September 23, 2016

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Original Design

Welcome to my Blogger's Quilt Festival post. If you're brand new to my blog, I do hope you'll look around a little. I'm a graphic designer turned quilter with a love for strong graphics, bold colors and an affinity for large scale prints. Thank you ever so much for stopping by. I also want to give Amy a big round of applause for putting on this virtual quilt show twice a year. Love it every single time.

Now on to my entry . . . I'd like to introduce Woven, a brand new finish that I haven't even shared on my blog yet. I am entering it in the Original Quilt category.


Woven is the fourth version of a new quilt design I've been working on and I have to tell you . . . it's my favorite. I love it!

The black and white prints were part of a cherished fat quarter collection I'd been saving and this was the perfect design for them. I only wish I'd had more fabric because I think it would be amazing as a bed sized quilt. It's a small lap size made for my new guest room which is mainly black and white with pops of bright color. Doesn't it look great with the black and white chair I redid last summer?



I thoroughly enjoyed the design process for this quilt. The initial concept started with an exploration of weave patterns. Basket weaves. Fabric weaves. I enlarged the weave pattern and played with the sizing of the different elements. Since I love working with large scale prints, the horizontal rows were sized specifically to show off big prints.  The vertical columns are narrower to contrast with the wide rows and make a good place for either large prints like I used for this one or smaller prints as you can see further down the page.

It was a challenge to figure out the piecing method but it really isn't complicated. Essentially it's a row quilt and is quite easy to piece.

When I first started the pattern idea, I wanted to explore color schemes and a simple use of fabrics. Lush garden blues and greens with purple accents. The pattern is being written with this quilt below as the primary design, but I'd really love to know which one of all these is your favorite.


The one below is a variation featuring a single fabric in all the horizontal rows. It has a real beachy feel to me because of the colors. Now if only there was a beach in Colorado.



As you can see, there are lots of possibilities with the design. That's what I absolutely love about designing . . . exploring all the variations of a single concept. I still have other ideas that I haven't had time to try yet. Right now I'm toying with a green on green idea for my family room and possibly an all solid one with waves of color from both top to bottom and left to right. Solids would provide some amazing areas to show off machine quilting.

The Woven pattern should be finalized and published sometime on October. I've seen this name pop up recently so am now undecided. I'd love to hear your thoughts on other names for the design. And please let me know which one of these three is your favorite. I'm curious since each new one I make becomes my latest favorite.  : )

I love designing my own quilts. Most are for my home and family plus some charity work through my local modern guilds. I turn a few of my designs into PDF quilt patterns that are sold through Craftsy and Etsy in case you're interested.

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying all the beautiful quilts in the festival. You can see my other entry here.

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Blogger's Quilt Festival: Small Quilt Entry

Welcome to my Blogger's Quilt Festival post. If you're brand new to my blog, I do hope you'll look around a little. I'm a graphic designer turned quilter with a love of strong graphics, bold colors and an affinity for large scale prints. Thank you ever so much for stopping by. I want to give a big round of applause to Amy for putting on this virtual quilt show twice a year. It's always so good.

Now I'd like to introduce Tequila Sunrise, my entry in the Small Quilt category. This quilt is 42" x 58",
a nice small lap size made specially for my daughter.



Tequila Sunrise is my latest make using the Cascade quilt pattern. I had this great collection of Amy Butler fabrics in the orange/teal colorway and pulled several other fabrics by Kaffe Fassett and Tula Pink that had similar coloring.

I would really love to get a photo with a great sunrise but getting up that early isn't my strong point. Maybe someday. I took this fun shot last week though and would like to go back when the lighting is better and get a few more shots. The color washed out a bit.

Cascade quilt pattern, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink

This shot was taken shortly after I finished the quilt in the spring. Another location I'd like to revisit.


If you'd like to read my original post about this quilt it can be found here.
I find it amazing how different fabrics and different fabric placement can change a design. That's the part of pattern designing that I really love to play around with. Just look at the difference between Tequila Sunrise and my original Cascade on the right. Fabric and position make all the difference!



