July 30, 2015

Red Hot

Today I'm exploring Red. Gone are the beautiful lush greens featured in my previous color post called Seeing Green. The 4th of July is a red, white, and blue holiday here in the States and inspired my look at red for July. The 4th always has me wearing red t-shirts and feeling quite patriotic. Now the holiday is long gone and the Red Hot days of summer have arrived. And though the fresh greens of cooler, wetter months have faded, (or gotten crunchy brown like our grass) there are plenty of red flowers to keep things looking bright and cheery.



Red is the symbol for "stop" worldwide, so I hope you'll stop today and take a moment to see the red in my life . . . perhaps it will give you a new appreciation for the red in your life.



Red is a bold strong color. It captures our attention and demands we take notice. Reds played a big part in the Denver Botanical Gardens Chihuly exhibit last summer and seemed especially well chosen for these fantastically wicked looking spikes. Danger . . . warning . . . fire . . . hot . . . sharp . . .




Red symbolizes many things, often with contrasting implications. Love and passion. Anger and aggression. Things of the heart. Historically it is identified with fire and blood. All conjure strong emotions and powerful meanings. I prefer the love connection myself. Who doesn't want to get red roses from the love of your life?  Love . . .



Red is a symbol of power and importance and wearing it is thought to give people confidence, courage and a winning way. Warriors even thought red brought victory to the battle field. 

The deep red of garnet is associated with love, passion, and inspiration. Garnet is the gemstone of Aquarius and the birthstone for January. Here is a beautiful red garnet necklace by my daughter of Emily Claire Studio. It would be a wonderful gift for someone you love or maybe even for yourself. 
Wear a little red and bring out your inner confidence and courage. See her new online shop here.



Summertime brings fresh ripe fruits in bright mouthwatering shades of Red. Most of my favorite fruits are red. I have an apple a day and love fresh strawberries and cherries when they're in season.



Several years ago I made a quilt featuring lots of juicy red fruits called "Fresh Baked". I use it every summer along with the fruity dishes I display.




Soon I hope we'll have some ripe Red tomatoes like these . . . 



In the mean time, maybe I'll finish "Vine Ripe" the red tomato quilt top that's been forever getting completed. If ever there was a Red Hot quilt, this is surely it.



Growing up in a rural farming community, farmers usually either had red tractors or green tractors. I remember mostly red on my uncle's farm. Sometimes you'll see a red barn here or there as well. I see this bright red barn down the street every time I take a walk to the park.



Red geraniums always remind me of home and my Mom. She planted them every summer along with red and white petunias. This traditional floral quilt pays homage to her love of flowers so I just had to get a photo of it with red geraniums in the foreground.



Bright red cardinals also remind me of Mom. They were a common sight around her house but aren't native to Colorado so I miss seeing them. Instead I make do with Cardinal quilts. This is a block from a quilt I made for her. The second is a small Christmas quilt.




I love to decorate with cardinals and poinsettias for Christmas so Red is definitely the color of December at our house. 



The quilt above will be replaced this year with my new Christmas quilt featuring red and green Kaffe prints. The design is based on the Drunkard's Path QAL at SpringLeaf Studios. See the tutorials here to make your own version. 



Of course, if you know me, I have to throw in a few leaf photos for good measure. Red leaves.





I'll leave you with this photo that relates back to the 4th of July where my Red Hot inspiration started. Red is the most popular color for flags around the world. 77% include red. 



For some interesting color facts and myths I found ColorMatters an interesting site. Here's a little red tidbit according to the site. "The history of languages reveal that red is the first color after black and white. All languages have words for black and white. If a third hue exists, it is Red." 

Check out my other color stories here on the Color Inspiration page. 
I'll be adding more colors as inspiration strikes.


July 20, 2015

Drunkard's Path QAL: Block 7


I'm checking in with block #7 for the Drunkard's Path QAL. It feels so good to be making monthly progress on my Christmas quilt without feeling like I have to get it all done at once.



I've said this before, and I'll say it again . . . making one block a month can really make a project feel doable rather than overwhelming. If you've never worked this way, give it a try. Even if you're working on other things, one block a month is a great way to create forward momentum on a project. Especially something special that might be on your bucket list. It feels sooo good to see progress without a huge time commitment. This is my 7th Drunkard's Path block. Just two more to go.



