Here’s a sneak peek at my latest new venture – textile designs!
You might call it “repeat pattern design” or “tiling”, but whatever you call it, it’s a lot of fun! What “new textile designs” means for me and you is future FABRIC!
Last post I shared my “fails” in past textile design and why I decided to pull them out of hiding and frame them on my work wall in embroidery hoops. Most seasoned quilters know that “fails” are just mediocre ideas that lead to better ideas! Click here to read the “Embrace the Journey” blog post.
My learning curve progress in repeat pattern design is MAYBE at about 50%, but I am super excited to keep designing! It’s odd to be this excited about a mousepad, but here’s my first repeat pattern on a product:
This product is from ZAZZLE, but there are all kinds of companies that can print your designs on their products. And, what’s fun is, other people can order those designs, too!
You’re likely familiar with Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric company. Here you can see a few more of the newest designs I’ve been working on.
Of course, designing quilt patterns that use both beautiful sides of fabric is still going strong! With more than 45 current designs, I just shipped a new one for Hoffman California Fabrics for use in their future catalog! See all the current patterns in my Etsy Shop:CreativeBeeStudios
Quilt shops everywhere are opening boxes of Hoffman California’s beautiful “Meet Me in Paradise” fabric used to make the Tropical Sunset quilt pattern!
Before I started designing patterns, I had no idea how short the window is for designing and making quilts for fabric companies. To get the fabric produced and shipped takes much longer!
Sometimes I’ve had less than a week to open a box of fabric, design and make a quilt, write the pattern, photograph the quilt and ship the quilt from Missouri to California. Whew!
Of course, many quilt designers use digital software to “build” their quilts. Fabric companies have digital swatches to download for designing. They can plan the quilt and insert the fabric without taking a stitch. However, fabric companies don’t make swatches of the REVERSE side. Enter the need for real fabric!
For this design, I used my Ipad and the app called Procreate. This is a great drawing and painting app that’s easy to learn and fun to use. In Procreate, you can also make clippings masks of objects (in this case, the photo of the fabric). That’s how I “drew” the bouquet. Here’s the sketch I send to my representative to “pitch” my quilt idea:
As you can see, there’s quite a difference from the sketch to the actual quilt. Things don’t always work like you picture them in your head, right? Sometimes, they are much better in real life and real fabric!
I love that the “wallpaper” border made from the reverse of one coordinating fabric. If you’ve made a #usebothsides quilt pattern before, you know it’s important to audition both sides of fabric with itself (focus) and with surrounding (background, border) fabrics to know if they will actually have enough contrast. That “wildcard” is what makes getting a box of fabric a whole lot exciting and a little bit scary! This is one line that is PERFECT for using both sides!
See more about Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern HERE.
As orders for patterns come in, I’ll be sharing links to the shops so you can do some online paradise shopping!
It’s not just about quilting skills, but the older I get the more I cherish my past experiences and embrace the journey I’ve been on. Do you keep proof of where you began?
Many of us, I’m sure, miss our days of guild meetings and live programs. One of the main messages of my programs to quilters was for them to reflect on their past and recognize how far they’ve come – to truly enjoy their quilting journey. In addition to experience and maturity, there are lots of influences in our lives that change our outcomes.
I bet you know someone who said they could NEVER quilt, right? My answer (sometimes silently in my head): all you need is a willingness to fail.
For me, to embrace the journey, I try to look at the good, bad, and…yes, ugly! I definitely have those in my collection of quilts! Some great ideas that just don’t quite make the cut. Do you look back at quilts you thought were just grand and laugh as you hide them away? I do. Wow.
But you know what? It’s this way for all things in life, I think. The older I get the more I realize that I could do what I’m doing if I didn’t start somewhere with the desire to learn and a willingness to mess things up!
Recently, I took a bit of my own advice. I pulled out some sample fabrics that I had printed on Spoonflower, framed them in embroidery hoops and hung them on my work wall right over my computer desk. It’s a little painful. These fabrics are absolute rejects. Colors are off, design are just…bad. White lines show the “repeat” was off. They are what they are!
I’m hoping with determination and lots of hard work, I’ll soon have hoops filled with successful designs.
Now I’m in the middle of a fabulous repeat pattern design course and I’m learning to fix all of those things. If you’ve ever been interested in repeat pattern design, I highly recommend following Oksana at Okscania HERE in Spoonflower or also on Pinterest.
Here I share my fails with you my friends. I hope soon I can share some beautiful fabric designs. We will see!
See the Merry fabric above? She’s from the red truck quilt pattern. See more about her HERE.
You’ll likely enjoy the first article in this issue is called, “Give Your Quilt a Bath”! It gives you step by step guidance on how to bathe a quilt that just can’t go into a washing machine. I found the specific instructions (with illustrations) from how to submerse to how to remove the quilt very helpful.
Inside AQ Magazine, you’ll also find seven “irresistible” quilt patterns, some “how-to” articles, and features by contributors. The seven quilt patterns include three “easy”, three “intermediate”, and one “challenging”.
