I just love finding beauty in nature and wondering how to incorporate it into a new quilt. I took these photos years ago from my back deck.
How do you choose colors? There are so many options these days for quilters – it can be hard to find time to brainstorm your own ideas if you want to make all the great ideas, kits, and colorways already on the market! Actually, I think that’s what makes quilting such a creative market – there’s something for everyone, every occasion, and time limitation…and…the sky’s the limit!
There are so many more colors in these photos than the five I pulled out, but you get the idea…inspiration is all around us – we just have to look!
It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like red truck Christmas quilt season!
Merry is a red truck Christmas quilt that’s easy and fun to make! You can start your holiday decorating with a fun Christmas wall hanging OR make one for a favorite friend!
Use BOTH sides of one red Christmas fabric on a snowy bed of winter fabrics to make this quilted wall hanging.
This little red truck is dashing through a snowy lane. On a background of winter trees, various sizes of snowflake motifs, cardinals on lighted lines, and glitzy deer, this red truck Christmas quilt is made with both sides of one focus fabric. So toss a tree in the back, add the mirrors, tires, license plate, and reversed details to “trim out” your truck. Pull out your winter/Christmas stash and start auditioning your fabrics!
Shop the “Merry” quilt pattern in my Etsy shop: HERE
Below are the current Christmas quilt patterns available. For each you will use both sides of at least one fabric. With each #usebothsides pattern, you’ll discover the nuances of value as you learn to audition BOTH sides of fabric. I teach you HOW, like what to look for and how to use value to your advantage.
Look at each picture below and notice where the reverse side is used. Look carefully because you’ll see that the reverse is often used in the background as well. Chances are you have fabric in your stash that will work, with beautiful reverse sides. So pull out some stash and turn it over! Once you learn about what makes reverse sides work, you’ll never look at one side of fabric again! It’s almost like doubling your stash (without taking up any more room). Plus, it’s fun and makes choosing fabrics easy!
Many months ago I had the honor of presenting my program to a great (and enthusiastic) group of quilters – the Loose Threads Quilt Guild of St. Peters, Missouri. They had a fantastic turnout for the guild meeting and we had a lot of fun!
That night was a debut of Lil’ Susie, which 15 people received free with purchase (plus another 12 the next day in class).
Take a peek at just a few of their “Grace” class projects in progress:
Notice how the focus fabric makes all the difference? Each one has it’s own personality.
In classes, in addition to making a cute little quilt top, the quilters’ play with their fabrics, learning the nuances of value and how it relates to both sides of the focus fabric and what’s surrounding it.
Once their fabrics are chosen, it’s all about building their bouquets!
Now, take a look at this creative gal – who just happens to be the gal who inspired me many, many years ago to join my local quilt guild. Vickie brought an old window pane to build her “Grace” bouquet!
Isn’t she fabulous?
A happy shout-out to the Loose Threads Quilt Guild – Hope to see you lovely quilters again soon!
This may be my shortest blog post ever, because I am still at a loss for words, more than 24 hours after finishing Kya’s story. I hadn’t planned on sharing the quilt shown below yet, but I need to – I guess it’s my feeble attempt to thank Delia Owens for the insight into a habitat I knew nothing about while enjoying a fantastic and enlightening book.
This guy was hanging around me at sunrise on Pensacola Beach. I found the feather focus fabric later that day at A & E (Pharmacy) Fabrics. The light on his face and throat and the borders are the reverse of the focus fabric – #usebothsides
Thanks to my dear friend, Kim, I’m calling him Lord Stanley.
What book are you reading? Let us all know in the comments!
Give me a good beach quilt in the midst of winter!
Why do I love a good beach quilt? We lived in Pensacola, Florida – twice! The first time (as newlyweds), my husband was a student pilot. The second time, with two little ones, he was a flight instructor. When he left the full-time USMC life, we moved to Missouri. We’ve spent many vacations going back “home” to Pensacola (also home of our favorite: the Blue Angels).
Location, location, location. It’s the key. As you can see in these pics, Sally, Sandy, Fiona, and Bubbles are right at home on the beach!
This weekend we attended a wedding to attend in Baton Rouge, so we decided to grab a couple of beach days on the tail end of the trip. I debated whether I should even bother to take quilts along to photograph…I’m SO glad I DID!
My favorite name for a beach quilt has to be this: Sandy! Doesn’t she look happy in the sand?
Sally the seahorse was flying high in the morning light. She’s made with both beautiful sides of one of my all-time favorite KFC fabrics: Shell Bouquet by Philip Jacobs.
