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Jukebox Quilts: On the Cutting Edge of Quilting

Second in a two-part series on ways quilting has been changing in the 21st century

Monochromatic quilt designed by Kelly Abbott-Gallagher

This monochromatic quilt designed by Kelly Gallagher-Abbott hangs on a wall at Jukebox Quilts in Fort Collins.

Quilting hobbyists who frequent Jukebox Quilts have choices beyond our grandmothers’ dreams. They can purchase a small machine that cuts perfect shapes from fabric six layers at a time.  They have access to a computer-guided machine that can appliqué and embroider complex designs. Other machines, also computer-guided, can complete the quilting process by stitching elaborate patterns through fabric and batting.

Freed from the mechanics of quilting, they have more time to experiment with color and design. I admired the creativity, artistry, and technical know-how that I witnessed in my recent visits to Jukebox Quilts, where eye-catching quilts hang on the walls and over railings.

Kelly Gallagher-Abbott, owner of Jukebox Quilts, designed the monochromatic quilt, above right, using a computer program similar to Adobe Illustrator. The computer then guided the quilting machine as it stitched the design. The silk and cotton blend makes the quilt shimmer when you’re viewing it in person.

Taking advantage of all the mechanization could be quite an investment, but Jukebox Quilts makes it easy to try the technology by renting time on equipment right on site. Located in a historic building at 406 North College Avenue in Fort Collins, the shop is a mix of colorful fabrics, heavy wooden beams and stairs, and cutting edge technology. At the top of the stairs is a jukebox that Kelly acquired for fun. Beyond it is a scene unlike any I had ever encountered before my first visit to the store. Continue reading