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Category Archives: The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey

Interview with Jessica Skultety – Modern Quilt Instructor at the Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey, held at the Garden Statejessica-skultety-head-shot Exhibit Center March 2 – 5, 2017, welcomes new instructor, Jessica Skultety. Jessica , local to northwestern New Jersey, is a teacher, lecturer, pattern designer and writer.  The former President of the Central New Jersey Modern Quilt Guild,  Jessica is a self-taught quilter whose quilts have been displayed in several national shows.  She will be teaching two workshops at The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey and will also have a one woman show of her works. Check our website for more information: Jessica Skultety’s Workshops.

We recently interviewed Jessica to get the inside story on how she started quilting and what inspires her.

How did you start quilting?

I have always been crafty, and I learned how to sew during high school in a required home economics class. A couple of years later, I decided to make a quilt out of all of my t-shirts instead of sending it out to be made with money I did not have. So, I borrowed my future mother-in-law’s sewing machine and I was quickly bitten by the quilting bug. I’m mostly self-taught from Google and blogs.

What are your favorite techniques? 

skultetywonkybI’m an obsessive domestic machine quilter. In six years, I’ve never sent a quilt out to be quilted; I revel in the chance to try new motifs and challenges. Now, I have the opportunity to teach free motion quilting, which is such an honor. I coined a name for my favorite piecing technique: brick-by-brick improvisation. I’ll be teaching this technique in the Orange Peels and Improv class at the Quilt Fest.


Why modern quilting?

Sometimes I’m a modern quilter and sometimes I’m not. My work sways towards modern quilting because of two reasons: bright, bold colors (that I love) and improvisation. Otherwise, I often tweak traditional blocks to create something new as a modern traditional quilter. I also found such a wonderful, accepting, talented bunch of quilters in the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild that meets in Pennington, NJ.

What do you look for in fabric?

I look mostly for tone-on-tone, like-solid, or two-color fabrics that will complement my fabric stash. Since I tend to make a lot of scrap and improvisational quilts, I use a lot of these fabrics. For me, it’s all about blending a bunch of fabrics to create color! My solid fabric stash has grown enormously over the past couple of years, too; there’s something about using solids among prints. I’ve started making all-solid quilts too.

What is your teaching style?

As a trained K-12 teacher, I’m formulaic but always ready to skultetyorangebimprovise. Also, I am always focused on fun. If you aren’t having fun sewing, why are you doing it, anyway? Students walk away with adding several new techniques to their belts and many tell me they feel relaxed afterwards. I aim to be approachable and relatable, because I also learned these techniques at some point, too! Finally, I open conversation and invite class members to share their own techniques, as I’m always learning, too! It creates a better experience for everyone. Meanwhile, I can go to my next class and share everything I’ve learned so that those students can decide what works best for them.

Memorable moments so far in your teaching career?

This is a silly one, but I’ll never forget when the ladies from a guild in Pine Bush, NY brought a whole bowl of Reese’s peanut butter cups to class, just because I had mentioned them on my blog! (P.S. Jessica loves Reese’s!)

What are your biggest challenges in your artwork?

My biggest and most exciting challenge is the actual quilting. I don’t like to make “easy” quilts – and if it’s quite easy to piece, I love creating a challenge with the quilting. My goal is always to a) add a new, unique layer to the final quilt and b) to have fun. If I know the quilt would look great with just straight lines, I think, okay, that will be tedious to quilt – how can I mix it up?

In addition, since I do all of my quilting on my domestic machine (a Janome Memory Craft 6300 named Elsa), the size of the quilt often adds to the challenge. On my blog, I’ve documented all kinds of ways I’ve accommodated quilts in my space (like this post, Top Ten Tips: Quilting Large Quilts on Your Home Machine).

What is the biggest accomplishment you’ve achieved so far?

My quilt, Home, was included as part of the Modern Quilt Guild’s exhibit at International Quilt Festival in 2015. It also went on to QuiltCon and PNQE, where it won a theme ribbon. My upcoming individual special exhibit at the Quilt and Sewing Fest of NJ is high up on the list, too.

How do you see your art progressing in the next five years? 

What a great question. Honestly, I only have a notion (no pun
intended). My work has changed so much from when I started 6 img_20160826_112057years ago. At first, I used lots of patterns; now I make up my own (for the most part). I used to favor large print, multicolored fabrics; now, not so much (though I love piecing them together on the back). Right now, I’m especially passionate about quilting words on quilts (like this quilt, which is based on a quote from the musical Hamilton). I plan to continue this exploration.

Also, I recently discovered an excitement for sashiko and hand stitching. I’ve just begun to accentuate my dense machine quilting with hand stitching. In fact, I have to give credit to Susan of Easy Piecing, who vends at your shows!

How does quilting make you feel?  What emotions come out of creating something beautiful?

Quilting is often therapeutic. In the past, I’ve used it to center myself in stressful situations. I’ve also recently quilted to express sadness and anger. I try to sew happiness to send to family and friends who are going through rough times. Whenever I create a quilt purely for the sake of making, the feeling can only be described as “joy.”

