Monday, December 3, 2018

Me and Yellow Green

Do you have a color that you don't care for, seldom use in your quilts, but seem to like it when everyone else uses it? For me that color is yellow-green.

They say (not sure who "they" are) we should use colors that aren't our favorites. For me that would be orange (not going there), purple (it's growing on me) and yellow-green.

Several weeks ago I decided to make Cheryl's quilt Midnight Mystery. It's been on my to-do list and I was excited for Alison Glass's new line Road Trip. I ordered fabric to make the quilt, including a yellow-green solid to use in the background of the star. It's a color I seem to like when combined with teal, which this quilt would feature prominently.

Excited to dive in, I made a block...

I didn't love it, so I made another one...

Then I thought maybe it was the pink...

To me, it was actually better. But then weeks went by and I had no desire to pick the project up again. That was a sign that it wasn't working for me.

This weekend, I found enough of a light aqua in my stash to start over with a new star background...

I liked it! And made another...

And another...

Then decided to cut out the remaining 6 blocks. I think I'm on a roll.

Many years ago, I heard in a class that every quilt should have an ugly fabric. As a new quilter, I took it to heart and did exactly that. And then I disliked that ugly fabric every time I looked at the quilt. And never again did I use an ugly fabric.

I've learned that I'm not going to use colors I dislike. You may see bit of yellow-green in a future quilt, but only in minuscule amounts. I do think it provides a nice little pop of color.

I went a bit crazy buying Alison Glass fabric with all the holiday sales. One out of about 12 pieces was yellow-green. I think that'll work for me!

How about you? Do you use colors or fabrics you dislike?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How to Make a Quilt Pattern Your Own

If you've hung around in this space very long, you probably already know that I seldom use a pattern to make the quilt exactly as pictured. Part of the fun of making a quilt for me is the surprise element! I really like not knowing what the final project will look like!

Maybe you're different. Maybe you like the safety and reassurance that, after you spend money and time making a quilt, your efforts will pay off with a finished product that you absolutely love. I get that, and if that's what you enjoy - then feel free to follow the designer and make it exactly as pictured.

Or maybe you're more like me? When I find a pattern I love, my first thought is how can I love it in a different way? I like the challenge and the surprise element totally motivates me (at least in the beginning, until I see what the result will be). Does this method result in disasters? Well, maybe disaster is too strong a word, but it certainly does sometimes result in a quilt that's not absolutely perfect. But it's a risk I'm willing to take for the fun of quilting!

So today I have 6 ideas on how to change up a pattern and make it your own:

Tip One

Probably the easiest thing to do is to completely change the colors. The more drastic the change, the riskier, but often with awesome results.

For example, this is my version of Elizabeth Hartman's cover quilt. She used bold graphic colors, and I used soft colors from Bonnie and Camille fabric. You might not know it's the same quilt?
Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman
You may remember my Flight Path quilt from earlier this year and my struggles (and seam ripping) in using a completely different color combination from the original. And after all those frustrations, I ended up with a quilt that I love!
Flight Path by Alison Glass
Changing the background from light to dark can be a really dramatic change to the look of your final quilt. This is "Funky Christmas" from my book, Simply Modern Christmas.

Simply Modern Christmas

Tip Two

Change the setting of the blocks in the pattern. This can be an easy and very interesting way to get a new look for a pattern.

This block from "Nutmeg Stars" by Fig Tree Quilts, got a completely new and more modern look by changing not only the colors, but the setting also. In my version on the right, the blocks are set straight with simple white sashing. She got so many requests for this, that Joanna redid the pattern and called it Nutmeg Stars II.
Nutmeg Stars and Nutmeg Stars II
How about adding some simple piecing to the sashing? A simple traditional Dresden Block got an interesting setting by adding a small Nine-Patch in the sashing.

I added some piecing to create stars in the sashing of this quilt that was created from blocks made by my Redbird Bee mates.

Have you ever thought of doing a half-drop of your blocks in alternate rows? It's a super easy change and can be so interesting as you can see in my Squash Blossom quilt!

