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!
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!
Look for more reviews and new patterns coming soon!
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!