Friday, April 13, 2018

Inspiration

Where do you get inspiration? Most quilters answer that question with an resounding "everywhere". And that is so true - inspiration is everywhere if you look for it! But how do you turn inspiration into a quilt? It's a question I've been pondering lately as I choose my next quilt projects.

As far as color inspiration, the sources are limitless. Two of my favorites are the websites Design Seeds and Love Print Studio. You can easily choose a pretty color combination and then select fabrics to match.

Quilt Shop owners and quilters you follow online often post some beautiful color combinations that you may not have considered. Save them for when you need some inspiration! I recently saw this bundle prepared by Fabric Bubb and although I didn't buy the bundle (I had several of the fabrics in my stash), I made this quilt using the color inspiration.


Room and Board - Thimbleblossoms pattern

When it comes to design, turning inspiration to a quilt is often a bit trickier. Tile patterns, modern artwork and graphic designs translate fairly easily. But can a quilt design come from anything?

I recently became part of a Design Bee with a small group in my local MQG. Each month, one of us is providing a photo as inspiration for a quilt block. We'll then make our own blocks, using our own fabric and constraints.

I've decided to make modern traditional blocks in solid colors using the elements and colors in the inspiration photo.

Here is the first month's photo:

Photo by Valorie Kasten
 And here is my block:


Though not a literal interpretation of the photo, I chose these elements from the photo: warm colors, "spikiness", and a design radiating from the center. Though not an exact replication of the picture - my block uses some of the design elements.

The second month's photo:
Follow the link to see the photo (and don't miss it, it's adorable!)
http://www.daisygilardini.com/galleries/polar-bears/#/0

And my block:


The black in the center represents the eyes and noses of the bears. The colors are neutral except for a touch of green like the photo overall. The bears have a round shape to them and I wanted to repeat that shape in my block.

The lesson here - yes, inspiration is everywhere and you can create a quilt design by looking at and featuring the design elements in the inspiration.

It is a challenge! But a fun one and I'm looking forward to future months and more blocks!

I'll leave with another current WIP. I'll share the inspiration when it's done!




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Summer String Quilt

I have finished scrap quilt to share today!


This quilt started with a piece of Anna Maria Horner fabric I've been hoarding for several years. I pulled it out and decided that I just couldn't cut it up. I knew it would be beautiful on the back of a quilt, but I only had a yard to work with. Then I decided to make a quilt inspired by the colors in the print and figure out how I'd make the back when I had to.

Once I needed a back, it turned into somewhat of a puzzle to piece it together using fabric in my stash. I taped out an area on the floor that was the size I needed, and just started adding to the inspiration piece.


I'm so happy with how it turned out! A few bits of some older Amy Butler prints and some neutral solids and prints came together nicely...


A windy day! Almost lost the quilt over the fence!


Enough about the back - the front of the quilt is from a design by Jessica of A Blue Sky Kind of Life. You can find the free block tutorial here. It's a simple String Block and although Jessica sews her strips to a foundation paper, I simply sewed my strips together and trimmed the block to 10 1/2" square. I did cut my strips a bit longer than she suggests for some extra wiggle room and eyeballed lining the center of the strips up.


You can see Jessica's finished quilt here: Summer String Quilt

It's such a fun and happy quilt. I used lots of smaller pieces and strips of fabric in my stash including low volumes. I love seeing some of my favorites hanging out together in one quilt.


I machine quilted this one with a simple diagonal grid, using my walking foot with guide to space my lines 1 3/4" apart.


I have a feeling it will be enjoyed this Summer!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Six kids' quilts in two weeks!

Many of you probably remember my goal from last year reducing of my fabric stash and I've continued it into this year so far. I recently found a great tool to track fabric usage - it was mentioned in Abby Glassenburg's Newsletter (which by the way is a great weekly newsletter!) - and I hopped over to take a look.