Fiona the friendly flamingo helped me spot a friend at the beach:
It’s hard to spot another quilter at the beach. Therefore, when I passed a gal on the walkway who was wearing a MSQS shirt, I HAD to speak to her! It turns out she’s from Missouri, too! She had just bought fabric from the pharmacy (now A & E Fabrics) to make some #usebothsides quilts! See my blog about her guild HERE: Inspired Quilters Inspire
My husband came up with the name “Bubbles” for this happy guy! See The Marine Behind the Quilts to learn more about his role (my husband’s, not Bubble’s).
You might wonder how those quilts just seemed to hover in the air above the beach…You can see in this blooper: thanks to his quick reaction, my hubby saved Bubbles from a big one! I thought he hid quite well on that little beach chair behind the one-yard square quilts!
There’s simply no way to take pics of all the fabulous quilts at Quilt Week, because 99.9% of them are just THAT! Here are just a few that made me stop, take out my phone and grab a shot. Hope you like them, too!
Oje De Dios by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Candace West was featured with Mary’s whole series at the Rotary. She takes pieces of old quilts, blocks, or parts of quilts and incorporates them into new works with a modern flare. She gave each quilter freedom to do whatever they wanted for the quilting.
Below is Homespun, quilted by Donna Ferrill James. The wonky star was made from a worn quilt with lots of various designs in it. Mary was able to salvage parts by hand-piecing the star points. She used other workable parts as part of the backing.
Below is Fan Flower, quilted by Vicki Maloney. She purchased three fan blocks at an antiques shop and Vicki worked her magic using those three blocks!
See Mary W. Kerr’s work and get her book TwistedHERE.
I like how Mary combined the old with the new, not just the fabrics, but the design and the quilting techniques, too. I have a book somewhere that shows how to combine hand and machine quilting – maybe I’ll give that a look and see where it takes me.
Quilt show aren’t just about prizes, ribbons, and vendors (whaaat?), are they? It’s about inspiration, aspirations, goals, achievements, sparks, and happiness.
Watch for more quilt week pics to come! Meanwhile, enjoy your quilting journey!
This quilt began with a fat quarter bundle from one fabric line. Using the “Hex and More” ruler and 2 1/2″ strips, I made lots of half-hexies and proceded to lay them out to consider my options.
My goal was to create a blended quilt version (see Blended Quilts book) of the classic Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I tried many combinations but the look really came together when I started to use the reverse side of the fabrics for the outer flower rings.
Each black center and first ring are the front of the fabric. I could have excluded the lightest (white) fabric to make the changes in value more apparent, but again, I was trying for a more subtle approach.
Start your packing – it’s time to take your quilting on the road!
Below is my 2019 Quilt Retreat List. I have found that you can’t make a good list if you aren’t clear on your retreat objectives…sounds official, doesn’t it?
Is your retreat purely for productivity? Is it social? Do you spend time shopping? Going out to eat? Do you eat quick bites on location or carefully planned meals? Is your goal to relax? Did you answer, “All of the above?”
I think that’s why i take so many items on retreat – I want to pack (no pun intended) EVERYthing I can into a few days – high productivity, great fabric shopping, relaxation, yummy food, rest, movies, music, walks, and fun with friends…is that too much to ask?
I hope this “official” list helps you on your next quilt retreat – or even just a bit of quilting on the road…
*Sewing machine, electrical cord, pedal, extra light bulb, feet, manual, bobbins, Q-tips for cleaning.
*Sewing table, extra lighting.
*Fabric, patterns, projects, kits, felt-backed table cloth or other design wall with tacks, painters tape, or 3M strips for hanging.
*Personal items which might include drinks, snacks, rice bag to heat for sore shoulders, comfortable clothing and walking shoes, pain relief, charger cords, overnight bag and products, chocolate, and popcorn.
NOW for the REST of the story: a reveal of everything that is actually in my spinning work station (I use it in my studio, plus it’s ready to hit the road on a moment’s notice. Note: I’ve never really cleaned it out before!)
Top left to bottom right: Fusible web (hmmm, not my favorite kind, so it must be for emergencies only), pressing spray, mini iron, chain-piecing cutter, very cute rice bag (for sore muscle, compliments of friend Donna), various rotary blades, The Purple Thang, a gripper tool, bandages, rotary cutter, two styles of Karen K. Buckley scissors (definitely a fave), Pre-cuts guide for fabric purchase emergencies, thumb tacks, pins, cord wrap, thread, Q-tips, battery, thread and button (?), needles, a plethora of markers and pencils, snipping scissors, Fabric Fuse (never used it), the back of something which apparently held batteries, calculator (fabric purchase emergency?) guild directory (what’s her name?), obsolete business cards, note pads, another gripper tool, clips (hmmm, for hanging table cloth design wall?), True Grips (truly a favorite), and last, but not least, Martelli cutters (I am an ambidextrous cutter, so I use both left and right-handed ones). Whew!
