Here’s our latest excerpt from Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making, an all-inclusive guide compiled by Susanne Woods, founder and publisher at Lucky Spool Media. Through the book’s 10 workshop chapters, expert quilters teach you modern quilt-making design principles, providing support as you practice a variety of quilting techniques and concepts. This informative guide also includes 16 new quilt patterns.

Susanne and Lucky Spool share excerpts from the Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making in a weekly series at Sew Mama Sew.

Chapter Eight is from Heather Jones who took the modern quilt making community by storm after three separate original designs won the national Project Modern competition in 2012. She is well known for creating works focusing on large scale piecing and solids. She is currently working on her first book as well as recently becoming a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made awards.

Learn more about the book and check out previous excerpts in the following posts:

Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making brings an authoritative voice from modern quilting leaders, putting their expertise in your hands for access and success any time!

Goals of the Workshop: Large-Scale Piecing

After exploring the best way to incorporate the tiniest pieces of fabric in your work through the process of paper piecing, Heather offers tips from the other side of the cutting table– working with large-scale piecing. Creating designs using large cuts of fabric presents its own challenges, so here Heather shares some tips to help select, cut, construct and set up the ideal sewing space to accommodate this type of piecing.

Fabric Selection
I am a huge fan of solid colored fabrics and advise my students to begin with solids when first trying large-scale piecing. This form of piecing simplifies the overall composition of a quilt, and the use of solid fabrics can reinforce that simplicity and sophistication. Solids feel painterly to me since they provide large areas of pure color in a quilt, and I feel like I have more control of the overall design when I use solids. With solids, you can choose the exact shade of blue to use with the exact shade of white.

That being said, there are many gorgeous printed fabrics commercially available, and I absolutely feel that they can be used successfully in large-scale piecing as well. In my large-scale piecing, I find that prints work best in small amounts, so I prefer to use them sparingly.

My Gelassenheit quilt (above) is a great example of how a little print can go a long way. By using a small amount of printed fabric, in such a focused manner, the print really pops against the solid colors in the background.

Good Construction
When working with large-scale piecing, mistakes aren’t easily hidden since the overall composition is often simplified. Any inaccurate piecing or unmatched points will be that much more noticeable. Maintain that 1/4″ seam allowance at all times and be sure your machine is properly adjusted to provide smooth tension.

Creating Your Work Area
It’s also important to have a large workspace and cutting area. Because many pattern pieces you will be working with are so much larger than traditional patchwork pieces, it really helps to have the space to achieve accurate cuts. A large cutting area and mat also are useful when cutting fabrics along the length. This way, the yardage can be folded over on top of itself to reduce the length of your cuts. Because you will be cutting through many layers of fabrics, having the room to be able to keep the fabric folded over itself as accurately and smoothly as possible is ideal.

Heather offers more tips in the book as well as project instructions for her over-sized Churn Dash quilt.

Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making compiled by Susanne Woods (192 pages, $28.95, published in 2014 by Lucky Spool Media, LLC) has more of this, and other great workshops.