May 21, 2019

Quilts are Blooming

April showers bring May flowers . . . or so they say. It's May 21st and I woke up to snow this morning so anything goes here in Colorado. Snow aside, I have been spending a lot of time in 2019 working with my older floral stash. My April creating brought several blooming quilts to completion in May.

Irish Chain quilt by Springleaf Studios

These three were recently finished and gifted to my wonderful sisters-in-law while on a recent road trip to the Midwest. I don't have siblings but consider myself extra blessed that I gained 3 sisters when I married my husband. I love them all and it gave me such pleasure to make personalized quilts for each of them that reflected their individual style.

floral quilts by Springleaf Studios

First up was this simple Irish chain for Jan. She lives in Kansas also known as the sunflower state so my collection of sunflower prints fit perfectly. She loves sunflowers and all things Kansas.

Irish Chain quilt by Springleaf Studios

sunlfower Irish Chain quilt by Springleaf Studios

Next up was this half square triangle quilt in lovely lavenders and purples for Nancy in Kansas City. She's going through some tough times right now with her health so I hope these flowers will remind her of better times spent in her garden and of her Mom who often wore lavender and light blue.

floral HST quilt by Springleaf Studios

floral HST quilt by Springleaf Studios

Last was this multi-colored Irish chain for Candy. She loves hostas and the colors purple and magenta so the hosta print and the peonies and other purple flowers were a great fit. I even put in a couple of sunflowers as a nod to years spent living in Kansas before their move to Iowa.

floral Irish Chain quilt by Springleaf Studios

floral Irish Chain quilt by Springleaf Studios

It was so much fun to gift each of these wonderful women in my life with a quilt. I hope they will be loved and used and brighten their days with positive energy and warmth. It feels nice knowing that some of my pretty fabrics have been put to good use.

I accumulated more than my fair share of traditional floral fabrics years ago when I did a lot of impressionist style quilts. Below is one of the early impressionist quilts I made for friends. On our trip we got to visit with them in their Iowa home and I took this photo. Not great lighting but I'm happy to know they still enjoy the quilt many years later as a reminder of their time spent living in Colorado.

impressionist mountain quilt

So far I've completed 4 lap quilts and have fabric cut for 2 more and yet I've barely made a dent in my floral stash. There's even more than what this photo shows . . . Yikes!  I'll be following up with another post soon about the backing and quilting details for these three quilts so stay tuned.

Generally speaking these types of fabrics aren't my style anymore and yet on our recent trip I found myself buying these pretty green florals. I'm not a big fan of butterflies but the ferns and white flowers spoke to me.

I guess there'll be at least one more floral quilt to make. I'm thinking another Irish Chain as I love the simplicity of the design while still allowing room for a mix of prints. I have some fern and ivy prints I may mix in with these new fabrics.

Perhaps there will be more floral quilts in my future but after this one I think I'll be ready to move on. I have plenty of bright Kaffe florals waiting in the wings begging to be used, plus some new modern ideas brewing. Keep an eye on my Instagram account to see what I'm up to @springleafstudios.

I also have a new IG account specifically about color if you're interested. Right now I'm doing the 100 day challenge posting on the color green. It will evolve into other colors as I go along. @springleafcolor

Linking up with Kelly and this week's NTT party.
Also linking up with Cheryl's Favorite Finish Monthly.
Hope you're creating something beautiful in your world.


April 26, 2019

Cherry Blossoms; Finally Finished

Way back in 2014 I started a quilt. Here it is 2019 and I can finally say it's finished.

Interweave quilt pattern with Amy Butler

Cherry Blossoms was one of 4 quilts I made during early explorations and development of a pattern called Interweave. While this was the first quilt I made of the design, it ended up being the last one to get finished. It was quilted at the same time as the others but I just never got around to binding it. Then I simply forgot. Can you relate? A project gets tucked away and you forget about it.

