Mr. Snowman is a fun, little punch-needle design. He’s hitting the slopes of trees and swirls in colors to match the quilt you see in the background.
This design is fast and easy. It’s slightly less than four inches square. The cute size fits perfectly on a mini art canvas. Add the little easel to display your mini stitched artwork.
Since punch-needle is a compact, hand-held craft, Mr. Snowman is easy to pack for travel. You can even work it while you ride. If you aren’t familiar with punch-needle, check out the many tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube. Click HERE for an introductory tutorial on Pinterest. There are also numerous books and patterns on the subject.
Generally, punch needle requires a good hoop that tightens well. You’ll want your surface tight like a drum at all times. That makes it easy for your needle to punch into the cloth.
Next, when you make a punch-needle stitch, the need head is punched downward through the back side (top) of your hooped cloth. When you pull your needle back up, it leaves a tiny loop on the front (underneath) side of your hoop. The size of the loop depends on the size of your needle punching length and thread.
You’ll work Mr. Snowman punch needle from the back side of your hoop. You can turn the hoop over periodically to see your progress.
You might want to practice getting your punches evenly spaced, but the learning curve for learning punch needle is quite easy to achieve.
For all of the handwork involved, quilting today also involves a lot of technology.
First, we can design our own patterns with software. Secondly, we check our phone apps for backing or binding requirements. Thirdly, you might use your phone camera to take pictures of fabric to match. (Learn how to audition BOTH beautiful sides of fabric using your phone*). Another option is to digitize your own embroidered labels or quilt blocks. We shop online and instantly download quilt patterns. As a result, all this technology can speed up our quilting experience.
Digital quilting technology gives you more options than ever before.
Pinterest, Etsy, designing software, and phone apps are just a few ways quilting technology helps us. With a click of a button you can add a border to that new quilt on EQ8. Add new stitches to your own embroidery design. Download your new favorite pattern online.
My current favorite phone apps are the Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculators, Missouri Star, Etsy, and even Monogram Lite. You can get apps for tablets and Ipads, too!
Digital quilting patterns give you immediate access. Just download and print on your own printer. It’s easy and instantly rewarding!
First, see a whole board of digital patterns from a variety of designers HERE.
In response to numerous requests for instant downloads, I’ve added digital versions of some titles. Many #usebothsides patterns include large paper templates. Therefore, I limit the downloadable versions to ones that fit a regular sheet of paper OR that won’t require monumental enlargements. See more about this at the VariLovable Star Digital Pattern post.
NEW digital quilting patterns added in my Etsy shop: Creative Bee Studios are shown as follows. Click on the photo to link directly to the product.
Check back for new digital download quilt patterns!
Lastly, technology helps us find quilt gift ideas. The digital side of quilting also gives use the tools to create our own works of art. So think about how you use technology in your everyday quilting. Do you create your own designs? Do you get inspiration from Pinterest or shop websites?
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Lil’ Susie is a cute mini art quilt made with both sides of one focus fabric!
Find a favorite floral fabric and some scrappy background fabrics. Snag yourself an bit of time and make up this mini art quilt TODAY!
Lil’ Susie is a mini art quilt that’s a pint-size of fun!
Lil’ Susie is a miniature version of similar #usebothsides patterns. You use value to audition and choose fabrics. Notice the mason jar is a lighter version of the floral focus fabric? It’s the reverse! There’s no tracing of flowers onto fusible, because you cut straight from your fabric motif.
Choosing a focus fabric is key.
Size is something to consider when you choose your floral focus fabric. The larger the motif, the fewer you need to cut. Of course, the smaller the printer, the more you need to cut. There’s so need to fret over the cutting, because these quilts don’t require timely precision cutting. Lil’ Susie is a miniature quilt. Therefore, you can choose a fairly small print and still enjoy the process!
Each #usebothsides patterns teaches you how to audition both sides of your focus fabric and backgrounds fabrics. It’s easy to do and once you know how, you may never look at one side of fabric again! You also get a bonus in each pattern: Prairie Point Hanging Method.
