Free quilt pattern: Luster Spectrum

June 21, 2022


APQS dealer Julia Graves is a quilter, teacher and artist, and owner of Special Occasion Quilts in Leesburg, Virginia. She designed this month’s free pattern, Luster Spectrum, using Electric Quilt.

Using strip sets for fast piecing, you can create a quilt that looks like the light is moving across it with a careful arrangement of fabrics from light to dark. By choosing six values of a single color, you get a wonderful monochromatic look.

“To achieve the sense of light moving across the quilt, it is very important to have a large value range with the six fabrics from very light to very dark with a smooth transition in between,” Julia said. The design looks great in tone-on-tones that have a fairly consistent value within the fabric.

Luster Spectrum can also be used with precut 2-1/2″-wide strips or as a great stash buster. This version’s rows alternate between blocks of warm colors (orange, yellow, red, and pink) and cool colors (blue, green, turquoise, and purple).

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Because the scrappy design has fabrics made of busier prints, Julia chose a simpler quilting design to complement it. She stitched a simple wavy line quilting across the quilt top.

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As a long-arm quilter for herself and others, Julia has quilted hundreds of quilts.

“My first APQS machine was a 2004 millennium that I got used in 2007,” she said. She has since upgraded several times.

“When I first started my quilting business, my plan was to rent out my machine,” Julia said. “Many of my renters then went on to purchase their own machine, so I decided I should become a dealer. I’ve been a dealer for more than 10 years and have really enjoyed matching people up to the best model for their situation and teaching them how to use their machine with the free APQS beginner class.”

Julia’s favorite feature on her APQS machine is the Bliss track system—a system of specially designed horizontal wheels on the sewing head and roller bearings on the table rails that provides smooth, easy movement.

“Even though I had been long-arming for years when I got it, my quilting improved overnight,” Julia said. “It’s so much easier to quilt diagonal lines and smooth curves with Bliss.” (The Bliss Track system is available on new machines or as a system upgrade for existing APQS owners.)

Julia teaches a wide range of free-motion machine quilting classes and piecing classes, both in-person and on Zoom. For more information, visit the Special Occasion Quilts website, online shop, Facebook page or Instagram.