Rhonda and I have been at this now for six months (Woo! Margaritas all around!). We knew at the beginning of our venture into Right Sides Together that we wanted to facilitate an awesome quilting community online. Rather than an all-fabric-all-the-time focus, our blog is a celebration of makers, and we want to provide opportunities for people to support each other in their quilting endeavors. A quilt-along has always been on the top of our list, but we wanted to wait until we found something special that really defined what we’re all about.
Without further adieu, may I present to you the pattern for the 2015 RST Quilt-along: Rachel van Tilborg’s Friendship Bracelets Quilt! Rachel is a talented quilt designer with her own Etsy shop, Not Your Run of the Mill. She’s a 2014 BFA graduate of the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, and we are so excited to support her as a fresh, indie designer. Rachel’s quilt design is perfect for what we want to offer: it’s modern, it’s cool, and it resonates profoundly with our theme of support and camaraderie. We just can’t wait to get our hands on this pattern and see what we (and you) will whip up! Rachel has generously discounted her pattern for QAL participants; save $2 on her Etsy pattern with promo code RSTFRIENDSHIPQAL ($10 after discount).
While we won’t actually start sewing up the bracelets until January, we wanted to give folks plenty of time to sign up, buy the pattern, and shop for fabric. We’re planning the quilt-along for eight months, including backing, quilting, and binding, which means that it won’t involve more than one bracelet a month. We know you’re busy and that you have other projects, so we don’t anticipate this will be a big time commitment — just a lot of fun. We’ll hold the whole thing on Instagram, under #RSTQAL.
Next month, we’ll be announcing more information, including links to some awesome Friendship Bracelet bundles from Tabby Fabric and Studio and a prize package for the rock stars who make it with us to August!
In the meantime, meet our awesome QAL designer Rachel!
What’s your sewing story?
My artistic and quilting practices progressed together. I started sewing at an early age but it was not until I began the BFA program that my quilting practice took off. I would sew in spaces between assignments and semesters; eventually fabric as a medium and the technical skills I gain through making quilts found its way into my assignments.
Where did you find inspiration for your awesome quilt?
I draw often on my early childhood imaginations (or at least what I remember of them now). I used to dig through my mom’s embroidery floss stash and pick out the perfect colors to make friendship bracelets. My selections were somewhat limited, of course, to the floss she was willing to let go of herself. I grew up making friendship bracelets and that instinct to make them found its way into a quilt. The design evolved and expanded with each new friendship braid that I designed. The designs are true to how you would knot a floss bracelet and the process is completely addictive.
What project of yours are you most proud of?
Imaginary Imagined Land has been my most recent passion project, and it was the grad project for my BFA. Drawing on my early childhood imagination, I visualized my blanket as a landscape. As a response to Robert Rauschenberg’s Bed, I treated my own patchwork quilt as a painting. I approached this piece as a traditional patchwork quilt, first by constructing the quilt, but then painting the blocks and folds of the “quiltscape” on the patchwork surface.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out in quilting or sewing, what would it be?
Be fearless in your quilting endeavors! After all, the nature of modern quilting is improvisational, cutting up fabric and wildly or methodically stitching it back together.
Thanks, Rachel! We’re so excited to get this party started in January. If you’d like to participate, please tag us @rightsidestogether on Instagram and make sure to use #RSTQAL. Stay tuned . . .