Need a larger mason jar bouquet quilt? Read about Grace HERE.
Discover Modern Broderie Perse – a combination of new techniques and lovely traditions.
Use both beautiful sides of floral fabrics in many creative ways!
But first, what is modern Broderie Perse?
There’s a long history of Broderie Perse with origins dating back to the 17th Century in Europe. See more information about Broderie Perse HERE .
Fabric artists would cut around the artwork on fabric, often using subjects like flowers or birds, and hand applique them to their quilt work. Usually you’d consider this work to be exquisite, heirloom quality. Many hours of hand-stitching was involved in this method.
Fast forward to today’s modern Broderie Perse…
Today’s quilters have so many options and opportunities for quilt-making, most tend to make more quilts – and make them quickly – rather than spend hundreds of hours on one. How about you? Do “life events” (graduations, weddings, babies, etc.) push you at times towards faster, more “do-able” quilt projects?
So what is Modern Broderie Perse? The basic concept of using floral (or other) motifs on fabric is still the same. You cut around the motifs and attach them to your quilt. Here you can see a variety of ways to use the motifs of your fabrics in a modern way while getting the traditional look and feel of Broderie Perse.
As you can see below, Flora is a quick project. The happy sugar skull is made with the reverse while her floral crown and binding are made from the front of the fabric. The key to making Broderie Perse modern is the use of fusible web and combining the edge finishing with quilting.
I recommend using a lightweight paper-backed fusible for these quilts. You’ll usually start by applying the fusible to about fat-quarter or smaller piece of fabric. Use a good pair of serrated scissors to cut around the motifs. Depending on your project, you might cut groupings of flowers all in one or partial flowers. You’ll see on some projects, I’ll use a bird, bee, or other motif from the fabric in the design. How many pieces you need to cut will depend on your focus fabric and your project. Once you arrange your Broderie Perse pieces on your quilt, you’ll fuse them with an iron – like you would a fusible template project.
See more examples of both traditional and modern Broderie Perse HERE.
The second element of making your Broderie Perse project quickly is securing the fabric to the quilt withyour quilting stitches. This involves a doodling or tracing movement in your quilt, which is very free-form and forgiving. You can follow the motifs to add dimension to your Broderie Perse.
Broderie Perse is a great way to add some pizzazz to your applique projects. Doing it a modern way makes it fast and easy!
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.
This guy is hot off the quilt pattern presses. But why call this a great blue quilt?
(And what’s with that name, you might ask?)
Of course, Lord Stanley is a Great Blue Heron. I met this guy on the beach over a year ago. He was hanging around the fishermen and didn’t mind a bit that I got close to him. That’s when I started sketching a great blue quilt.
To understand this “blue” thing, you gotta know a bit about my family. We used to live in Pensacola (twice). My husband, a former Marine fighter pilot of F/A-18 Hornets, introduced me to air shows and the Blue Angels thirty years ago. The “Blues” do a beach air show every year on Pensacola Beach- the best air show EVER. So the beach and the Blues are a thing for us.
Enter Lord Stanley. Last year while I was creating this Great Blue Heron quilt using BOTH beautiful sides of BLUE fabric, the St. Louis Blues hockey team were in the playoffs for the coveted prize…the Stanley Cup.
When the STL Blues WON and I needed a name for this guy, well…”Lord Stanley” stuck!
The traditional prized cup now known as the Stanley Cup was purchased in 1893 by Canada’s governor-general Lord Stanley of Preston.
Now anytime my family sees a Great Blue Heron, they tell me they’ve seen Lord Stanley!
Use both sides of one focus fabric for Lord Stanley (bird body), his throat details (reverse), the borders (reverse), and the binding! Make an easy, scrappy background beach scene for this guy and he’ll be right at home, wherever he’s hanging.
Tropical Sunset is that quilt pattern! Look complicated? Nope!
Lots of cutting measuring and seams? NOPE!
It’s basically one background piece and three borders. That’s IT!