What do you think about being a young quilter in what is predominately an older woman’s art world?

It’s definitely a humbling place to be. I work with women who have been quilting for 20, 30, 40 or more years. They have so much knowledge to share. It excites me to think of how many quilts I might make throughout my life, since I started so young and make so much. I have the benefit of learning from others while crafting my own modern spin on techniques. My goal is to bring more young quilters into the fold, which I’ve already begun to do.

What do you do when you are not quilting or educating?

I work in a public school and tutor sewing privately. Otherwise, I love to read, watch Outlander, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who and Parks and Recreation, and work out (my favorites are Zumba and spin classes). My husband and I also consider ourselves pizza connoisseurs, so there’s that.

You write as well – what made you start a blog?

When I started my blog, Quilty Habit, in 2010, it was right after I began quilting. I had already written two other blogs mostly for family and friends. Plus, I learned how to quilt from the internet (thank you Google and blog tutorials), and I dearly wanted to join the developing online community. Blogging is still a huge part of the quilting process for me; it’s not the same as writing a short caption on a finished quilt photo. I always tell people that my blog is my home base, despite how active I am on Instagram. I delve deep into the quilt process for the benefit of readers (and for myself – I look back at my writing all the time for help!). I tell the stories of my quilts and encourage others to do the same. If we don’t tell them, who will?

Now that you’re intrigued, check out Jessica’s Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey workshops: Jessica Skultety’s Workshops.

Regional Quilt Artists Compete for Top Prizes at the Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey will be held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, New Jersey March 2-5, 2017. For many years, quilters have worked to institute quilting, one of America’s original pastimes, into today’s art society. Like a fine art show, the Quilt Fest features works from across the country in fantastic special exhibitions. It is a chance for quilters to experience the diversity and creativity of their fellow enthusiasts. Included at the Fest is an impressive textile showcase of some of the region’s most talented quilt and textile artists – the juried and judged Tri-State Competition. This show is a wonderful opportunity for quilters to experience the diversity and creativity of their fellow quilting enthusiasts.

The Tri-State Competition highlights quilts and textile art created 8018aby residents of the Tri-State area: New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. These regional artists will represent their quilt and textile communities with a stunning collection of artwork while competing for over $5,500 in prizes. New to the 2017 competition is a prize for the Best Modern Style Quilt. In addition, those attending the Quilt Fest will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite competition quilt to win the prestigious Viewers Choice Award. For those who love anything quilted, this spectacular display will satisfy that creative craving. Pictured: Tulip Fields by Anna Faustino.

Major Annual Sponsor Brother/Sew Jersey, and Major Sponsors BERNINA/Olde City Quilts, ABM Innova and Handi Quilter generously sponsor The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey.

Will your quilt be the next to win Best of Show at The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey? We’ll never know … unless you enter!

The 2017 Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey Returns to the Garden State Exhibit Center

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey and the Tri-State Quilt Competition are returning to The Garden State Exhibit Center, in Somerset, March 2 – 5, 2017. Show-goers will feast their eyes on beautifully crafted works of quilt and textile art from all over the country.

At this year’s event, the long list of must-sees includes the entries to 8038anjthe juried and judged Tri-State Quilt Competition and the special exhibitions. The competition will highlight an array of quilts created by residents of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. These talented regional quilt artists will display a stunning collection of artwork while competing for over $5,500 in prizes. In addition, show-goers won’t want to miss the special exhibits on display including the beautiful, award winning quilts of the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. Also among the exhibits will be Quilting Leather? featuring leather quilts created by Cathy Wiggins, quilts by Quilt Fest instructor Jessica Skultety, an exhibit of Modern Quilts presented by the North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild plus more! Pictured: Home and Hearth by Jo Timko.

This year’s workshops will be full of fun and innovative techniques for beginners as well as for the more advanced textile artist. Those interested in learning new skills, developing skills already acquired or just wanting to have some quilting fun can learn from an exceptional faculty including David Sirota, Jessica Skultety, Bobbie Bergquist, Debora Konchinsky, Nancy Murtie and Lisa White Reber. Plus, certified quilt appraiser Phyllis Twigg Hatcher will be on-site offering quilt and woven coverlet appraisals by appointment.

Finally, you won’t want to miss the Merchants Mall filled with rows of vendors offering a variety of quilt, wearable and textile art supplies. Everything one needs to create a masterpiece of their own!

Major Annual Sponsor Brother/Sew Jersey, and Major Sponsors BERNINA/Olde City Quilts, ABM Innova and Handi Quilter generously sponsor The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey.


New Jersey Quilts

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey, held March 3-6 in Somerset, NJ,  was filled with wonderful quilts – from the entries of the Northeast Quilt Competition to the quilts in the special exhibits including the incredible winning quilts from the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival .

You can view images of the New Jersey winners here and the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival winners that were on display in Somerset here.