The tracker is a spread sheet that can be downloaded free from the Sew Jouner's Blog. I found it really helpful in documenting my fabric usage and it fits my nerdy, math-loving personality. Actually there's no math required or counting what you already have. You track how much you use and how much you buy and the Stash Shrinker is set to calculate how much you are allowed to buy using a 2:1 ratio.

Since I started tracking, I challenged myself to make 6 quilts for kids that will be donated to my MQG's philanthropy program, using only fabric I have on hand. I also wanted them to be fairly quick and easy...

I ended up using 5 different designs and made 6 small quilts!

First up is "Row Addition" from the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book that I blogged about last week...



This is a super easy and quick one! I made it in an afternoon and I was even able to cut the backgrounds from some leftover chunks of fabric. The backing is made from black and white fabric, and colorful print stripes.


Next up is an Economy Block quilt. I fussy cut a fat quarter of a cute animal print from the line "Hello Bear" and used them in the center of several of the blocks. Although the fabrics looked great together laid out, the quilt turned out rather dull and is not my favorite.


But I do think some child will love these sweet animal motifs...



This one is quilted with free-motion loops and ready to go!


The next four are quilt tops with the backings and bindings ready to go. I'll get these quilted as I have smaller, left-over pieces of batting.

First up is a simple Star quilt. This is made from half-square triangles, squares and a background strip at top and bottom to lengthen it a bit.


Next is a another "Row Addition", since the first was so quick! This one uses several Bonnie and Camille fabrics for the backgrounds with white pluses...


This one is called "Joyous Picnic" and it's a free pattern from Art Gallery Fabrics. I reduced the block size to 6" and it made a great little kids' quilt!


And finally, this last one is from an older Thimblossoms pattern called "Piece of Cake 2". I again reduced the size of the block a bit to make a nice size kids' quilt.



I'm excited to say these quilts make a nice dent in my stash and look! Here's a screen shot of my Stash Shrinker spread sheet... I can buy fabric! Which I plan to do :)


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Modern Plus Sign Quilts Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Modern Plus Sign Quilts Blog Hop. This new book is authored by my friends, Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms. I met both of these talented quilters through our Greenville Modern Quilt Guild and feel lucky to know them both in person!

No surprise to me, their book is wonderful - filled with graphic modern patterns using the classic Plus Sign Block.



You would think that all the quilts must look fairly similar using the same simple block in each one. But you would be wrong! I'm so impressed with the variety of designs they created using this block. I love that the book features several different techniques from paper piecing to appliqué to simple patchwork.

My project from the book is "Faceted Rings" and I used my go-to freezer paper piecing technique to make it. Here's the quilt from the book:

Photo courtesy of C&T Publishing
I thought the block would make a cute pillow, so that's what I started with. I decided to use a single fabric for the ring (you'll notice that Cheryl used 2 shades in the ring above).


The pillow is made with all linen fabrics - I wanted to see its it would work or just fray apart...


And good news! It did work and I loved the way it turned out. I fused interfacing on the wrong side of the block after piecing, did no quilting and made a super cute pillow for our daybed.


The pillow was easy to construct, so I decided a wall quilt was in order. I love that the pattern gives rotary cutting instructions for all the pieces and the sizes are very generous. 






I used all straight line quilting on this one, echoing the rings...


And just connecting some dots on the block...


Black and white strips were pieced together for the backing...



I think I'll be making several of the quilts from this book. I love when that happens! In fact, I may have already started this one :)

Photo courtesy of C&T Publishing
Copies of the book are available at your favorite quilt shop, Amazon, or for signed copies, directly from Cheryl or Paige.