You use both beautiful sides of three fabrics (and the RIGHT side for one border) on one background piece!
Tropical Sunset starts with a beautiful beach sunset background. Next you add the awesome chipped paint window frame and fused window panes. Then you stitch a “stop” border and one “wallpaper” border. Finally, you place your tropical bouquet of flowers and the woven base in the window sill. The result is you’ve got one pretty sunset to take you through the year!
Tropical Sunset is made with Hoffman California Fabrics’ new line “Meet Me in Paradise”.
Because it’ll be a little while before “Meet Me in Paradise” is available in stores, I’ve included how to piece your own beachy background panel in the pattern. Like in every #usebothsides pattern, I’ll teach you how to audition BOTH sides of fabrics. Therefore, you can grab from your stash and whip up this happy quilt right away!
As with all “Use BOTH Sides” quilt patterns, you discover the nuances of value as you learn to use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric!
My first design using Hoffman California Fabrics was Phoebee 2.0 seen below.
You only need to use both beautiful sides of only THREE fabrics for VariLovable Star– shown below using Hoffman California Fabrics Floral Rhapsody.
VariLovable Star is made using one block and three fabrics. Therefore, you’ll start with a small Variable Star block and use the reverse of the fabric for the background “light” pieces. Then you nestle that star by using it as the center of the next largest star. The center star and the largest, outer star are matching. The quilt is bound with the fabric of the third (orange) star. This quilt goes together quickly and really makes a statement…or you might say, splash!
Years ago a sweet lady named Betty gave her opinion about using white in quilts. That soft-spoken piece of quilting advise has stuck with me like a whisper in my ear.
Using white in quilts can be more controversial than one might think.
I would venture to say that most quilters (or anyone buying paint for their home) knows that white isn’t necessarily white. There’s off-white, cream, cotton, paper, snow, shadow, vanilla, milk, white wash, cloud…the lists of whites goes on and one!
Quilters know they can use a fabric that isn’t actually white but it could “read” as white. One example of fabrics that use varying shades of white within themselves are “white on white” fabrics. Here is one example – which I LOVE – because this white on white has flamingos on it!
The definition of white from the dictionary is “the achromatic color of maximum lightness’.
White is the color that is perceived by the eye when exposed to all the visible wavelengths of light. Off-white colors can vary in hue, saturation and intensity.
So how does the definition of white relate to quilting?
According to Betty, one should never use pure white in a quilt. She believed it was too harsh on the eye. Now, does this mean that Betty never made a white-white quilt? I don’t know. I have definitely made quilts with bright white fabrics in them.
However, the context in which Betty was speaking when she gave me this advice was regarding the thread to choose for quilting a quilt with pure white fabric. She suggested using a warmer white. (I recall being a bit shocked.) She said the use of a softer white in the quilting thread provides a rest for the eye and softens the look of the entire quilt.
I remembered Betty’s advice when I used to quilt for customers. I chose an ivory thread, even on pure white quilts. It “read” as white on even the whitest quilts, but it softened their look.
In 2017, when I chose the background fabrics for Phoebee (my first pattern), I wanted to really go wild and use many varying shades of white. While it wasn’t necessarily my goal, I found that the use of varying shades of white provided a subtle interest in my designs. It also made me more “free” in my choices (and a bit of a rebel?). I felt I was challenging myself and eventually my student quilters to try to combine fabrics that don’t “match”. More than 35 patterns later, one of my favorite part of designing patterns is choosing the varying background shades.
I don’t get to see my friend, Betty, very often – especially now. But I think of her often and with admiration. She provided a valuable piece of advise to a novice quilter. You just never know how something you say today can stay with a person more than sixteen years later. Thanks, Betty! (hugs)
Sometimes we all need a little help. Who do you turn to when you need advise, ideas, or help? Friends…family..neighbors?
I’m going to say, “all of the above”! When I need a little help with my projects, I find that most people are happy to lend a hand, especially my quilter friends.
