This week we want to introduce you to our friend and quilt pattern designer Sylvia Schaefer of @flyingparrotquilts. Sylvia has designed for us before and we are delighted that she is back with a brand new and stunning design for the 2022 Quilter’s Planner!
We caught up with Sylvia to ask her some questions and find out more about her gorgeous Science Baby! quilt design.
Thank you so much for designing such a beautiful project for our 2022 Quilter’s Planner! Why did you decide to make this, and can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?
In discussions about a potential Quilter’s Planner project, the idea of a science-themed baby quilt was brought up, and, as a former scientist, I was delighted by that idea! My initial inspiration was the fact that little children are natural scientists, exploring the world around them. I wanted to include encouragement to continue asking questions, and it seemed natural to include stars, which still leave many of us grownups looking up in wonder.
In the interest of upping the science content of the design, the arrangement and colors of the stars actually reflects a serious and important scientific principle: the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. This astronomical graph describes how the color of stars changes with their temperature and brightness. Imagine temperature increasing from the bottom to the top of the quilt and brightness decreasing from left to right. This shows you that bright, hot stars are white or even blue in color; cool, dim stars are reddish. Our sun—which you already know to be a yellow star from all the times you’ve chosen a color to draw it—is about in the middle!
Tell us a little about the fabrics you worked with for your project.
I worked mostly in solids for the stars so they’d really pop, but I thought a celestial-themed background fabric would be a nice touch, so I used Moon And Stars in Navy from Andover Fabrics.
How do you go about designing quilts and projects? What is your design process?
I don’t have one design process that’s applicable to every project, but in general if I’m in the mood for a new quilt, I like to start with traditional quilt blocks and then play around with incorporating negative space in order to turn them into a modern quilt. In fact, my book, “The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook,” is about exactly this process and the design techniques you can use to do it!
What type of fabrics are you drawn to? Would you say you have a distinctive style?
I prefer solids and tone-on-tone or blender-y prints that read as solids from a distance, since I really enjoy making the colors part of my designs. I’m occasionally seduced by a bold print, but it usually ends up in something like a pouch or wallet instead.
Tell us a bit about your sewing space. Do you have a dedicated space or are you making space on the kitchen table?
I’m fortunate to have the bonus room above the garage for my sewing space at the moment. At some point we hope to finish our basement so that I can move down there, but that feels like a pretty overwhelming task!
What techniques do you really enjoy?
Paper piecing is my very favorite quilting technique. I love the puzzle of figuring out how to turn something into a paper piecing pattern, and the precision that it affords me. I rarely do appliqué, but making my Quilter’s Planner project reminded me of how enjoyable that can be.
What is your favorite feature of the Quilter’s Planner?
I like that I can choose how my weekly pages will look. I often don’t have lots of things to schedule for specific time slots, so it’s nice to be able to choose the dot grid and take more of a bullet journal/to-do list approach.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Aside from my sewing machine, I guess it would have to be my flute. Making music with friends is one of the great joys of my life.
What do you want to do more of in 2022? We’d love to know!
After more than a year of social distancing, I am really hoping to do just about anything out and about again, and in particular to go to a quilt show again. However, I’m finding myself a bit emotionally unprepared for how full of people the world is, so I may have to take it slow.
Thank you for sharing so much with us Sylvia!
Find out more about Sylvia on her website and follow her on Instagram @flyingparrotquilts.