I love designing my own quilts. Most are for my home and family plus some charity work through my local modern guilds. I turn a few of my designs into PDF quilt patterns that are sold through Craftsy and Etsy in case you're interested.

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying all the beautiful quilts in the festival. You can see my other entry here.

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September 19, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

I recently received a nice email from Dawn of First Light Designs nominating my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. And what might you ask is this award all about? Well, it's a clever way to spread a bit of quilty love around and get to know some bloggers just a little better.


Dawn often leaves comments on my blog or IG and every time I see her photo I do a double take because she looks a lot like my sister-in-law. Turns out Dawn is a twin but I think she must have been from a set of triplets. Do hop over to First Light Designs and learn a little more about Dawn and take a look at her lovely quilts. Thanks for the nomination Dawn!

So here's how One Lovely Blog Award works . . .

The rules:
Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
List the rules.
Display the award image on my post.
List 7 facts about myself.
Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the award and notify them they've been nominated.

My seven facts . . .
  1. I'm a small town girl all the way. Grew up in Indiana farm country, pop. 2000.
  2. I'm an only child and am more than a bit jealous of those of you who have siblings.
  3. Perhaps because of #2, I'm happy spending time alone, quietly in my studio.
  4. I'm a collector of pretty things from flea markets and thrift stores. Colored glass vases. Fruit, flower and leaf dishes. Lacy things. Too much stuff. Trying to pair down and simplify.
  5. I don't like to cook but since my family needs to eat I do my best. 
  6. I'm a huge fan of Les Miserables and love to sing along. 
  7. I can't carry a tune. At all. Not even Happy Birthday. But I'd still wish you a Happy Birthday and maybe sing along.   : ) 
If you'd like to know even more about me, check out my Around the World Blog Hop post where I share more about my process and work. Also take a peek at my Color Inspiration series to get a glimpse of how I see color in my world. And you can see where I work in these various posts about my studio.



Now, on to my nominations. There are so many wonderful blogs out there. Instagram may have made posting quick and easy, but I still love getting to know people more through their blogs. Reading about their process. Seeing more of what they're working on in detail. The following blogs are ones I've always enjoyed. Three of them I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life. The other two I'd love to meet sometime. One way or another we all share something in common. I value their work, their stories, their words of encouragement and their quilty friendships. For these reasons I'm nominating for the One Lovely Blog Award . . . 
  • Cindy of Live A Colorful Life, the first blogger to really reach out to me. So very grateful for the real life connection and friendship we've made.
  • Elizabeth of OPQuilt, another blogger I am so happy to call a friend. She's a great quilty cheerleader and does wonderful causal quilt-alongs.
  • Linda of Flourishing Palms, a fabulous machine quilter and ever so supportive online friend.
  • Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation, a lover of large scale prints and a very talented pattern designer. 
  • Maureen of Mystic Quilter, a fellow Kaffe fan way down in New Zealand. I love connecting with people far and wide that share a love of quilting.


I do hope you've enjoyed learning a tad more about me and hope you'll hop around to meet the others too. I don't know who started this idea but it's a fun way to get to know more bloggers. Thanks for stopping by.

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September 14, 2016

Snowball Block: Making the Octagon

The snowball quilt block has been around for a long time. The basic block is an octagon that gives the illusion of a circle. According to a little online research, it's an Amish block. I make no claims as a quilt historian but one thing I do know is it's a wonderfully versatile block. Check out all these quilt tutorials curated by Quilt Inspiration that use a snowball block. So many variations are possible. This is the version on my design wall right now.



The easiest way to make a snowball block is with small corner squares that are stitched across the diagonal, trimmed, and then flipped open to form corner triangles. While this method uses more fabric than sewing triangles, I find it fast and easy. All you need is one big square and 4 small squares for the corners. No bias edges to contend with.



No need to let those trimmed corners go to waste either.  Once I've gotten a decent start on making the blocks and have a handful of trimmed corner triangles, I use them as leaders and enders when sewing the rest of the blocks. This way I end up with lots of half square triangles sewn and ready for a second project like a mini quilt or pillow. It's like making two projects in one. Gotta love that!

