Friday, August 17, 2018

In the Shadow of the Plus

Who could use a little more positivity in their life? And when it's in the form of a quilt you can make using our favorite solids? Sign us up! 

Sandra Walker (@mmmquilts) designed "In the Shadow of the Plus," a plus quilt full of shadowed illusions, for the September/October 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. The fabrics she chose? Two cool blues and a subtle silver and white from our Painter's Palette Solids collection. Sandra shares more about her design below.
"In the Shadow of the Plus" designed and quilted by Sandra Walker;
featured in Modern Patchwork September/October 2018

Q. How did you come up with this design?
SW: I ran a design challenge on Instagram this spring (#30quiltdesignschallenge2018), encouraging quilters to design quilts. I drew this block during that time. The idea goes back to a Judy Martin block that is a shadowed star—I thought I could shadow a plus sign since it’s a fairly simple block.

Q. Tell us about the secondary design.
SW: There’s larger plus in the background of the shadowed plusses. You might not notice it right away.

Q. How did you choose your palette?
SW: When I transferred the design into EQ8, I chose my favorite color—blue—just to get started. I liked it so much that I stuck with it.

Q. Why did you choose to use Painter’s Palette Solids?
SW: I thought solids would help emphasize the 3-D effect that I was looking for. I love these solids! I can’t get over the smoothness of them. They’re saturated, they don’t fray as much, and they’re just lovely. I wanted to use them in this quilt. I used #121-109 Aquarius for the lighter blue, #121-038 China Blue for the darker blue, #121-010 Silver for the background plus, and #121-000 White for the background.

Q. What do you like best about this quilt?
SW: A few things! I’m really happy with how the quilting turned out, and the way it pulls your eye across the quilt. I also think the quilt has a pretty good 3-D effect, and the illusion of dimension has always fascinated me. I also like the surprise of the large gray plus—you don’t necessarily notice it right away.

Q. Can you tell us about how you machine quilted this?
SW: The background was easy—I wanted to flatten it, so I did vertical lines on the gray and horizontal water ripples on the white. I knew I wanted something to stand out in the plusses, and I love all the detail. I did a stippled in the darker blue shadows to set them apart but help them fade into the background.
A close-up of the quilting in progress on Sandra's longarm

See our entire collection of 168 Painter's Palette Solids here and ask for them at your local quilt shop.
Visit Sandra's blog here and find her on IG.
Find the September/October issue of Modern Patchwork here.


  1. Gorgeous quilt and so fun to hear Sandra's thought process as she made the quilt. Love the darker gray plus in the center - which, like she said, I didn't even notice until she mentioned it. Really nice effect!!

    1. Same with us--your eye gets so caught up in admiring the blue plus signs!

  2. What a beautiful quilt. Until I read about the background plus sign, I didn't see it right away. I haven't yet used Paintbrush Studios solids but would like to give them a try.

    1. We hope you'll enjoy them when you try them, Rochelle!

  3. The quilting on this one is beautiful! I, too, didn't see the hidden plus until it was pointed out.

  4. Really a pretty quilt. Love the quilting!

  5. I was so surprised to read about the background/secondary plus sign, as I hadn't noticed it at all until Sandra mentioned it. Sure enough, it is easy to see now that I know it's there! ~smile~ Roseanne