Be sure to visit their websites during the hop for some fabulous give-aways:
Meadow Mist Designs
Quilted Blooms

And you definitely want to follow along with the other bloggers on the hop:

Tuesday, March 13th
Signature Plus
Soma @ Whims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter

Tribal Plus
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts


Wednesday, March 14th
Plus Surround
Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter

Kaleidoscope Plus
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun


Thursday, March 15th
Postage Plus
Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches

Rick Rack Runner
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog


Friday, March 16th
Row Addition
Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts

Transparency Chains
Ruth @ Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th
Faceted Rings
Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter

Petal Plus
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter


Tuesday, March 20th
Message in a Bottle
Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood

Cute as a Button
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good


Wednesday, March 21st
Celestial
Anja @ Anja Quilts

Pinwheel Plus


Thursday, March 22nd
Intertwined

Bear Claw Plus
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Big Sky Fabric in Funky Christmas

Last Fall while visiting Denver, CO, I went to Fancy Tiger Crafts, a unique fabric, yarn and craft store. Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area!

Of course, I had to buy some fabric as a souvenir! And settled on Big Sky from Moda. Once I got it home, I knew I'd make Funky Christmas from my book, Simply Modern Christmas. I always love seeing other quilters versions of my patterns and I definitely wanted to try it again with a dark background. I think it was the perfect fabric line, background, pattern combination!


Once the quilt top was finished, I was clueless as to how to quilt it and what color thread to use with the dark background and light pieces. I ended up with straight lines running diagonally from the center. I started the quilting with a big "X" through the center and then echoed the lines in each quadrant. The thread color is a medium teal and it worked out pretty well!


For a backing, I found this Mammoth flannel by Robert Kaufman in just the right colors. This was my first time using this line and I have to say - I love it! The flannel is not as "fuzzy" as typical flannel, but it is oh so soft and the quilt has a wonderful drape and feel to it.


I had trouble finding a good binding fabric in my stash, so I ended up making a scrappy binding from the leftover fabrics in the quilt.


Gotta love those bears and the moose!!!



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Magnolia Mystery Quilt

I'm excited to share my Magnolia Mystery Quilt!


I decided last year to participate in Cheryl's {Meadow Mist Designs} Mystery Quilt. My first mystery quilt was probably 20 years ago when I was the person who organized one for my quilt guild. A mystery quilt is one where you follow the step by step instructions, but don't know the final outcome of the quilt until it's complete. At the time, I thought it would be fun, but learned quickly that for me - it's really not fun. I think my favorite part of the quilt making process, by far, is planning the quilt - choosing fabric and colors and deciding what goes where. I love the thrill of picturing it all in my mind and seeing the success (or failure) come to life. The mystery takes away my favorite aspects of quilt making!

But that's just me - many, many quilters love the intrigue and challenge of a mystery. Luckily for me, Cheryl offers a non-mystery option for her mystery quilts. And that's exactly what I did!


I actually agonized over the fabric choices for this one. I almost never make a quilt with just 4 fabrics and it was hard for me to choose the right combo. And since Cheryl is a friend and fellow member of my MQG, I even consulted her for an opinion!

I ended up with Kona Delft for the background, a solid navy, a solid white and "Splendid Oath" in Rain from the Wonderful Things collection by Bonnie Christine.


I custom quilted the quilt with stipples and straight lines in the blocks...


and straight lines in the top and bottom borders.


I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!!!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Playing With Triangles

I have my first finished quilt for 2018! It was actually pieced last year, but I recently quilted it.


My quilt was inspired by the Quilt-Along on the Bernina blog hosted by Brigette from Zen Chic. It's a block of the month quilt, with a new pieced triangle pattern provided each month. They're currently up to block 10.


I decided not to make all of the blocks and just used the block designs as inspiration for several pieced 60 degree triangles in my quilt. I chose blues, aquas and grays - one of my favorite color combinations. My quilt is quilted with straight lines done with the walking foot in the pieced areas. The lines follow the seams to create a diamond grid. The white side borders were free-motion quilted with paisley type loops.


The backing has a few leftover triangles and some large pieces of aqua that I had in my stash. The binding is a perfect match of gray.


This is probably one of the first quilts I've made with this much negative space. My husband asked if I had run out of patches and just got lazy! 


Really - it's negative space :)