Now I'd like to talk just a little about technique. A Drunkard's Path block isn't hard. Sewing curves isn't hard. There are several different techniques for sewing curves that are worth exploring. In my tutorial,
I recommend pinning the pieces with three pins. Others prefer lots of pins. Esther of ipatchandquilt uses glue. This month I decided to try a no-pin method I came across in this video tutorial. It actually worked quite well. But after making a few units without pins, I decided the pinning method worked better
for me and actually took less time. So pinning it is. Try different methods. See what works for you.

Same goes for pressing methods. I generally prefer pressing to the side so my seams will nest, but if pressing open works better for a particular block or quilt, then I press open. For this tutorial I press the curved seam toward the circle. That first seam really needs to be pressed toward the circle or it will end up in the seam allowance when the units are sewn together. How the rest of the seams are pressed can be a matter of personal choice. I found that pressing the rest of the seams open worked best for me. It distributes the bulk and lays flatter. Esther found better success with a different method and blogged about here. Try both and see what works for you.

The point I'm making is this . . . explore different methods and techniques when you sew. Just because a teacher shows her way doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Just because I tell you how I do it doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Do what works for you.

My last thought for today is about perfection. Accurate cutting and sewing skills are certainly something you should strive for as a quilter. Better skills will come with patience and practice. But don't beat yourself up over points that don't match perfectly or curves that don't come together just right.

The way these Drunkard's Path blocks come together is different that the traditional Drunkard's Path block. The curve comes right into the seam allowance as the units are joined. This detail makes joining units a bit more challenging but is worth learning. Just don't let perfection stand in your way. My curves don't all come together perfectly but in the bigger scheme of the finished quilt no one will notice.

Perfect curve joints . . . I'm striving for these nice smooth curves with each block I make.



Not so perfect curve joints . . .
In reality, I have some of these less-than-perfect curves and I'm just not going to worry about it.   : )



I hope this post has encouraged you to try new methods. Be willing to find what works for you.

I'm linking this WIP up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

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July 16, 2015

We Have Two Giveaway Winners!!

Thanks to all of you who commented on my new patterns, Matrix and Offset.
Thanks also to those of you who purchased a pattern. I really appreciate your support.

And now for the winners . . .
Congratulations to Kathy E and Nancy. You have each won PDF copies of Matrix and Offset.

Kathy said:

"What an explosion of color in both quilt designs! Personally, I like Offset better. It makes me stop and look for a pattern, so my eye just follows all along the quilt. Each example of this quilt is just stunning and one I'd love to try."
Nancy said:
"Your patterns and posts are very comprehensive for both quilts. I like the idea of the coloring diagram and reliance on "familiar" 2 1/2" strips and fat quarters. Of the two, I prefer the Matrix design. The way the eye moves over the design is smooth, with lots of resting places which adds to the appeal. I also like the complex look without complicated construction. It's new and fresh. Plus your description also said it- it's a bold design."

I love that both of you were very thoughtful in your comments. Even though I asked you to choose your favorite, I've decided to send each of you both patterns. I'll be emailing you shortly. I hope you'll make your very own versions of them. Have fun and remember to play.    : )


























Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave me comments. I appreciate them and I really do want to see what you make using Matrix and Offset. Please send me photos or post them to Instagram using #springleafstudios.

Happy quilting Enjoy!

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July 14, 2015

2015 Finish Along Quarter 3

How can it possibly be time for the third quarter of the 2015 Finish Along hosted by Adrianne
of On The Windy Side?

True confessions. I didn't do so well with my second quarter list. The ones highlighted below were what got done. Believe me though. . . these were BIG finishes that I am really thrilled to have done. Two new patterns have finally been published. You can read about them here and here. There's still a giveaway going on for a few more days just in case you haven't seen it and want to sign up.

This was the second quarter list:
  • Matrix pattern. I don't know if stuff like this counts but I really really need to wrap this up.
  • Offset pattern. ditto above comment.
  • quilt the scrappy Matrix (from the first quarter)
  • quilt the blue/green Matrix (also from the first quarter)
  • Riley Blake MQG challenge
  • piece and quilt blue/aqua/green Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • piece and quilt green leafy Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • Some type of wallet/phone case  bought one instead when I found a great deal on a watermelon and purple purse that was just right.

























Sadly, the rest of my list suffered severe back burner syndrome. Everything else was shoved aside in my push to finish the patterns. Now I have a strong desire to start something new. I even have two fabric pulls sitting on the counter that I'm anxious to play with. What can I say . . . I'm definitely a starter, not necessarily a finisher. I'm guessing some of you are too, otherwise we wouldn't be signing up for the Finish Along now would we?    : )

Anyhoo . . . here's my new list for the third quarter. Hopefully with patterns behind me I'll do better.