Credit goes to the BoulderMQG UFO challenge for motivating me to finally finish Cherry Blossoms. The guild challenge for 2019 was to list 6 projects and specify what we wanted to accomplish. We were encouraged to have a variety of goals from simple to more involved. This was certainly an easier one and far overdue. But then I guess all UFOs are overdue aren't they? Of course I have far more than 6 UFOs. Way more! But at least I'm making the effort and things are getting done. Done is good!

Interweave quilt pattern with Amy Butler

The colors are spot on for 2019 with Pantone's Color of the Year, Living Coral and Kona's Color of the Year, Splash. I've loved this color scheme for a long time. Most of the fabrics are from older Amy Butler fabric lines like Love, Cameo, and Soul Blossoms. I've been a fan of her fabrics for years and will certainly miss her lines now that she has moved away from fabric design. : (

The colors feel very summery and make me think of swimming pools and flower gardens in the tropics which probably isn't reflected in the quilt name. I chose the name Cherry Blossoms because my favorite fabric in the quilt is of the cherry trees in bloom. I hope to get a good photo in the wild once summer arrives and things are little more colorful outside.

When I design a pattern, choosing which fabrics to feature as the main cover quilt can be one of the hardest decisions in the whole process. Since the pattern is designed to showcase large scale prints, I chose a range of Kaffe Fassett blues for the cover quilt.

Interweave quilt pattern with Kaffe Fassett

Another variation of the pattern features a single Amy Butler fabric for the main horizontal sections.

Interweave quilt pattern with Amy Butler

The last version (and my personal favorite) is this smaller black and white with warm floral accent strips.

Interweave quilt pattern with Kaffe Fassett

One of the best parts of pattern design is exploring all the different versions and looks that can come from the same design. I know some people make something once and then they're done. I find it really fun to make something again and again to explore new looks. What about you? Do you make the same design more than once or is once enough?

I haven't joined a linky party in a long long time so thought I'd join in the fun again. I'm linking up with Cheryl's Favorite Finish Link Up because I finally have a finish. WaHoo! Go check out what some other quilters finished this month.

If you're interested in the Interweave pattern you can learn more about it here.


April 15, 2019

What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking? Seriously.

I don't usually prewash my fabric. I know there are many of you out there that do and I tip my hat to you for being that motivated. It's not a task for the feint of heart. Unless you diligently prewash every single thing you bring home each and every time you buy fabric. Otherwise it can be a big confusing mess.

Having heard stories of bleeding solids and ruined quilts, I decided to prewash the solids I plan to use for my BoulderMQG color study quilt. A project I have yet to start but I do still plan on making it so bear with me. The color study will return . . .

That led to deciding to prewash ALL my solids. I have several modern quilt ideas that will use all solids so why not be prepared?

Well . . . it took FOREVER. And technically I'm still not done as I haven't done the grays yet. I used color catchers in every load and there was very very very little bleeding. Seriously. That bit of aqua was the worst it ever got after loads of washing in all colors. Was it really worth all this effort?

The bigger problem I encountered was fading along the fold lines. My fabric is stored on open shelving but it never gets any direct sunlight so I was quite disappointed to see just how many cuts had faded along the fold. Nothing to be done about that but it does make me less likely to stash solids until I know how to avoid the fading. For now I'm storing them in tubs behind closed doors.

I have four tubs of freshly washed solids now. If only I had the motivation for those modern all solid quilts right now. Hopefully later this year . . .

At this point, I'm wondering why I got myself into this mess. And where does it end? What if I find other solids stashed away for a particular project like I did last week? Now I need to wash those because I've washed all the others. And what about projects that might mix solids with unwashed prints. Oy!!!

I'm not telling you this to start up a debate on prewashing. To each their own when it comes to that decision.

But I am curious about something. If you are a prewasher what is your process?

  • Do you wash everything first before adding it to your stash? 
  • Do you worry about mixing prewashed fabric with unwashed fabrics? 
  • Do you worry about using precuts (unwashed) with prewashed fabrics?
  • Do you have problems with fabrics fading along fold lines?

It feels like I've opened a HUGE can of worms and I am regretting my decisions. Where does it end?