American Quilter is a perk of membership with AQS (American Quilter Society), but is also available on the newsstand. This March 2021 newsstand issue is $6.99.
You’ll find a feature display of MJ Kinman’s “Bourbon Diamonds” which is as interesting as the quilts are beautiful. You might recall the exhibit featured at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky in 2020.
One regular contributor, Gail Garber, discusses the use of color versus contrast with many photo examples.
I hope you find this review of AQ Magazine helpful. Because I’ve found American Quilter to be a high-quality publication, I started with this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint, the company is delightful to work with. I’ll leave a few pics of Merle’s Bouquet here. It was a lot of fun to have her featured in this quality magazine!
SHOP more than 50 quilt patterns that use both beautiful sides of fabric!
Behind every quilter is a quilter who inspires them.
Maybe it’s a grandmother, mother, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or friend. Maybe the quilter is someone you’ve never met but viewed on Instagram or Pinterest or read about in a magazine. While quilting inspiration is everywhere…the tiles of a building or the view of a garden…those who inspire us can turn our likes into passion.
Is there a quilter who inspires you?
Here is one quilter who inspires me: Kathy Doughty. I met Kathy once, very briefly in Houston at quilt market. (I’m certain she does not remember me.) I was very familiar with her work and sought out her booth.
I used to say that I’d love to live in a house I could get lost in (with twists and turns and secret stairways). Well, I’m kinda the same way about quilts. I’ve mentioned before that I love and appreciate all kinds of quilt styles: traditional, modern, primitive, one- color, two-color, appliqued, pieced…etc….
But the quilts that really spark my interest are quilts I can get lost in!
Kathy Doughty is a quilter who inspires me because I get lost in her quilts. Your brain can’t grab the full story of her quilts at first glance. When you look at Kathy’s quilts, you are drawn back in to study, to make sense of the design. You have to ponder the quilts to figure out how the fabric motifs and colors work together.
It’s not obvious, like, for example, in my grandmother’s two-color lilac and white quilt. While I cherish everything about the family heirloom quilt, it tells me it’s whole story at first glance. It’s very calm and peaceful.
When Kathy was interviewed for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (June 2017), she responded to a question about fabric and color choices with,
“I like to make quilts that have secondary patterns and are not digestible in a glance.”
I just rediscovered this article when going through old magazines, wondering why I’d kept this one- THIS is why! Kathy is unafraid of color and pattern, but she has a healthy respect for design. Maybe one reason Kathy inspires me is because her ability to combine color and pattern to the degree she does still alludes me. I guess something achieved wouldn’t be very inspirational, would it?
Kathy has a number of books that feature her vividly and interesting quilts. I keep her books handy, where I see them often. Just opening these books to revisit the quilt photos gives me inspiration to try new combinations, new colors – to step out of my comfort zone, and expand the horizons of my own little quilting world.
Are you an occasional quilter or do you quilt occasionally?
You might be a quilter IF you like to make quilts for special occasions.
Likewise, you might be a quilter if you quilt occasionally!
In my early days of quilting, I thought I needed a reason (sometimes known as an excuse) for spending lots of time, energy, and (let’s face it) money on a quilt. So occasional quilting it was!
I might make quilts for special occasions like these:
Activities your kids or grandkids are in (mine included operas, musicals, and dance)
Quilts of Valor
Thank you gifts
I’m sure each of you could add to this list! The point is, if I needed an excuse to make a new quilt, I could always come up with one!
In the beginning, I’d see a quilt offered in a class and would decide who or what occasion it was suited for and there was my excuse to take the class. Stage two was thinking of an occasion and searching for a pattern or fabric which best suited that theme for a quilt. As I, let’s say, aged as a quilter, I would think of the occasion and then either adapt a pattern or create my own quilt to suit the day.
I’m guessing that “quilting occasionally” happens for all of us! Life happens and priorities change and shift. Here is my latest example of quilting occasionally – at least on this project:
Once again, here is a quilt made with both beautiful sides of Hoffman fabrics in this one-block quilt pattern.
Treasures is shown here using only three new fabrics on “solid” background in this one-block quilt pattern!
How does this work?
Specifically, each Contrary Wife block is made with two sets of half-square triangles (made using the reverse sides of the fabric for a lighter value) and five simple squares – and that’s it! The “light” blocks are made using the background fabric squares and the “dark” blocks are made with one of the three prints. Therefore, placement and the use of value (by using the reverse sides) gives the added interest of a secondary pattern.
The three colorways of Bohemian Blenders are Peridot, Palomino, and Multi.
The Hoffman version of this pattern lists the fabric details to make it easier for quilters and shop owners to find these exact fabrics.
See the Hoffman California Spring Projects Catalog HERE!
See the original Treasures quilt below. Learn more about the original Treasures HERE.
To summarize, seashells, sea horses, and coral are the seaside motifs in these fabrics by Dan Morris for QT. Both sides of the three fabrics are combined with a soft white background. There are limited quantities of this complete quilt kit in my Etsy shop (while supplies last).
Whether we are finishing old projects, starting new ones, where we stitch can change our outlook.
