Meet Lil’ Susie

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!

Image of mini art quilt

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.

Image of Lil' Susie Pattern Cover

Need a larger mason jar bouquet quilt? Read about Grace HERE.

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Better Bias Binding

Some quilters use bias binding all the time, for everything. I understand it is a cleaner finish, molds to the edge of the quilt, and provides more fibers on the edge of the binding. For all of these attributes, I must admit, I don’t use it all that often.

Bias binding, for me, is something I consider when I want to use a bias stripe or if I’m binding a quilt with unusual edges. Since those two things don’t occur all that often for me, I usually need a refresher on bias binding before I begin cutting.

I liken it to the first two steps in paper piecing, when I haven’t done paper piecing in a while. Mastering those first two pieces can take me the LONGEST time. Once my brain grasps it, I’m good to go – but it takes me some time.

Since I AM from the Show-Me state, I do like a good tutorial. It doesn’t have to be a video, but I usually like pictures. How about you?

Image of cutting bias binding

So if you are need of a refresher in cutting and using the bias binding, here is what you’ll learn:

  • How to cut bias strips
  • How to cut one continuous bias strip
  • The difference between single and double bias

Check out these tutorials about bias binding on Pinterest:

Need a fast straight binding solution for your quilt? Check out Lickety-Split Binding HERE!

How about using bias of a stripe for a flange?

Here’s a glimpse of a new pattern made from an old pattern coming soon! Here I have laid out the pieced top and auditioned an outer flange and bias binding. The bias flange is accenting the center of the quilt.

Image of bias binding and flange
Image of Tree Wall Hanging
SHOP JOY and all the #usebothsides patterns in my Etsy shop – Click HERE

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Watch for the new quilt pattern (shown above) coming soon!

A Look at Modern Broderie Perse

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?

Image of Broderie Perse Traditional vs Modern

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?

Merle's Bouquet Quilt
Merle’s Bouquet quilt pattern

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.

Christmas Quilt Modern Broderie Perse
Noelle Quilt Pattern

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 with your 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.

Image of Modern Broderie Perse Tropical Sunset
Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern

Broderie Perse is a great way to add some pizzazz to your applique projects. Doing it a modern way makes it fast and easy!

Sweet Pumpkin Applique Pillow

Need a little fall stitching fun? How about a free wool applique pattern?

Take a little burlap, add a little lace…toss it with plaid, a pumpkin, and sunflowers to make yourself this little fall pillow! This free wool applique pattern pdf link is below.

Pic of Free Wool Applique Pattern Pillow
Sweet Pumpkin Applique

This free wool applique pattern is just a little thank you for your support and friendship. Our creative world can get sidetracked by “life” and sometimes we need just a little something to do. (Or I do anyway.) These kind of projects are just little things I like to sneak into a day (when I’m supposed to be working on something…more serious).

Sometimes small is big.

We can’t always be making big things, right? And by “big”, I mean, time consuming! For instance, I have a very small hand stitching project that’s WAY to big to think about sometimes! I find comfort in a “get ‘er done” project from time to time. I hope you do, too!

This little accent pillow takes just a little fabric and wool, and a scrap of lace and burlap. So make a cup of tea, warm up your favorite fall scents and make yourself a little pillow!

Just find a bit of fall fabric. You’ll need a bit of lace and burlap (or use a coordinating fabric from your stash). Use wool scraps or make yours with fused fabric if you’d like. I use simple stitches (imperfect), but you can jazz yours up if you want – here’s one of my favorite stitching artists: Sue Spargo! Check it out!

I created this little pillow a few years ago (before I knew our cat was allergic to wool) but I still get it out each fall. I miss working with wool – and it’s not entirely the cat’s fault! These days, with more than 40 of my own pattern designs to keep up with, I find I cherish these little projects even more. They are a rare treat. I hope you have some special projects that give you a break from the “everyday”…just now and then.

I hope you have a wonderful day today!

Image of O Holy Night Nativity

See O Holy Night Wool Applique for another free wool applique pattern.

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A Quilted Treasure

This new quilted treasure is an explosion of value differences that take your eye through it like a treasure map!

treas ure trezh’er

Treasure can be defined as a collection of precious things; something of great worth or value.

