It’s taken me thirty years to figure out how to write a “how to” quilt book that launches at the same time as my current line of fabrics so that you, the quilter, can make the exact projects in the book! Kidding aside, how did we do it when everyone knows by the time a book is published and in the hands of the quilters, the fabric used in the projects are long gone...history as they say! Lots of advance planning, hard work and collaboration! And it’s been so worth it. In the following, I’ll share a little behind the scenes info.
Note: I cried just once during the whole process. Flood gates opened late one Saturday night, deadline looming, and while endlessly editing my photos, bleary eyed, I lost an entire group of key images. Computer file organization was my biggest challenge. Happy to report, over a strong cup of jo the next morning, my husband retrieved them as they weren’t really lost—just protested me poking around and they went dark—to some unauthorized sleepover party is how I like to think of it. I don’t think in layers the way my Mac does...we are partners by necessity for the most part. I try not to take it personally. But, oh the joy I had working in my studio with fabric, rotary cutters and my Bernina. Creativity peaks for me during deadlines and in commitment zones. The actual making and designing was the most invigorating and fun part!! It filled my cup and challenged me tremendously. I put the work in. I put the time in. And it feels good.
With the cooperation of the fine people at Robert Kaufman and C&T Publishing, plus significant advancements in digitally printed fabric, I was able to design the fabric early and get small sample yardage in advance (just enough to make 6 quilts with a bit left over for mistakes and trial and error, which of course happens). Working very early on with the art department at Robert Kaufman was key. Ken, Jane and Sarah were supportive 100% of the way and our meetings in LA going over original art, color-way possibilities was just plain fun. We would sit in the studio surrounded by walls of 18x24 full color mock-ups and discuss each in detail: This color is not quite capturing the sunset where the clouds have that pink to greyish hue burst from the cerrulean blue. Or this storm color-way isn’t dark enough- needs to be moodier, etc. This color looks like a tornado is coming!
In the end we made two times the art than what was needed and later reduced the collection to 30 pieces, which is a broad reflection of the SKY in all its glory. Moving on, we set up to have small yardage printed and sent to me 9 months in advance, which is already a very tight schedule! I had to have lots of quilt ideas already in the planning mode, but since I don’t do any computer generated quilt design, my concepts were sketches in my brain and some notes scratched out on paper. Lots of paper pieces shoved in a folder...I prefer to put the time in to the real thing and ideas stew and simmer in the recesses of my brain, or pop up at 3am to ponder and I love that way of working. I surprise myself all the time. Panic too, but I have learned to roll with that. Keeps me awake and fresh.
All this pre-work in itself was a feat that would not have been possible if I didn’t have people helping me once I solidified my ideas, designed my quilt tops and invited sewists, quilters, editors, photographers, prop holders, assistants, friends and family who were all willing and enthusiastic to be a part of the process to help get this book finished on time.
Why did I do this? Because, I LOVE OMBRES. It’s that simple. They offer 1000 colors at your fingertips and they are the perfect tool to play with and expand your understanding of color and value just by the fact they varigate through hue, intensity and value. Finally, they mimic so much diverse beauty in nature and that’s the icing on the cake for me.
I’ve heard so many students and makers over the past 2 years say, “I love ombres but never cut them up!” “They’re too pretty!” “I don’t know what to make with them?” “How should I cut them?” “I think I like ombres...what are they again?” There wasn’t a book on the market that talked about how to use them in depth. We see the trend in other industries as well as some very pretty finished quilts and I wanted to respond to this trend in my own unique way. I wanted to design a fabric line inspired by the skies above, hence the collection name SKY with Robert Kaufman. I was so totally excited with the outcome that one or two quilt patterns wouldn’t suffice, but an entire book would! I thought it was time we dug a little deeper as a collective of curious and talented quilters. I wanted to add more good work, ideas and learning concepts for makers and other teachers. I wanted to offer ombres that were different from those out there, yet in a collaborative spirit that supports all the ombres that came before mine and will come after too. Because they are simply so inspiring to look at and cut up...and sew back together.
I hope to light your ombre fire, dig into these beauties, Follow my instagram stories and posts to see the latest up to date. Sign up for my YOUTUBE or C&T Publishing YOUTUBE for how to use ombres, tips and tricks, and please subscribe to my blog at jennifersampou.com.
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ENTER INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY!
Make sure to check out C&T Publishing's Instagram account this weekend (@ctpublishing) to enter Jennifer Sampou's Ombre Quilts Giveaway
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