make one of the bonus quilts, the stand-alone patterns for Space Arcade and Congruence are also available in the Quilting Jetgirl pattern shop via the button below. The patterns are on sale for $2 off through Sunday, June 25th. You may also want to grab some Aurifil 50wt via Shop Aurifil!
I hope that this post helps inspire you to try something new: whether it’s experimenting with a new Aurifil thread weight, developing a quilting plan for a quilt with a lot of negative space, sewing curves, or putting the scraps from your last quilt project to use in something right away. Happy quilting!
Yvonne is a former aerospace engineer turned modern quilter, designer, and technical editor. She was introduced to quilting by her paternal grandmother in high school when her grandmother offered to hand quilt a twin-size quilt to use in her college dorm room if Yvonne made the quilt top. Now, over 25 years later, Yvonne has developed a style that bridges her technical background and love of bold color, specializing in curves, transparency color play, and bold, geometric designs. Yvonne’s quilts have been featured in numerous national and international magazines, quilt shows, and books.