Are you ready to try something a little bit different? The Jenelle Kent Lakeside Towelling collection of fabrics is the perfect fabric to try. Jenelle shares ideas for using this uniquely textured fabric for a multitude of sewing projects—well beyond tea towels—including quilts.
Jenelle Kent started her fabric design journey with quilting patterns, designing under the name Pieces to Treasure and working with Moda’s towelling fabric. Moda picked up her fabrics to distribute before accepting a design submission for her own line.
Jenelle does her design work in two creative spaces at home, which she says she’s lucky to have.
“In our house I have a small space off the family room with my sewing machine and my computer, where I type most of my patterns,” she says. “And we have my studio in a separate building on our property, from which I run classes and a longarm quilting business.” Jenelle says she does most of her sewing in her studio, but that if she wishes to sew at night, uses her space in the house “so I can have some company and be around the family.”
When pre-production samples arrive at home for Jenelle to review, choose from, and narrow down, work becomes a truly family affair.
“My husband and two adult children get involved in choosing what they do and don’t like,” she says. “I have the final say, but there are plenty of helpers. The cat sits on the strike-offs and if I am trying to photograph a project, both the dog and cat like to get in the way!”
The Jenelle Kent Lakeside Towelling is a collection of six 60-inch wide and 20 18-inch wide towel designs with slub texture stripes. The colours are cool and soft: off white, silver grey, beige, pale aqua, with a dark charcoal for contrast.
“The colour palette appeared one afternoon when I was going for a walk,” says Jenelle. “I rounded the corner from the beach to the lagoon and the colours were right in front of me: the blue of the sky, the black of the wet leaves and twigs on the shore line, the warm flax colour of the sand, the white of the foam on the edge of the water and the silvery grey colour of the water and surrounding tree trunks.”
Working with these colours of nature, she notes that in fabrics she also worked to “bring some texture to the range, as it adds depth and interest to projects and is something we haven’t seen much in the patchwork world.”
If you’re the kind of person who likes to add linen to your quilts and sewing projects, you may find towelling an interesting alternative. If you haven’t used alternative fabrics to quilting cottons before, you can use towelling in place of anything you’d use regular patchwork cottons for.
The towelling fabric “is great to applique on, makes fantastic pillows, bags, table runners and mats and table napkins, but also fabulous in quilts, creating patterns with all the stripes,” notes Jenelle. “The 60-inch wide fabric can also make duvet covers, fringed wide throws, tablecloths and quilt backs.”
Considering playing with the stripes on the towelling? Jenelle’s tip is to think carefully about stripe direction as you cut. The Lazy Days pillows (above) take into consideration the stripe pattern to create the concentric octagon effect when the pieces are cut exactly, so that the stripes line up all the way around the design.
Jenelle says she also uses the stripes to create a couple of different quilt border effects. Cutting along the stripe and mitred at the corner, for example, creates a continuous frame effect, whilst cutting perpendicular through the stripe—remembering to take the seam allowance into consideration—can make a bold stripe effect, as shown above.
Of course, you can mix in quilting cottons too, and Jenelle regularly does just that when making her quilts. “Don’t restrict yourself to thinking that towelling is just for towels,” she notes. “Think of it as another fabric in your stash. The early quilt makers used any fabric they could get to make their quilts: different weights, different textures and different patterns. Towelling provides that variation.”
Jenelle aims to say “look what you can do with this fabric” with her works, and the Lakeside Towelling collection is no exception. We can’t wait to see what you can do with it, too.
Lakeside Towelling by Pieces to Treasure from Moda Fabrics arrives in Canadian stores in the next few weeks! We always encourage you to touch, feel, and experience the fabric you’ll use for your next creative project at your local quilt store. Stay up to date on Jenelle’s sewing activities and view all her patterns over at piecestotreasure.com