Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger | McCall’s Quilting Blog

Welcome back guest blogger, quilt designer, and teacher Abigail Dolinger of AbyQuilts! Aby’s new baby quilt, Zoo City, is patterned in the August/September 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine. Read on and don’t miss the fabric giveaway at the bottom of the page!

Hello blog readers and fellow quilting enthusiasts! I’m writing today about my baby quilt design, Zoo City, which is published in the August/September 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Would you like to know the steps from design inspiration to quilt completion?

ZooCity600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail DolingerLast August, my local quilt shop, Loving Stitches in Fayetteville, NC, hosted a Wilmington Prints trunk show. The idea was to show quilters not only new lines of fabrics, but also quilts made from the fabrics. We all oohed and aahed over the bright colors, imaginative prints, and clever quilts made from pre-cuts of the up-and-coming fabric lines. Toward the end of the trunk show, the company rep showed us story boards with sketches of several fabric lines still in the planning stages. The mock-up of “Big City Friends” caught my eye. The backdrops of major cities (London, New York, San Francisco and Paris) appealed to my travel-loving spirit, and the primary colors and friendly animals added to the charm.

Storyboard600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger Even though I was inspired to design and sew a “Big City Friends” quilt last summer, the fabric wasn’t available from Wilmington Prints until December. In the meantime, I contacted the marketing director of Wilmington Prints and McCall’s editors to inquire about the possibility of procuring fabric earlier than the first shipping date with a view toward publication of the quilt. With cooperation all around, we made it happen!

As I waited for the fabric to arrive, I drew up the plans for a quilt using the city pictures as center squares for Sawtooth Star blocks. From my memory of sizes of the pictures I had seen on the Wilmington Prints story board, I figured I would make two sizes of stars. However, when the fabric arrived, I saw that the pictures were larger than I expected. Time to reconsider! I decided to use the small pictures as star centers and to simply frame the large pictures with primary color tone-on-tones.

My original idea was to add sashing between the blocks. Wilmington Prints had sent me a really cute coordinating hot air balloon print for the purpose, but the scale of the print was too large for the width of sashing I planned.

balloon sashing 600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger Then began a big debate:  White sashing? Gray sashing? Light blue sashing? I even emailed pictures of the various options to my McCall’s editor, asking her opinion! By bedtime, I still had no resounding answer to my dilemma, so I left the blocks, unsashed, on my design wall.

white sashing 600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail DolingerWhen I awoke the next morning, my first thought was, “Why not sew the blocks together without sashing?” The quilt would be large enough without sashing, and my editor agreed that the blocks looked just fine set side by side. Thankful for an attractive solution, I sewed the blocks together.

quilt center 600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger Stepping back from my design wall, I noticed an imbalance. Do you see it, too? The yellow frame is lighter in weight or value than the other frames of red, blue, and green. I performed a block-ectomy, removing the block from the quilt top, drove to my local quilt shop, and purchased some orange tone-on-tone to substitute. Now the colors in the quilt seem balanced!

ZooCityFLAT600px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger From initial inspiration through design revisions to quilt completion—it’s all in a quilter’s day’s work. I hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes tour of the making of Zoo City. And, further, I hope you are inspired to order a kit of this fantastically fun fabric and make the quilt for your favorite little person!


panel Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail DolingerThanks, Aby! And a big thank you to the folks at Wilmington Prints, who have supplied us with THREE of the Big City Friends fabric panels (right) to give away to lucky blog readers! Leave a comment below before midnight July 4, 2016 and you’ll be entered into the random drawing. The winning names will be drawn on July 5 and notified by email with subject line beginning YOU WON. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.

We have our winners! Congratulations to Pamela Reim of Springfield, Oregon, Rochelle Summers of Carson City, Nevada, and Sandy Allen of Ferguson, Missouri!

Cover 200px Zoo City: A Visit with Abigail Dolinger
If you’d like to make your own version of Zoo City, quilt kits and backing fabric packs are available. If you prefer to use your own fabrics and don’t yet have a copy of the August/September 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can purchase print and digital copies of the magazine here or download the Zoo City pattern separately from our online shop.

Leave a Reply