When naming the original quilt pattern, I chose the word TREASURES because your eye has to search through the subtle pattern to find a single block. I was also using sea-life fabrics of sea horses, coral, and seashells, so the idea of a treasure hunt made sense. Lastly, the secret to this quilt is value – it’s just a treasure chest of FUN!

Image of Quilted Treasure

The quilted treasure you seek in this pattern is all made using one-block – the Contrary Wife block. See the two versions of this one block in the original post: Introducing…Treasures HERE.

Image of Quilted Treasure Block

Last week I introduced you to a quilt and fabric designer, Kathy Doughty, whose quilts you can get lost in. Click HERE to read more. Treasures is a quilt that reads like that to me. In fact the secondary design is easier to see than the individual blocks. And yet, it’s a surprisingly simple quilt to make! Simply make two versions of one block, lay them out to make the design and sew them together. This quilted treasure has a flange for an accent.

Another reason why Treasures is an easy quilt to make: you only need four fabrics for the whole quilt! Use BOTH beautiful sides of three fabrics with one background fabric. It’s that simple!

Treasures made with Hoffman California Fabrics is a special treat! It’s made with their line, Bohemian Blenders, which look like fireworks on display. Click HERE to see their full catalogs of projects made with this and all their fun fabrics showing in shops now!

Since Treasures is one of six designs made for Hoffman California Fabrics I can say with confidence that they have lots of great fabric with both beautiful sides!

Original Treasures quilt kits are available (while supplies last)! SHOP HERE to see all the #usebothsides quilt patterns and kits!

A Quilter Who Inspires

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.

Image of a Quilter who Inspires
Kathy Doughty

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.”

Kathy Doughty

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.

Kathy Doughty’s shop, Material Obsession, is located in Australia. Here’s the link to her shop – check it out!

Kathy is also a fabric designer and, as you might expect, her designs are vibrant and full of interest!

Here is her latest fabric line: New Vintage!

To see another quilter who inspires, click HERE for “Quilt Week Faves”

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SHOP Creative Bee Studios – More than 40 designs that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric! #usebothsides

A Great Blue Quilt

Introducing…Lord Stanley.

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.

Image of a great blue heron

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.

Do you get the feeling this could be like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon? See It’s a Bear Out There.

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.

Image of a great blue heron quilt
Lord Stanley Quilt Pattern and Fabric Kits Available HERE

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.

Image of a great blue heron quilt at poolside
Image of a great blue quilt

SHOP more than 35 designs that use both beautiful sides of fabric in my Etsy shop: Creative Bee Studios.

See more ways to #usebothsides by searching the hashtag on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or your favorite search engine.
Image of Fiona
Fiona Quilt Patternwww.etsy.com/shop/CreativeBeeStudios #usebothsides

Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern

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Want a super easy, super fast quilt that will keep you feelin’ warm all year long? Use both beautiful sides of your fabric!

Brand NEW: Use both beautiful sides of Hoffman California Fabrics to make Tropical Sunset!

Image of Use Both Beautiful Sides of Fabric
Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern by Karla Kiefner of Creative Bee Studios for Hoffman California Fabrics

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.

Image of use both beautiful sides for Phoebee
Phoebee Goes to Market!

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!

Image of Use Both Beautiful Sides Quilt
Varilovable Star using Hoffman California Fabrics!

See more designs using Hoffman fabrics in my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios!

Shades of White in Quilts

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.

Using White in Quilts
Shades of White

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!

Image of White on White Flamingo Fabric
White on White Flamingo Fabric

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.

Also see Monochromatic by Nature

Using white in quilts
Monochromatic by Nature

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.

Image of Using White in Quilts Button Collection
This was my mother-in-law’s white button collection.

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)

To see Phoebee and all her friends, visit my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios. Click HERE.

The Marine Behind the Quilts

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)!

When you need a little help saving Bubbles
Saving Bubbles

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.

When you need a little help holding quilts in the mountains.
Matt holding the quilt in the mountains.
Sneak peek in the mountains…

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?

image of wedding photo

Note: this blog post would not be possible without the help of my Silent Partner. Much love to you, dear.

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