February 22, 2019

Into the Woods - Cascade Quilt Pattern

Green is one of my all time favorite colors. And leaves are one of my favorite design elements. I use leafy themes in my home. I take tons of leaf photographs. I use leafy fabric in my quilts. Today I'd like to share one of my leafy quilts with you.

Into the Woods was finished last year. I used the Cascade quilt pattern which is the most popular of my patterns. You can find it in my Etsy shop or the new Blueprint shop site (formerly Craftsy)

I wanted a woodsy feeling of light filtering through trees so I arranged the values with most of the lighter prints in the center.

Looking at the prints in black and white really helped with this.

Once the leafy prints were positioned, I added browns and greens to elude to the tree trunks. Again placing most of the darker values to the outside edges. An allover leafy quilting pattern finished it off.

Leftover bonus half square triangles from the front were pieced together into a long strip for the back. The green on the back isn't quite as bright/yellow as this photo shows.

I couldn't be happier with the final result. Into the Woods lives on the back of my couch in our family room and works beautifully with the other leafy decor in the room.

I'd like to leave you with a few recent photos of the original Cascade quilt featured in the pattern. The colors have always reminded me of Monet so what better place to take a few photos than the Monet Garden at Denver's Hudson Gardens.

And lastly, this photo taken a few years ago in the Colorado mountains which really shows off the true colors of the quilt.

One of these days I'd love to get a good photo of Cascade with a waterfall given the quilt name. A lovely tropical waterfall would be perfect but they're a little hard to come by here in Colorado.  : )

Happy quilting to you . . .

It's been ages since I've joined any linky parties so I'm linking up with Wendy and the Peacock Party and Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday.


January 12, 2019

Color Theory: Value

I'm joining the BoulderMQG in a year long color theory study. It will be similar to normal block of the month programs but rather than a different quilt block each month we will be given a color theory challenge to apply to our chosen block.

I decided to go literal with my fabric choices by going with all solids that match as closely as I can to the color wheel. It's a departure from my usual prints but I want to explore the color in as pure a form as possible.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

My chosen colors are Kona Cotton Solids. Starting with yellow going clockwise the colors are; Citrus, Lime, Clover, Ultra Marine, Pacific, Deep Blue, Tulip, Cerise, Poppy, Tangerine, Orange, and Papaya. It was hard to capture the color differences in the red/orange range but it's there.

As far as blocks go, I've always wanted to do one of those circle-a-day quilts so decided I will use divided circles for my color study quilt blocks. I'm excited about the concept and may even try to work in some quilt-as-you-go techniques from my QAYG presentation last year. You see more about that here.

The challenge for January is value. This can be explored in a number of ways. Value within a single color, referred to as a monochromatic color scheme. Value as it pertains to the entire color wheel. Or value in a gray scale form. I think I will be doing the gray scale as the rest of the quilt will be loaded with color.

The photo below shows my fabrics arranged in color wheel order and how they appear when stripped of color so only the value is evident. As you can see, value order does not coincide with color order.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

The order is more apparent in the photo below.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

The next photo shows the reordered fabrics based on value. I found the orange and yellow/green were hard to sequence. It appears as though the orange is darker in value than the yellow/green but when I switched them it looked the same. Notice that most of the colors fall in the mid value range.

color theory, color study, fabric color wheel, rainbow colors

When I choose fabrics for my quilts, I am often guilty of relying more on color than value. Most of the fabrics in my stash are mid value, pure hue colors. I have built up a fair collection of lighter values in the form of low volume prints but am lacking when it comes to darker values. Darker colors have just never appealed to me as much as the pure hues do. Even the idea for this quilt will be strongly based on pure hue as I want to really see the various color combinations that are possible. Maybe another time I will explore the color/value side of things in more depth.

This isn't the first time I've explored color but it is the first time I've focused specifically on color and fabric together. See my Color Inspiration series for the previous color explorations. I'm thinking about adding new colors to the series this year.

If you'd like to learn more about the BoulderMQG Color Theory Quilt go here. You're welcome to join us even if you aren't a member. Stay up to date by following BoulderMQG on Instagram. If you play along be sure to use #bouldermqgcolorstudy19 so we can see your work.