So you might be asking how do you know what size small square to use? Well, the size is often determined by the quilt setting you are using. Because a snowball block is frequently paired with another block in an alternating setting, the size of the corners is usually determined by the breakdown of the alternate block. In other words, If the alternate block is a 9-patch block, then the side of the snowball block is divided by three. If the alternate block is a 16-patch, then the side of the snowball block is divided by four. Here's a great source for determining the size of the corner squares for various sized snowball blocks.


The most common sizing for a snowball block calls for dividing the finished size of the block by three and then adding a half inch seam allowance. This would then align with a 9-patch block as shown above left. Whatever number you are dividing by you will still add 1/2" seam allowance. For my quilt the finished block size is 6" so the squares would be cut 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".  (6 divided by 3 equals 2 plus 1/2" equals 2 1/2")

Since my quilt is made entirely of snowball blocks, the size of the small corner squares didn't matter so much. The triangles didn't need to line up with any points on an alternate block, they simply line up with each other.



I started with the typical directions and made a sample block using the 2 1/2" corner squares. It didn't really seem as much like an octagon as I wanted. All eight sides of the octagon aren't the same length. Of course they'll change a little once the seam allowances are taken into account but it still wasn't going to be a true octagon. Here's what it looked like.


Wanting a more true octagon, I turned to my computer to see if I could figure out a better size for the corners. Since I didn't know the mathematical way to draw an octagon in Illustrator, I estimated using a small grid. For my finished 6" block I found that if my corner squares were cut 2 1/4" the end result was as close to a true octagon as I could get. In other words all eight sides were of equal length. You can see the difference below between the 2 1/2" square (left) and the 2 1/4" square (right). The one on the right is closer to a true equal sided octagon.



I know this is a small thing to some of you, but it was worth the effort to me. Not to mention I could get more small squares from my yardage so I needed less fabric. All together I need 900+ of the small squares so I have a lot of cutting to do.

I'll be back with another post soon showing you my quick method of sewing the corner squares without any marking. It saves a ton of time.

Until then, I'm curious, have you ever made a quilt that included snowball blocks?

I'm linking up this week to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. It's been far too long since I've played along. Hop over and see Kelly's latest quilt finish.

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September 2, 2016

Kaleidoscope Breeze; Online Charity Drawing Sept 24th

This award winning quilt, Kaleidoscope Breeze, can be yours!

the modern quilt guild, charity quilt, pinwheel quilt, boulder modern quilt guild

On behalf of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild I'd like to share what our chairperson Josi of AvocadoQuilts wrote up about this quilt.

Occasionally, an amazing group of women come together and create beauty and goodness out of thin air (and a pile of fabric).  This is the case for the award winning 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt, named Kaleidoscope Breeze, which may be yours soon!

This quilt has been generously donated to the Anchor Center for Blind Children by the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild which will be holding an online and physical drawing for the quilt on September 24th at their annual Cherrity Pie Festival.  Click here to purchase drawing tickets for the quilt.  Please pass the word to all the quilt lovers out there, friends and family members alike.  All proceeds benefit the blind children at the Anchor Center, which is dedicated to teaching fundamental life skills to children from birth to kindergarten.  I have been involved with fundraising for this amazing cause for three years now, and am continually so moved and impressed by the impact the school has, and more so on the strength of the children and families who attend.
This quilt was created by a group of skilled Modern Quilters from the Boulder Modern Quilt guild as a challenge quilt for their 2015 QuiltCon entry.   Over 71 quilts were created by guilds worldwide as part of the challenge, and all of them benefited charity organizations in their respective local communities after being on display together in 2015. This particular quilt then went on to win 1st place at the Boulder County Fair in 2015 for the group quilt category.
Anne Deister of SpringLeafStudios.com, created the unique design for this quilt in Adobe Illustrator.  Over 12 guild members then paper pieced the 36 blocks together, requiring them to sew the fabric directly on a paper pattern in order to create crisp lines.  The blocks were then arranged on an alternate grid to fulfill one of the challenges.   The quilt is 68″ x 88″ and made entirely of solid Kona Cotton fabrics.  The professional quilting was done by the guild president Cynthia Morgan, which truly put the finishing touches on this work of art.  The Boulder Modern Quilt Guild is very pleased to donate the 2015 QuiltCon Charity quilt to the Anchor Center for Blind Children as a fundraising item to go home to one fortunate supporter during the 2016 Cherrity Pie Festival!
To see the process of the quilt creation,  please visit Anne’s blog post for the quiltcon charity quilt challenge, and for more information on Modern Quilting, feel free to visit the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild on their Facebook page or website 