What have I missed? Tell me in the comment section below!
To the tune of “On the Cover of the Rolling Stones”, I feel like singing! At the close of 2018, I happened onto my pattern, “Holly”, featured on the cover of a Hoffman California Fabrics’ catalog!
It began with an email asking if I (along with four or five other designers) would like to try our hand at designing with a new Christmas line of fabric. It’s my understanding that other designers use digital fabric swatches and their computers to design patterns. But since I use BOTH sides of the fabric, I need the real thing!
Click HERE to see the Winter Projects 2019 Catalog by Hoffman California Fabrics.
We had a week for the deadline – but since I needed the fabric shipped to me and then I needed to ship the finished quilt back to California, I had less than that to design and make the quilt!
Frankly, I was in a hurry! Add to the mix that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I was driving six hours on Saturday, attending our daughter’s show, driving four on Sunday, and staying in a hotel (with terribly inadequate lighting) until Tuesday AND, until I could see and audition BOTH sides of the fabric, I had no idea if my idea would work!
Working with both sides of fabric means lots of value-checking. You can’t tell from the front of fabric if the reverse will work. Some fabrics have great reverses and some just don’t. Click HERE for “The Tricky Traits of Value”.
The Christmas tree panel is gorgeous on its own – who would want to cut that apart? I certainly wouldn’t cut it to make another tree. I was also pretty certain that other designers would be designing borders around the whole panel, so mine had to be different.
I started to focus on the fat-quarter panel they sent. I had received a whole box of fabric to choose from and I knew if I wanted to use this panel, I couldn’t just use one fat-quarter of it or even half of them- I needed to use the whole panel. After auditioning many combinations, I decided I could use the panel – BOTH sides of the panel!
So…once again, it all comes down to fabric values. In classes, I have quilters audition many background fabrics and take lots of black and white pictures to see how their background fabrics “play” with their focus fabric. The smaller accents strips are allowed to be a bit “louder”, but the larger pieces need to provide interest as opposed to distraction. So take a look at this picture of the panel. Lots of dark fabric, right? Really pretty fabric…but more darks than lights.
Now look at a close-up of the quilt. Do you recognize those fabrics? …same fat quarters from the panel – just using the other side! Most of the accents strips are made from the front side. The bows, bells, stripes, plaid, and Christmas words make this an exciting background for the Holly wreath. One of the fat-quarters had two stockings printed on it. I used the one on the wreath and I embroidered the second stocking for the quilt label.
The wreath is made using fused holly leaf shapes from the Christmas tree panel. Being a digital print, the fabric has a sparkle of light to it, making the wreath sparkle as well.
Even the pieced binding is made from the fat-quarter panel!
This is a fun quilt to make and so easy to shop for if you use the two panels! While I have no official timeline, my guess is that these fabrics will be in shops by summer!
If you have Christmas yardage in your stash – you can use it! I wrote this pattern to work with the panels as shown OR using your own choices of fabrics. The same method applies to both – it’s all about the value!
Here’s how Holly look inside the catalog!
I designed Phoebee 2.0 using BOTH sides of Hoffman California Fabrics “Electric Garden” as the focus fabric -it’s available in shops now!
Shop all my patterns at my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE)
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I love nothing better than seeing quilts in nature! You’ve seen “Summer Quilting” (click HERE) to see quilts both poolside and on the beach), so I thought it’d be only fair to share some winter-themed quilts and a few with nature.
First up is a McKenna Ryan quilt pattern. I purchased the kit from Missouri Star Quilt Company several years ago – the year of the bear in our yard (Click HERE to read “It’s a Bear Out There” and see the markings). This bear was supposed to have a red cap and scarf, but I changed it up by using the wool from a sweater which was in my late mother-in-law’s stash. It makes the quilt more special for me and I feel I can keep the quilt on display throughout the winter.
Next is quilt is called Winter Blessings and was kit I purchased from Shabby Fabrics. It was so fast and easy to put together – I highly recommend their kits if that’s what you like. Everything was labeled and organized beautifully. It was kinda like a paint-by-number, only a lot more fun and waaaaay better outcome!
The next photo shows just a bit of a quilt (with a Buttercup bomb) that I made long ago in my second-ever quilt class. It was supposed to be bed-size and I actually thought I would finish it my first day in class! I only got it to the throw-size stage (and not during that class), but it’s a favorite!
Here is my latest version of JOY Quilt Pattern. I used a Hoffman panel for the tree (front side) and gifts (reverse side) on a scrappy, snowy background. See all my patterns in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Snow makes a lovely background for quilt photography.
Hope you are enjoying some warm stitching time during these short winter days.