Category Archives: inspiration

Four times eight, a new modern baby quilt

drape I’ve had it in mind for months to make a baby sized version of my Three Flocks design. My starting point was a lovely print from Leah Duncan’s collection called “Morning Walk” that I picked for the backing. I guess I am literally working back-to-front, but it works for me! The print is so charming and subtle–I love that it hints at floral but is still a simple geometric pattern. I took my palette for the flying geese from the print’s muted primary colors and added some salmon, peach and aqua.

My original “Three Flocks” quilt has three big triangles made of decreasing rows of flying geese triangles. I knew that I would only have two “flocks” in a baby size quilt, and would have one less row in each big triangle. Once I had all my triangles made and ready to arrange, I discovered the design just didn’t look right in the smaller frame of the crib size quilt. Something about having two big triangles made the design feel sort of heavy. I think that old design theory–things are always better in odd numbers–must be right!

fullOr maybe not, the design I ended up with has eight blocks of four triangles–nothing odd about that. This layout seemed to fit the size of the baby quilt better and gave a little more breathing room for the colors.

The binding is Kona Ochre, also used as one of the triangle colors. I played around with different options for the binding (including some patterns!), but I really like the warmth of the ochre. I can’t resist adding this picture that includes the newest member of our family–Olive!

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I’ve added this quilt to my Etsy shop!

Flag Day quilt

ladderThis baby quilt was inspired by the the beautiful geometric paintings of the Australian artist Esther Stewart.  Her palette is so inspiring. I particularly like how she combines pastels and earthy tones with touches of bright color. I played around with some different layouts based on some her paintings and ended up with three columns that pick up her motifs of triangles and bars of solid colors. I had so much fun playing around with the balance of pastels, brights, and neutrals. I originally had a dark blue background but my daughter persuaded me to go with gray. The gray doesn’t compete with the piecing in the way the blue did, and I’m so happy with the result. That kid has a good eye for color!

fullI straight-line quilted using my walking foot, using the diagonals in the piecing as my guide. I really like the places where the diagonal lines intersect. My quilting was a little more dense than my usual pattern, but the finished quilt is still really soft and lofty.

detail1I have added this quilt to my Etsy shop!

Carolyn Friedlander pillow and the pleasure of patterns

IMG_0552I haven’t posted in ages, but I’ve been busy sewing! It was really nice to just make stuff for a few months without thinking about taking pictures or how to try and make it interesting. Do people really want to read about the felted bunny I made to fit into an Altoid box bed?

But, this pillow is just too gorgeous not to share. I can say it’s gorgeous without feeling like a braggart because all credit goes to Carolyn Friedlander‘s creative genius. The pillow was made following her Botanics pattern, using some of her Architextures fabrics, and solids that seem very much in her palette. Even though I really love coming up with my own designs, following Carolyn’s pattern was so much fun. No worrying about how things would come together, no decisions to make, just following steps to make something that is an instant classic. Following this pattern was a great learning experience, too. It seems a little counter intuitive, but following a pattern can be a really creative experience; you learn new techniques and try out different designs and colorways. By working on this project, I feel like I got a tiny dose of Carolyn’s design DNA that will help evolve my own projects–good deal!

Another Three Flocks finish!

three-flocks-35Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl finished this lovely version of my Three Flocks pattern and kindly agreed to let me post about it. I really love the way she accented the large triangles with her quilting, and the swirls are so fun.

Here is the back. She used the little triangles left over from making the flying geese blocks to add a pretty detail to the back. It reminds me of origami. I’m inspired to use my bag full of corner scraps. I knew I saved them for a reason!

three-flocks-38Nice work, Yvonne! Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

Skillful Sunday: Needle-turn applique

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One of my goals this year is to expand my repertoire of crafty skills. First on my list? Needle turn applique. My guild is doing a mug rug swap this month, so this was a great opportunity to test my skills on an unsuspecting guild member. (They’re a pretty friendly bunch.) I used a very simple bull’s eye shape adapted from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts book (hands down my favorite quilting book–it’s really great for beginners). It’s just three irregular circles stacked; aiming for imperfection is a great choice when you are learning a new skill (or improving a rusty one).

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When I’ve tried needle-turn in the past, I’ve always cheated and turned the raw edge under with my hand, which can result in an uneven edge. I think I finally got the knack of needle turning by the third circle! You use the point of the needle to push under the next section of edge before you sew–which turns the edge evenly as you move along. If you are working on a precise shape, having a clear line for the seam would be very important. Because my circle did not need to be precise I just winged it. It was so nice to work on a small project by hand that I decided to hand quilt, too. At first I quilted around each circle–not good! The circles poofed up, totally negating all my careful applique. Here’s a picture, before I pulled out the hand quilting:

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What else do I want to try this year? Embroidery, making a stuffed animal, and (maybe!) English paper piecing. Look for more Skillful Sunday posts in the coming months!

Marmalade fabrics and design inspiration

marmalade_logoI just wanted to take a moment to sing the praises of the lovely people at Marmalade Fabrics. I ordered some Kona Solids from Marmalade a few months ago when one of the new colors I was looking for was sold out at my usual suppliers. Of course, I couldn’t order just one color so I ordered a a handful of yards and half yards.

kona28_310pxMy package arrived promptly and was beautifully packaged. I especially loved that each cut of fabric had a label with the color name. Tammy, the shop owner, also enclosed swatches of two new Kona colors that she thought I might like. Can it be that she is not only prompt and thoughtful but also psychic? Perhaps, because I really did love those colors.

OK, so this level of service would be enough to make Marmalade a great choice for an online fabric provider, but here’s the best part: Marmalade offers loyalty points. Last night I succumbed to temptation and ordered some Kona Solids in yellow (more on why yellow below). I was so pleased to be told that I had earned more than $14 in points that I could apply to my purchase. While I could admit that there is some sort of cycle going on here that involves fabric purchases leading to more fabric purchases, I think it’s safe to admit that I will be buying fabric no matter what and how great is it to be rewarded for it?

So why yellow? I almost never use yellow. I see lovely examples of yellow in other quilters’ work (check out my Quilt board on Pinterest, and you’ll see lots of yellow) but I always seem to edit it out of my own designs. Not this time. I spied a piece of art tucked in the corner of a photo from the most recent DWR catalog that jumped out at me as a great quilt design. I plan to make a throw with a big center square in Kona Snow surrounded by thin squares in shades of bright yellow and maybe a little chartreuse. I am so looking forward to my package from Marmalade!

Quilt sampler – inspiration

My guild (Gainesville Modern Quilters) has a chance to exhibit our modern quilts at a local college, and I want to make something a little outside of my usual style. I’ve been playing around with a palette of teal and salmon, but hadn’t quite hit upon a design that was interesting but still simple enough. Then, I was browsing around pinterest (I could go on about why I love pinterest, but I’ll save that for another time) and I came across this photo of pillows from London textile designer Naomi Paul. All those lovely blues and touches of peach — I found the perfect design. I love the limited palette and the traditional quilt motifs. I’m planning to make nine blocks with blues, bone, salmon and coral (of course!) with Kona snow between.

naomipaulI’m hoping to finish the quilt top this weekend!