The more we can spread the word and sell tickets for this amazing quilt, the more it can raise to help the visually disabled children of the Anchor Center.  Please pass on!  
Much thanks to Josi for all your hard work in getting this organized.
As quilters, we have the pleasure of seeing beautiful colors and fabrics. 
The Anchor Center for Blind Children helps children who cannot see. 
Please consider buying a ticket and supporting a very worthy cause.

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August 30, 2016

Snowball Quilt; the Diamonds

My design wall is bursting into full bloom.

I'm well on my way to making a snowball quilt. My wall is covered with squares of Kaffe, Amy Butler and several older traditional prints from my stash. Lots and lots of cutting from lots and lots of different fabrics. Putting them up on the wall is like watching a fabric garden bloom. Love it!

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

Before I cut any fabric, I cut white paper squares to represent the diamonds. Then I fussy cut the blooms. See this blog post for my fussy cutting method. As more and more fabric blooms went up on the wall, I ran out of paper squares and decided not to bother with any more.

It's interesting to see the difference in the layout with and without the white diamonds. My first reaction was that the section without the white diamonds looked flat. The floral squares alone seemed incomplete. However as more and more squares went up I liked the look better and better.

Here's a section with the diamonds.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

And here's a section without. Which do you prefer?


I don't really think one is better than the other. It's more a matter of what you're after in a design. I actually think a really large quilt of simple squares would be quite stunning. Especially one that included several of those big blooms with the dark background. They add depth and a focal point that helps to break up the overall surface. At this point in the process I have not played with fabric placement. Only cutting squares and throwing them up on the wall. Distribution of color and fabrics will come later.

My original plan was to use white for the diamonds but before committing I tried another fabric from my stash. A small black and white dot. This quilt will be used in my guest room where I've used a lot of black and white decor. At first I didn't like the dot. The white paper stood out so much that the dot looked flat. But the more dotted squares I added, the more I liked it. It's more subtle than the white which allows the blooms to really stand out. Plus, the little tiny touch of black is just right for the room.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

Even though I grew to like the idea of all squares, perhaps that's another quilt for another time. Right now I'm making a snowball quilt.  A snowball quilt with black and white dot diamonds. This process reminded me of how important it is to continue to fine tune and work through design issues as you go along. If I hadn't bothered with the paper diamonds I wouldn't have had a good idea what the final quilt would look like. It's good to see all the parts come together. It's also good to be flexible if those parts aren't working the way you envisioned. Be open to making changes along the way. You just might discover a whole new concept that's even better. Or at least different and equally worthy of being made into another lovely quilt.

I'll be back soon with a post on how I decided on the size of the corner squares plus how I sew them.

Love gardening with fabric. Just wish my design wall was bigger so it could hold even more
beautiful flowers.   : )

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August 23, 2016

Aqua

Welcome back to my Color Inspiration series. This month I'm looking at aqua.

It's hot, hot, hot, and dry, dry, dry here in Colorado.  The weather has me dreaming of the beautiful, clear, aqua waters of a beach like Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands. I had the best time of my life snorkeling around the little islands shown below.

Springleaf Studios, Trunk Bay
Springleaf Studios, Trunk Bay


Have you packed your bags yet?  Pleeeeease take me with you.  : )

Aqua is the quintessential color of sandy beaches and inviting swimming pools. After all, the word aqua is Latin for water. It's a very serene, calm, and refreshing color. 