Tip Three

My third tip is to rotate the blocks. Placing your block on point can make it look totally different!

Garden Lattice from Simply Modern Christmas
In my Six Inch Sampler quilt, I rotated every other block and thought it created a really interesting result...

Tip Four

Remove some of the blocks from the design creating negative space. This is one I'd like to try to use a bit more, but here are 2 examples...

The mini quilt I received from Greenville MQG after serving as president for a year. They took my "Kiss Block" and created a setting with negative space for signatures.

This is a quilt that uses an  "Hour Glass" block, done in all Amy Butler fabric.  I randomly eliminated blocks in the setting...

Tip Five

Change the size of the block! Go big or go mini - changing the size can make the quilt look so different. It's fairly simple math to resize a block and if you need some instructions, do a Google search - there's lots of them. (My tip - always work with the finished size of the block, resize and then add seam allowance)

The Swoon quilt has been one of my favorites! The original is 24" square and I love how different it looks in a smaller size (hard to tell from a picture, but makes a big difference in real life!)...

You can make a mini of your favorite pattern for a totally different quilt. My Garden Lattice quilt in mini (instructions here)...

Tip Six

Make the background of one block a different fabric/color. This is another technique that I need to try more often. My quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's Book "Practical Guide to Patchwork"...

Well, that was fun looking back at how I've made a pattern my own. I'm sure there are more ideas! If you've tried any other ways to change up a pattern, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

I'm linking up with Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs and Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl for their Tips and Tutorials Festival. Be sure to visit all the other link ups for some great tips!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

SC MQG Mini Quilt Swap

Our Greenville Modern Quilt Guild partnered with our fellow South Carolina Guilds and sponsored a mini quilt swap! I've only done a couple of swaps in the past, so I was excited to give this one a go. We did our swapping last weekend, so I can finally reveal what I made...

The theme of the swap was to "personalize it". We were to stalk our partners on social media and use the information from the sign-up form to make a mini designed specifically for the recipient.

My partner was Nicole from the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild. One of the things I found in her IG account was a photo of a Bear Paw block that she had painted in her sewing room. That was my jumping off point.

The design features Quarter Log Cabin blocks for the squares of the Bear Paw block. I found this idea on IG in a block deigned by Heidi from Fabric Mutt. I used my partner's favorite colors of purple, green and navy.

The mini is quilted with straight lines in the block and free motion in the background.

The backing is this beautiful print from Jessica Swift for Art Gallery Fabrics. I'm excited that I have some scraps of the fabric I used left over. I love them together and look forward to making something else with them!

I'm always very nervous making a quilt for another quilter, but I'm happy with how this one turned out and I think she is too!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Modern Quilts Block by Block

I'm excited today to be included in the book tour for Emily Dennis' new book Modern Quilts Block by Block! Emily sent a copy of the book to each of us on the tour, and asked us to make a block from the book. I've loved Emily's clean, fresh designs for years, so I was confident that her book would be a winner. And I wasn't disappointed!

I love block based quilts! Do you find it relaxing to sit and piece block by block? The quilts are all made from easily pieced blocks, that have a traditional feel, but are refreshingly modern. Right up my alley!

I chose to make a block called "First Place", the quilt you see on the cover.

I definitely would love to make this as a whole quilt, but for now, I turned my test block into a small wall quilt or table topper. Some straight line quilting and a binding finished it off nicely.

Be sure to check out all the quilts from the book tour on Instagram under the hashtag #modernquiltsblockbyblock

You can purchase the book directly from Emily's Shop or from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fletching Quilt

My latest quilt finish is a quilt named "Fletching". The pattern is found in the book, Scraps, Inc. a book of 15 scrap inspired quilts by various designers. The design is an interpretation of fletchings or feathers, at the end of an arrow and was designed by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time.

I've had this book for a couple of years and this is one of the patterns that's been on my radar, waiting for the right colors and fabrics.

This Anna Maria Horner print was the inspiration for the colors I used in the quilt. It's one of my favorite prints of hers and when I found it on sale, I bought a lot! It made a great backing. I also had some yardage of the solid Free Spirit Jade that complimented it perfectly. To be honest, I wasn't sure how this color would work for a background, but I decided to give it a try and ended up being pretty happy with the results.