My next door neighbor has helped me with photo shoots and quilt advise. Another neighbor comes up with pattern names. Several great friends have helped me fold and stuff patterns for orders. There was even a quilter who help me do a photo shoot on the beach! (She was wearing a quilting tee shirt so I struck up a conversation. It turned out we’d met before – we had a blast!)
That being said, when I need a little help I most often turn to my self-acclaimed “silent partner”. My husband, Matt, calls himself this when he names a new quilt pattern (“Phoebee” and “Bubbles” come to mind) or offers business advise. While that’s not exactly how “silent” works, it’s still helpful!
Since I happen to live with the guy, he’s easy to tap for additional help – like holding quilts for photography! While I appreciate the advise and names, holding quilts is where he excels. Except for the occasional tired arms, Matt doesn’t complain or moan or rush me to get the perfect shot. He’s been known to dive for a falling quilt so it doesn’t touch the ground and he’s saved more than one quilt from a crashing wave (see Quilts at the Beach)!
It doesn’t take a Marine to hold up a quilt…but it sure is nice to have one.
Most recently, we visited the Rocky Mountain National Park for our oldest daughter’s quaint wedding at one of the most beautiful natural venues God created, Sprague Lake.
While technically this wedding was “plan b”, it was nothing short of perfect. This was especially so for Paige and Trevor who love national parks and All Things Hiking. After the ceremony, toasts, and celebrations ended, my husband said, “Let’s go get that picture”.
You see, I’d made a wedding quilt for Paige and Trevor out of National Parks fabrics and the design was “mountains ranges” (name still pending). Matt knew I didn’t want to leave the beautiful mountains without a photo shoot of that quilt first. But I knew he had been in his dress blues since about 6 am that morning. By 3 in the afternoon, he was hot, tired, and uncomfortable.
We found a spot to pull over where there was a rushing creek with mountains in the distance. I noted that the quilt would drag the ground and he said, “Give me the pole”. He proceeded to walk on the small platform on the edge of the bridge. When he was confident he could hold the quilt there, we slid it onto the pole and he held it up while I took about ten minutes of photos and videos.
I hope to debut this pattern soon and share some fantastic video clips I captured…with a little help, of course!
I have to share just a few snapshots from the wedding, right?
Note: this blog post would not be possible without the help of my Silent Partner. Much love to you, dear.
Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more!
Christmas (Quilts) in July? Yes, it’s a thing! Ours is a craft that requires lead time!
Let’s think of happy days ahead, with family and friends and gifts of joy and comfort. I love the idea of combining two of my favorite things: Christmas and quilts. I hope you’ll enjoy this month to contrast our lovely, warm summer with a taste of the crisp winter to come.
Noelle is quilted wall hanging pattern of a cute little pair of ice skates (like you might hang on your front door at Christmas time) with beautiful bouquets of winter flowers spilling out their tops. Her background is snowy white (scrappy) with fun winter-y accent fabrics. Like most #usebothsides quilt patterns, this one is fast and easy!
Go check your stash! I bet you have a Christmas floral in there, just aging for the right quilt! You’ll use your focus fabric for the skates (reverse), bouquets, and the binding!
Years ago I made myself a Christmas jumper out of this beautiful poinsettia fabric. I couldn’t bear to part with that jumper because I loved the fabric. I cut it apart and will use it as my focus fabric in my ice skates quilt!
Next pull out your winter motif fabrics! Just five fabrics and two accent strips make up the background. Super fast!
With the Noelle quilt pattern, you’ll learn how to audition both sides of fabrics to pick just the right focus and background fabrics.
The technique for making your bouquets is what I like to call Modern Broderie Perse. (Click HERE for more information about Broderie Perse.) Basically, it’s fusible applique while using your fabric motif as your cutting guide! See, it is fast and easy! And if your fabric has bonus motifs, like pine cones or birds, you can add those to your masterpiece! Quilters at workshops and classes seem to have the best time arranging their bouquets!
The best part is, once you make Noelle, you’ll know the technique for making all the broderie perse #usebothsides patterns!