  • make a quilt from one of the two fabric pulls I have out
  • quilt the blue/green Matrix (from the first and second quarter list)
  • quilt blue/aqua/green Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • piece green leafy Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • start the next pattern

I'm just slipping in under the deadline. The linky for signing up ends today. Better get your post up if you plan to join.I'm just slipping in under the deadline. I'll announce a winner of the giveaway on Thursday. Maybe even two winners.

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July 9, 2015

Offset; Another New Pattern and a Giveaway!


I'm celebrating!


Today, I'm releasing two . . .  yes, I said two . . .  new patterns!!

They've both been a long time (too long) in the works, so I'm thrilled to finally have them published in PDF format for online sales. As a thanks for your patience, I'm putting both new patterns on sale for 20% off. The sale starts today, July 9th and ends Sunday, July 12th at midnight Eastern Daylight Saving Time in the USA. They are available on Craftsy and Etsy. No coupon or code needed.

There's also a giveaway – so please read to the end.

This post features Offset. My other post for today features Matrix. I hope you'll read them both.
I'd love to know which pattern is your favorite and why.

So, without further delay, allow me to introduce Offset . . . 



The Offset design came about through play. I took a concept and played with the idea using the computer. Then I made some test blocks and eventually a couple of test quilts. Then I played some more. Can you tell I like to design?

As I worked back and forth between sewing and designing, a whole new idea emerged. While the original impetus for the design was garden trellises, that idea eventually morphed into something entirely different. Overlapping, broken boxes and crosses that are offset from each another. Look at the four blocks in the lower left hand corner below. Can you see how the green forms the outline of a box and the gray forms a double cross? The elements don't quite line up . . . they are offset.



This design evolution also led to a name change. The early test quilts were called Tumbler. You may recall this if you read here regularly. I think the new name, Offset, better reflects the visual concept.

As I said in the Matrix post, I truly believe a great quilt doesn't have to be complicated to be stunning and beautiful. I also believe every quilter should find a way to make it their own even when they are using a pattern. That's why I include these three bonus features in my patterns.
  • A Design Lesson that explains the block, the quilt layout and how it works, and some tips on fabric selection.
  • Design Explorations so you can see how versatile the pattern really is. These include several alternative ways to use the pattern and showcase a variety of looks that can be achieved.
  • A Coloring Page so you can try out your own color scheme.

The Offset Design Explorations start with simple variations like those below which illustrate how a different color emphasis can change the look of the boxes and crosses.



Additional Design Explorations show examples that are far different from the cover quilt. Different ways to use color and different ways to emphasize elements of the design. There are also three options for making a more modern quilt from the pattern. Use of negative space plays a big part in those ideas.



Offset is a great pattern for 2 1/2" strips or fat quarters. Yardage is given for both as well as cut yardage so you can choose what's best for you. It's a good way to use up leftover 2 1/2" strips or do some stash busting. The design would look wonderful in all solids or colorful batiks. Even some large scale prints work well. 

The pattern includes yardage for a 60" x 80" throw sized quilt.  As you can see from the test quilts photos below, the size can be adjusted by making more or less blocks as needed. Keep in mind you will need an even number of blocks across and down for the primary box/cross design but that doesn't mean you can't make it another way. That's what the Design Explorations are for.

It's your quilt . . . I want you to make it your way.

Here are the early test quilts. The first one was this bold colored scrappy quilt. Using my stash of warm colored dots was a great way to play with an idea and work things out.



Next came this one using a jelly roll. This quilt was recently gifted to my sister-in-law
and blogged about here.



Even some large scale prints work well if the colorway reads predominately as one color. Here's a small baby quilt using Kaffe prints.



Offset is available on Craftsy and in my Etsy shop. And as I mentioned earlier, both new patterns are on sale for 20% off through the weekend. No coupon or code needed. The sale ends Sunday,
July 12th at midnight Eastern Daylight Saving Time in the USA.

I'm also having a giveaway! Leave me a comment telling me which pattern, Offset or Matrix
is your favorite and why for a chance to win a PDF copy of your choice. Of course I'd love it if you'd become a blog follower too.   : )   You can also follow me on Instagram @springleafstudios. 
I'll announce a winner in about a week.

Thanks for reading. I hope you feel inspired.

Post is being edited. Giveaway and sale are now over.


Matrix; A New Pattern and Giveaway!

I'm celebrating!


Today, I'm releasing two . . .  yes, I said two . . .  new patterns!!