I'll post each month about the color challenge and my progress on my Instagram as well as progress posts here from time to time.

Hope your 2019 is off to a good start.

November 15, 2018

Walk With Me . . . Fall Into Winter

Two years ago this month I started a blog series called Walk With Me. My intention was to post photos of my daily walks. I walk everyday. I love taking photos when I walk. I love looking at different details along the way. Something different catches my eye everytime. Sometimes it's color. Sometimes it's the details of nature or even manmade things. There was never a plan or schedule for posting, but I didn't intend for the posts to be so far apart and sparse.

walk with me

I'd like to get back to sharing some of my walks and today it's all about the beautiful details from a recent fall walk. I came across a concrete bowl of water full of both leaves and ice. The patterns of the leaves floating on the surface and also partially submerged into the ice was beautiful.

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

walk with me

Most of the leaves are off the trees here now and we are expecting our second decent snow tomorrow. One day it's fall, the next it's winter. Soon enough it will be all winter, so I'm enjoying the warm days when we have them.

If you'd like to see my previous walk posts, go to the tab at the top of the page.

Give thanks for all the beauty in the world. It's all around us if we just take a moment to stop and notice.

Happy Thanksgiving.  : )


October 3, 2018

Quilt-As-You-Go Summary

In September I did a presentation about Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) for my local quilt guild, the BoulderMQG. The intent of the presentation was to give an overview of different QAYG methods
and briefly cover the basics of each technique.

Over the past week, I did a series of blog posts highlighting each of the QAYG methods
I covered during the presentation. Check the tab at the top of the page for all the posts.

Today I'd just like to say a few final words on the topic and pull all the links into one post for you.

There are a lot of variations to the QAYG methods I covered. There are also several other ways to QAYG that I didn’t cover. What I learned is that it’s definitely something I will try more often.

My biggest tip is to think about using QAYG when you're starting a new project. Many of the methods require the commitment from the start which is the hardest thing for me to remember. But, If you've already started it's still not too late. Look back over Methods 2-4 which can all work after the project has been started. 

When considering QAYG, select the method that will work best by asking yourself these questions:
  • What size project are you making? Small or large?
  • What type of quilt design are you using and can it be adapted if necessary for QAYG?
    Does the design include sashing? Could the design work with sashing?
  • What type of quilting do you want to use? Straight line? Free Motion?
  • Can the backing be included up front or added later?

  • Sewing directly on batting produces more lint. Clean your machine frequently. 
  • Use a press cloth when ironing to avoid getting any residue from fusible batting on your iron.
  • And last, but not least . . . try it . . . you just might like it!

Batting I used: (note; not all fusible batting is two sided)
  • Hobbs Heirloom Fusible Cotton 80/20 Batting (2 sided fusible) 
  • Fairfield Fusi-boo, a fusible blend of cotton and bamboo (2 sided fusible) 
  • Warm and White (not fusible) 
  • Pellon Fusible Fleece

Link Summary

Here is a summary of all the tutorials I used for my presentation

Method 1:  Stitch and Flip tutorial for QAYG placemats and the wonky pink floral log cabin here.

Method 2:  Block by block without joining strips tutorial by Maureen Cracknell.

Method 3:  Block by block with joining strips tutorial by Marianne plus this separate video.

Method 4:  Row by row with backing tutorial by Candy.

Method 5:  Self binding hexies tutorial here and self binding blocks with Jenny here and Terry here.

Gallery of QAYG quilts by Melody Johnson can be found here.

In addition to these links, search for QAYG online and you'll find numerous tutorials and videos.
Craftsy also offers some classes on the topic and there are some good books available as well.

Don't forget to check out my QAYG Pinterest board for pins of these and other tutorials on QAYG methods. I also have pinned quilts that I thought might work well with each method. I will continue to
add to these boards as I find new things.

I hope you found these posts informative. I'd encourage you to try a few of the methods featured
and search for others that suit you needs.

I will continue to post about QAYG projects as I work on them, so follow along.
Thanks for reading.   : )