I work from home – almost all the time. Unless I’m teaching or presenting to a guild, I’m in my basement studio…sewing, designing, blogging, or quilting. Being home a lot shouldn’t make much difference in my productivity, mood, focus or lifestyle. But, wow, is THERE a difference! For some reason, because I HAVE to stay home, everything has changed. In this case, where we stitch makes a real difference.
Today I’m going to share some inspirational friends’ sewing spaces. You’ll see a few sweet “regular” sewing spots and you’ll see some where the quilters have moved their machines for a fresh view or to be nearer to family.
I’d love to share some outdoor sewing views, but it’s too cold and rainy here for that! Those will be coming soon, I hope! So in the meantime, here’s my beach-dreaming quilting spot (in the form of a quilt). See more about this quilt HERE.
Can you relate to “where we stitch”? What’s your go-to spot? Do you have a porch, deck or view to enjoy?
When everything around you changes, taking stock is a natural tendency…
Firstly, when referring to taking stock, I’m not talking about counting toilet paper here, it’s apparently been on everyone’s minds lately!
While reflecting on life, I’ve discovered a few things…
Number one, quilters don’t get bored.
Quilters are used to making it through the “long haul”. Our craft involves a long series of steps. While we quilters may get distracted or want to move on to the next fun project, I’m quite thankful not to be someone who has nothing to do.
Secondly, quilters respond.
So many quilters have responded to the call for home-sewn face masks that it is almost overwhelming. I will not post any pics of masks here. Here are three reasons: 1) depending on who you are making them for or where you live, there are different requirements, opinions, recommendations…it can get confusing! 2) I just ran out without taking a photo, so I need to make more, and 3) If I see one more post of mask pictures…(kidding/not kidding). Click here for the post of face mask ideas, but be aware that there are MANY options not listed!
Thirdly, I have not considered the need for olive drab in my stash!
Olive drab would have been my Marine husband’s choice of color for a mask – I have USMC fabric, but that’s “too flashy”.
Next, I have more stash than I realized.
Anyone? I KNOW I’m not alone! But I must say, it’s been nice to have plenty of sewing supplies when availability is limited on so many other things. Aren’t you glad you collected all that fabric?
Sometimes its good for the soul to work on something pretty.
I believe in being informed (fully informed – not just the headlines, ma’am), but sometimes our brains and emotions need a rest. Do you find that to be the case, too?
I’m not getting as much stitching done as I expected.
I’ve more than doubled my “to do” list in my studio and around the house. So while it’s not on a grand scale, here’s my progress promised in “Quilting Accountability-for FUN”.
My patience with making masks is incredibly short.
You’d think that because quilting is such a long process that requires patience and lots of time that I’d be okay with one mask taking me more than 30 minutes — but I’m NOT. I don’t know why, it just seems they shouldn’t be more than a “10 Minute Table Runner (which, come to think of it, also takes me 30 minutes…hmmm).
Finally, quilters are creative.
There are online quilt shows, lots of shares on Instagram and Facebook, online classes, and more ways to stay social while doing, creating and learning than there is time. Of course, there’s always time for shopping for new patterns and kits HERE!
In summary, I hope you can relate to some of my observations from taking stock. Share your projects HERE on Facebook/Creative Bee Studios.
Please follow, like and share. Bee well, bee safe, everyone!
Suddenly, all our normal life activities have halted. But thankfully, as a creator, I’m cool with trying new things. While sometimes we deny it (no, I won’t mend your jeans), quilters can make more than quilts.
The best laid plans aren’t always an option.
Several weeks ago, I was going through our emergency supplies, removing the food that was WAY past it’s prime and making a list of things we could use. We live in an area of the United States that can see seasonal tornadoes, flooding, and a decent chance for a potentially devastating earthquake. I wasn’t even thinking “virus” at this point.
Sadly, here we are. Weeks ago I noticed there were no surgical face masks available (we have the hard, dust masks in our supplies for clean-up after destruction and I thought with the flu going around, surgical masks might be a good idea for the sick) – that was before I was aware of the recent run.
Therefore, my thoughts went towards making some myself. Note that this was before everyone jumped on this bandwagon! But if you are like me, you might be thinking through this whole scenario of a family member being quarantined to a single room for a long period of time. This leaves the well left to provide food, wash clothing, towels – all the things.
Fortunately, I was able to secure some disposable gloves to help with that scenario. I know if I was the person under quarantine, I’d want to be able to take a walk outdoors. We live in the country, so going outdoors wouldn’t expose anyone. Since we have no masks available here, my only shot at the outdoors could be a washable (bleach-able) version I make myself. Note that this was written prior to the run on bleach!
So, I’ve looked into several designs, those with pockets for inserting a HEPA filters, cute ones, simple ones, free ones, patterns to purchase – there are lots of designs out there. If you are interested, click on a link below.
Above all, I hope to encourage you to remember to play it safe – for you and for those around you. Let’s take time to care of ourselves each day with a bit of creative outlet, sunshine, healthy food and a nice walk!