Creative articles about quilting




I was inspired to create this little shades of grey art quilt after a challenge was issued at my local quilting guild. The challenge was that we could only use different shades of grey and we had to add one colour. This is the scene right outside my sewing room and during the winter months, I have the most beautiful aloes to brighten up my winter garden.

50 Shades of Grey (Plus One Colour)


  • A 100% cotton fat quarter in dark grey for the background
  • A 100% cotton fat quarter in pale grey for the insert
  • Loomtex batting 35 x 55cm
  • Backing 35 x 55cm
  • Stitch and Tear stabiliser
  • Isacord machine embroidery threads in shades of grey to thread-paint
  • Bright red Isacord machine embroidery thread to embroider the aloes
  • Matching all-purpose thread
  • Wonder Invisible thread for the quilting
  • A reference picture of your own
  • A reference picture of you own in greyscale
  • A pen/pencil to draw the rough outline on your background fabric
  • A sewing machine of which the feed dogs can drop
  • Bernina Foot #24 or Foot #73 and the patchwork foot #97D

    Shades of Threads Used


    • Create your background by cutting a rectangle from the pale grey fabric
    • Cut wide strips from the dark fabric and use foot #97D (patchwork foot) to sew these on the top and sides of the pale grey rectangle to form a bigger background.
    • Use a chalk pen/pencil to draw a rough outline of your picture on the above.
    • Use Stitch and Tear stabiliser on the wrong side.
    • Start with the palest shade of grey machine embroidery thread and thread-paint, using foot #24 (Open toe free motion embroidery foot) or foot #73 (Adjustable Stippling foot)
    • Continue thread painting and shading until you are satisfied. Consult your reference pictures (specially the greyscale one) constantly.

    Aloe Leaves in Different Shades of Grey

      • Layer the quilt top, batting and backing and either pin or use spray glue
      • Use black machine embroidery thread to quilt small pebbles in the foreground.
      • Use the bright red machine embroidery thread to embroider the flowers.

      Brightly Coloured Aloe Flowers

        • Quilt everywhere else, using Wonder Invisible thread.
        • Square off your work.
        • Cut narrow binding, use foot #97D and the dual feed and sew binding on, mitering the corners.
        • Turn binding to the wrong side and hand-sew in place.
        • Sew a hanging sleeve and a label on the back.

        You have created your own 50 Shades of Grey Plus One Colour art quilt!

        If you are passionate about textiles and want to learn more about how to incorporate my innovative techniques into your work, follow me on Instagram @tillydeharde and Facebook, Tilly de Harde Fibre Artist & Teacher and visit my website & subscribe to my mailing list. Please don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment box below!


Difficulty level: Intermediate
Time to Complete: Weekend
Used Material: 100% Cotton Fabric, Isacord thread in shades of grey and bright red, Loomtex batting, spay glue, Wonder Invisible thread

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  • Brenda White

    Thank you for sharing this technique.  The results are wonderful & so impactive.  Your work is new to me but I definitely want to see more of it Tilly.

    • Tilly de Harde

      Dear Brenda, thank you for a lovely compliment! Why don’t you visit my website and subscribe to my newsletter to read more about what I do, the link is above. Love, Tilly

    • Tilly de Harde

      Dear Sylvie, thank you for a lovely compliment! Are you on my mailing list? Join now and receive more information on my work! Find the link to my website above. I would love to hear more about your work too! Love, Tilly

  • Erica Harris

    This looks so beautiful, I will be giving it a try. Love Tilly’s work, thanks, Bernina, for bringing her to my attention. I’ve done one of her workshops and it was fantastic!

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Erica, thank you for a wonderful comment! My aim in this life is to inspire people to start playing and find the inner artist in yourself! I am convinced there is an artist in each and everyone of us! Keep playing, love, Tilly

    • Tilly de Harde

      Hi Avona, thank you for the compliment, I’m pleased you like it! Are you on my mailing list? Subscribe to be even more inspired! Love, Tilly

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