They've both been a long time (too long) in the works, so I'm thrilled to finally have them published in PDF format for online sales. As a thanks for your patience, I'm putting both new patterns on sale for 20% off. The sale starts today, July 9th and ends Sunday, July 12th at midnight Eastern Daylight Saving Time in the USA. They are available on Craftsy and Etsy. No coupon or code needed.

There's also a giveaway – so please read to the end.

This post features Matrix. My other post for today features Offset. I hope you'll read them both.
I'd love to know which pattern is your favorite and why.

So, without further delay, allow me to introduce Matrix . . . 



Like all my designs, Matrix was born from playing with ideas on the computer. I was intrigued with woven designs but didn't want a straight forward weave. The more I played, the more fun I had. I finally narrowed the concept down to interrupted, intersecting lines that create a layered structure much like a matrix. I really like the sense of depth the layering adds to the overall design.

As is the case with much of my work, I find it hard to settle on just one version. The blocks for the
first version of Matrix were made by my Mid Century Modern Bee a good year and a half ago. I asked them to test the block for me using a bright pastels in small prints. While the blocks I received were wonderful and the end result made for a lovely scrappy quilt, it just wasn't quite what I had in mind. Over time, a clearer vision took hold that better fit the image I had. A Matrix filled with every color of the rainbow. Perhaps it was inspiration from the colored vases in my studios.



Matrix is a very bold design that looks far more complicated than it really is. One block.
Specific color combinations. A distinct block arrangement. I explain it all in detail with lots of illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions.

I truly believe a great quilt doesn't have to be complicated to be stunning and beautiful.
I also believe every quilter should find a way to make it their own even if they're using a pattern.
That's why I always include these three bonus features in my patterns.
  • A Design Lesson that explains the block, the quilt layout and how it works, and some tips on fabric selection.
  • Design Explorations so you can see how versatile the pattern is. These include several alternative ways to use the pattern and showcase a variety of looks that can be achieved. You'll be amazed at how many different looks each pattern provides.
  • A Coloring Page so you can try out your own color scheme and design your own.

Here's an example of just one of the Design Explorations pages included in the pattern. 
There are 4 pages of explorations total.



The pattern also includes yardage for four different sizes; baby, lap, twin, and queen so you can make a Matrix to fit your quilting needs. It's a great pattern for 2 1/2" strips or fat quarters. Yardage is given for both as well as cut yardage so you can choose what's best for you. Twelve fat quarters covering the full spectrum of the color wheel plus yardage for grays and the background will make the throw sized quilt on the cover.  I used the tone-on-tone prints shown below, but would be just as striking in all solids, colorful batiks, or modern prints. I want you to make it your way.



If you're just not into rainbows, it's totally ok to use a different color scheme. Tone it down with nice cool blues and greens or make it even simpler by using identical blocks with the same fabric throughout the whole quilt. Really. They all look great!

Below are three versions of Matrix that create completely different looks. The first example uses identical blocks made from three striped fabrics and a color background. With all the blues and stripes
I think this is a great guy quilt. Perhaps for a new baby boy.



This next one is where the idea all started . . . the original bee quilt. The scrappiness is delightful and refreshing. I think the fabrics my bee mates chose lend a nice vintage feel that I just love. I'm thinking I'll make a few more blocks so it will become a nice cozy throw size.

.


Last, but not least . . . my modern version of Matrix. I wanted to explore the use of negative space and limited color using large scale prints. It was made specifically to enter into QuiltCon 2015 and I am happy to report it was accepted into the show. Perhaps you saw it if you were in Austin.
You can read more about it here.



Matrix is available on Craftsy and in my Etsy shop. And as I mentioned earlier, both new patterns are on sale for 20% off through the weekend. No coupon or code needed. The sale ends Sunday, July 12th at midnight Eastern Daylight Saving Time in the USA.


I'm also having a giveaway! Leave me a comment telling me which pattern, Matrix or Offset
is your favorite and why for a chance to win a PDF copy of your choice. Of course I'd love it if you'd become a blog follower too.   : )   You can also follow me on Instagram @springleafstudios. 
I'll announce a winner in about a week.


Thanks for reading. I hope you feel inspired.

Post is being edited. Giveaway and sale are now over.

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July 6, 2015

Head's Up . . . Two New Patterns Coming!

Several of you have asked about these quilts and now I'm happy to report that the waiting is over.
I'll be releasing two new PDF patterns at the end of the week.

They will be available on Craftsy and in my Etsy shop.
Plus, there'll be a giveaway and a sale on my patterns through the weekend.

Please come back Thursday and see what it's all about.    : )

 

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