If you think turquoise instead of aqua though, you might envision the southwest United States.  Places like New Mexico and Arizona. Things like turquoise gates, fences and window trim . . . 

aqua, color inspiration,
aqua, color inspiration, Springleaf Studios, HST quilts, half square triangle quilts

Thinking of the southwest also calls to mind turquoise jewelry. This beautiful piece by my daughter mixes a touch of southwest turquoise with an ocean theme. You can see more jewelry on her website, Emily Claire Studio.

Emily Claire Studio, Emily Claire Jewelry, turquoise jewelry, turquoise necklace
Emily Claire Studio, Emily Claire Jewelry, turquoise jewelry, turquoise earrings


Aqua, turquoise, robin's egg blue, verdigris, spruce, teal, mint, azure . . . these are just some of the words that describe variations of this lovely color. Aqua is a mix of blue and green with a touch of white. Take it to the darker side and you have teal. In terms of web colors, aqua is considered the same as cyan. 

When I looked around my home environment, I realized aqua doesn't play much of a part. Years ago, we had a little southwest flavor in our home decor with a dusty teal accent wall and hints of aqua here and there. At the time we were influenced by visiting Taos NM on a regular basis. Times have changed, as has our home, and there's not much aqua or turquoise to be found . . . except when it comes to quilting.

Looking through my quilts, I've made quite a few using a cool color range. While they don't all use strictly aqua fabrics, many use fairly equal amounts of green fabrics and blue fabrics, with the end result being an overall aqua feeling. This quilt was made for a dear friend and her island home in the Pacific Northwest and is probably the most aqua of all. 

Kaffe Fassett nine patch quilt, Kaffe Fassett, Springleaf Studios, aqua, color inspiration,


One of my all time favorite quilts is this one made from the Cascade pattern. It is mostly aquas and greens accented with purple. I think aqua and purple can be a stunning color combination. 

Cascade quilt pattern, Kaffe Fassett, Springleaf Studios, quilt pattern, aqua, color inspiration,


Another new quilt features a similar aqua and purple combination, but with the emphasis leaning more strongly toward the blues. Watch for this one to be a new pattern soon.

Kaffe Fassett, Kaffe Fassett fabrics, Kaffe Fassett quilt, aqua, color inspiration,


In addition to these quilts, I've had a few fabric combos pulled for a long time that feature aqua. The first combines lovely variations of aqua with touches of chartreuse and gray. The chartreuse brings a real zing to the calmness of the aqua and gray. Love it! I have another fabric grouping featuring mostly aquas with an accent of citrine. Love that group too. 

aqua fabrics, aqua

Then there's my cool colored stripe collection which reminds me of the beach. Hmmm . . . must get busy and start making quilts with these lovely fabric combos.

aqua stripe fabrics, aqua


Probably a good thing I'm not a knitter or I'd be rather distracted from my fabrics by this beautiful variegated blue-green yarn. Gorgeous.




Wrapping up this post with some aqua vegetation. In Colorado we have a lot of blue spruce trees. Now I usually think of trees as green, but I never think of a blue spruce as being either blue or green. It's kind of a dusty aqua. Spruce. We planted this one when it was a single, little, tiny sprout only about 4 inches tall. Now it's well over 30 feet and way way too close to our front porch. What were we thinking? 



In keeping with the challenge my daughter gave me at the beginning of my color series, I'm including more true aqua leaves to finish up. You know I love leaves.  : )  Once you start looking it's really not hard to find leaves in every color of the rainbow. Seriously. Try it. 

Springleaf Studios, leaves, aqua
Springleaf Studios, cabbage leaves


When I started this color series, my intention was to really look for the color in my own personal world. To see the color around me in my house, my environment and my experiences. For that reason I've chosen to use my own photos rather than rely on the abundance of beautiful photos and color schemes available through sites like Pinterest and Design Seeds. These sites are wonderful places for inspiration on color but I want my series to be personal . . . representative of the color I see around me.

You can see all my other color stories under the Color Inspiration tab at the top of my blog. If you'd like to see additional beautiful color images, you can follow my Pinterest color boards here. Just look for the specific color boards or my Color Scheme board. There are some beautiful color images.

I challenge you to look around your home, your neighborhood, your work and really see the colors in your world. Go look for some Aqua in your life. Thanks for reading.

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