The Quiltfest included modern quilts:
NJ2016_NorthJerseyMod NJ2016_JerseyShoreMod
a fantastic lion quilt, “Just Stop” by Krishma Patel:8031a

quilts with birds including “Birds of Iceland” by Barbara McKie:
plus the fanciful, “Christmas Eve ABC’s”by Cathy Wiggins:ABC's cropped
and lots of other, fantastic quilts that provided plenty of eye candy for everyone who attended this outstanding quilt festival.

A “Real Quilt” Quiltfest Funny

Dottie’s Lament by Suzanne BowerBowerS_DottiesADottie’s Lament will make a “guest” appearance as a one-quilt special exhibit at The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey this week.

If you want inspiration, entertainment, and to learn new skills look no further than the amazing roster of workshops and lectures to be presented at the 2016 Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey. Headliners Meg Cox and Liza Prior Lucy along with our other exceptional faculty members will motivate any beginner or expert quilt and textile artist. This spectacular event is held at the Garden State Exhibit Center, in Somerset, March 3 – 6, 2016. In addition to the fantastic faculty, The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey will display a unique collection of quilt and textile art, along with a fabulous Merchants Mall featuring merchandise for all your quilt making and sewing needs!

The quilt show features the juried and judged “Northeast Quilt Competition” with an array of quilts created by residents of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Over $8,000 in awards and prizes as well as ribbons will be presented to winners in a number of categories including Best of Show and Viewer’s Choice. In addition to the competition quilts, attendees to this event will not want to miss the spectacular special exhibitions such as the beautiful award winning quilts of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and the Hoffman Challenge.

The workshops offered at The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey range from modern design with traditional piecing to appliqué and fabric dying. Quilt enthusiasts looking to explore new techniques or sharpen their talent will not be disappointed. Also, during the event Phyllis Twigg Hatcher will be available to provide quilt appraisals. Quilt and textile artists interested in stocking up on fabrics, tools, and sewing notions can shop the Merchants Mall.

You may purchase general admission tickets or sign up for available workshops,  lectures or appraisal appointments at the show, March 3-6, 2016 at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset.


Calling All Aspiring Quilters

Have a friend that you’re trying to convert into a quilter? Beginners are encouraged to attend all Mancuso Show Management quilt Shows! There’s so much to learn & aspire to and plenty of people willing to help. Click here to find a show near you: www.quiltfest.com.

Speaking of aspiring to… get a look at The End of the Line? By Joanne Baeth, Best Wall Quilt at the 2014 Pacific International Quilt Festival.

New Jersey Quilt Fest – Advance Tickets

Stop by these participating Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey sponsor stores to purchase discounted  show tickets.

Now through March 1, 2016
(While supplies last. Cut-off date may vary by location.)
Advance Tickets are $11.00
($1.00 off the $12.00 General Admission)

Purchase Discounted Advance Tickets at these Participating Locations:

Rock, Paper, Scissors

15 Bloomfield Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042

Visit Rock, Paper, Scissors Website

Olde City Quilts

339  High St.
Burlington,  NJ  08016
609 747 0075

Visit Olde City Quilts Website

Pocono Sew & Vac

PoconoSewVacHighRes no Brother
567 Main Street
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Visit Pocono’s Website


Urban Rainbow at New Jersey Quiltfest

Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey Special Exhibit
Urban Rainbow
by The Empire Quilters Guild

For 33 years, the Empire Quilters Guild has been home to a wide array of quilting trends and members in metropolitan NYC.  EQG offers quilters of all levels, styles, and methods a place to learn, to contribute, and to create.

“Urban Rainbow offers a taste of our show and tell. Without UrbanRainbowrestricting the method or style we asked members to use ROYGBIV, the acronym for all the colors in a rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Blue, Indigo, Violet, any shade, tint, value, or hue. The quilting rainbow is thriving in and around urban NYC. We hope you enjoy it, and if you like what you see here….well, there’s lots more across the river!” Pictured: Spare Change by Betsy Vinegrad.


Calling all Star Lovers to Quiltfest New Jersey

NancyMNancy Murtie, who believes quilting should be effortless and fun will present For Lovers or Stars at the Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey on Thursday, March 3 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.


In Nancy’s workshop you will make a wall hanging featuring the starMurtieQFNJ16_006 Marianne Fons designed for Eleanor Burns’ new book All Star Quilts. You will learn the easy, time saving techniques used by Marianne and Eleanor. Nancy’s version of this quilt features striped border fabric. Nancy has also developed an easy mitered corner technique that will be taught in class. A step-by-step demonstration of how to create Eleanor’s new feather star will be given. This feather star has no set in seams and is as easy as the Bear’s Paw block. This workshop is great for beginner and intermediate level quilters.

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey is generously sponsored by Brother/Rock, Paper, Scissors; BERNINA of America/Olde City Quilts, ABM Innova/Olde City Quilts, BabyLock/Pocono Sew & Vac, Elna/Pocono Sew & Vac, Handi Quilter, Pocono Sew & Vac, Pfaff/Above & BeyondCreative Sewing; and Sew Batik.