I pulled coordinating colors of fuchsia, plum, red, gray and white from my stash and pieced the blocks. They are paper pieced, but such a simple design. They came together fairly quickly and were perfect for using my freezer paper piecing method.

When it came time to quilt the top, I had just attended a lecture by Cheryl Brickey at our Greenville MQG meeting called "Quilt As Desired". Cheryl gave us a logical method of determining how to quilt a top. My first thought had been straight line quilting (I love how it looks and really kind of like doing it :) But I've been feeling like I use it too frequently and it may be taking the easy way out. So I went through all the steps, considered all the possibilities and ended up with straight line quilting! What do you think? I think it really compliments the piecing!

My next dilemma was what to use for binding. I tried tons of options, reds, pink, grays and more. Nothing excited me and seemed to work. As I looked at the unbound quilt, I decided that really liked the way it looked without binding. A facing might have been an option, but I decided to go with the jade I'd used for the background. I've never  bound (and that's a lot of bindings) with the background color, but I love how it looks! Will definitely consider that again!

Be sure to check out the original quilt from the book - you may notice that mine is set a bit differently in the way the blocks are turned. I love when I can change things up a bit!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Half Rectangle Quilt

I'm back with another quilt I finished up this Summer!

On a whim one day, I bought Rashida's newest line from Cotton and Steel, Paper Cuts. After removing some of the mustardy yellows, I added some C+S basics and tried to come up with a mindless, simple design to use. I thought of half-square triangles, but decided on half-square rectangles.

Was I wrong when I thought this would be mindless! The math for half-rectangles doesn't work out quite as easily as half-squares. After a bit of internet search, I ended up using this chart from Blocloc for my oversized cutting measurements.  I didn't have the ruler so once the blocks were sewn, I just kind of winged my way through the trimming.

I've since found this tutorial from Then Came June, which gives a good explanation of the trimming.

Once I got the hang of it, this quilt was fairly easy and relaxing to piece. To be honest, it's not one of my favorite quilts, so I did some pretty simple quilting using my walking foot and outlining the seams.

Chances are this one will be donated to charity at some point. It's cozy, soft and has a bit of charm :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Flight Path Quilt

It's good to be back! Unwittingly, I took a two month hiatus from the blog. It's seems with travel, visitors and some weather too rainy for photos this Summer, my quilt production has slowed down. But of course, I'm still sewing a bit every day :)

This quilt has taken me a while to complete. I've gone through ups and downs with it in terms of fabric and quilting. The pattern is "Flight Path" by Alison Glass. I've had the pattern for some time, loved the cover version, but really wanted to try and do something different with it.

As much as I loved the bright colors in the original quilt, I wanted to see how the pattern would look with a completely different look. Flipping through a West Elm catalogue, I felt inspired by the neutral, minimalist, mid-century style. I decided to go with blues, grays, navy and a pop of gold for added spark. I looked for modern geometric prints and used prints from Carolyn Friedlander and the Aligned Collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. It took a couple tries {and fabric purchases} to get the background shades right, but I persevered.

After some time with my seam ripper, I finally had the top completed and I have to admit I didn't love it. I also had no ideas on how to quilt it. I showed some friends one day and they noticed how unusual a color palette it was for me especially with the bright gold and said I just needed to finish it! We brainstormed some quilting ideas and I was determined to carry on!

I ended up quilting one of my favorite, go-to designs, organic straight lines. If you're not familiar with them, it's a super easy design to quilt with a walking foot. You just quilt edge to edge and don't try to keep the lines perfectly straight. 

And now I love it!

For a backing, I used Kaufman's Carolina Gingham. I've used this line for backing in the past and I love that it's fairly inexpensive and results in a really soft drape for the quilt. The binding is the dark navy and frames the quilt nicely {another texting consultation with some friends!}

Do you ever go through stages of liking, not liking and liking a quilt? Sometimes we just need to power through! Hope to be back soon with a couple other Summer finishes!

My quilt has feet!