May 31, 2018

Being Creative Beyond Quilting

Wow! The end of May already. Looks like I've become a once-a-month blogger. But you know what?
I'm totally ok with that. Even though I haven't been very active on social media, that doesn't mean I'm not creating. Being creative is in my blood and I get rather antsy if I'm not making or designing.

For the last several years my creativity has been mostly focused on quilting with a few other things thrown in from time to time. Last year at this time I was completely absorbed with our daughter's wedding and all things related.

Besides the wedding itself, we did a lot of things around the house in anticipation of having guests. Nothing lights a fire to finish those long planned home improvements like knowing company will soon be arriving. Know what I mean? Of course we didn't come close to getting all the projects done but at least we got some of them done. Mainly the new guest room which I blogged about here.

The time spent doing non-quilty things made me realize I had become too focused on only one thing. Namely quilting. I tend to do that. Get so absorbed in something that it's all or nothing. I'm simply not very good at balancing multiple activities at once. Unless of course it's scrolling IG and Pinterest while watching Netflix. I can't just watch TV. 

Today is a non-quilty post. It's all about making a wedding scrapbook for my daughter and her hubby. I thought I'd share a few of the spreads I have finished. It's been so much fun reliving the wedding while making a book for them.



My daughter comes over once a week and we craft together. While I work on the wedding album, she's doing their honeymoon. Bit by bit, page by page, we're making progress.






Once the wedding book is done, I plan to continue by working on baby books for both my kids. Seeing as how they are all grown up now, it's about time don't you think? 

I'm still quilting and sewing a little. But truthfully, I just haven't felt inspired to quilt lately. Lots of ideas. Just not the motivation. So I'm going with my creative flow wherever it may lead. I see hiking in the mountains next on my agenda. Hiking is creative for me because being out in nature is always inspiring.

What other creative things do you enjoy? Do you scrapbook? If not, how do you preserve special memories? Do tell. I'd like to know.

April 21, 2018

The MQG Modern Monthly; Rhythms and Reps

Are you a member of a local modern quilt guild or perhaps an individual member of The Modern Quilt Guild?  If so, I hope you've seen the April issue of their members only newsletter, Modern Monthly. My quilt, Rhythms and Reps is the feature quilt of the month.

The concept is all about exploring various repetition sequences and how they can create a sense of rhythm within a design. If you've followed my blog for awhile you know I love the design process. I spend way too much time playing with ideas and not nearly enough time actually making them into quilts.

One of the benefits of being a member of theMQG is access to a wide variety of resources for members only. In addition to a monthly pattern, there is also a monthly block that always includes a lot of variations on how to use the block. Design explorations are the kind of thing I love about the whole process.

As a member benefit, there are also a lot of very informative webinars to watch plus videos covering all kinds of modern quilting ideas.

I'm a member of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild so if you live anywhere near Boulder Colorado come visit. We'd love to have you. Check out our website and follow us on Instagram @bouldermqg. Follow me on Instagram too @springleafstudios.


March 30, 2018

My Leafy Checkerboard Finish

Time to share another big finish. I've been quilting on and off for close to 18 years and in all that time I have never made a quilt for my own bed. Seriously. Never. Can you believe it? Now I can proudly say my bed has a new cover.

leafy quilt

You may remember seeing these blocks eons ago. I worked on them slowly over the course of many months by taking them to BoulderMQG sew days. Month after month after month. I even blogged about it here back in January 2016. Over two years ago! Once the blocks were done it still took awhile for me to lay them all out and sew them together. Obviously it wasn't at the top of my to do list.

Karen at the Quilted Moose did the longarm quilting. I chose an all-over leafy pattern and love the look. I also made pillow shams from the giant hosta fabric I've hoarded for years. You know I love leaves.  : )

leafy quilt

Sadly, the quilted top sat all nicely folded up on a chair in the bedroom for far too long. I blame it on the binding fairies. They didn't show up as scheduled. Of course the thought of binding a queen size myself just wasn't appealing so I did what I do so very well. I procrastinated. Expecting two different house guests last month finally, finally pushed me into action.

I set up my machine downstairs on our long dining table and added another long folding table to the side. All this extra space was a tremendous help in supporting a queen size quilt. I also did it all by machine by attaching the binding to the back and then pulling it to the front and stitching it down close the the fold. It's so much faster for a big quilt. You can see this method used on another quilt here. Now that I've used this method a few times I'm getting better at finding that sweet spot for aligning my stitches. For quilts that will be used a lot, I think it's a great way to go.

In the photo below you can see most of the back. I used up a lot of the older leafy prints in my stash. This was at the ironing and trimming stage.

leafy quilt

I ended up making two quilts from these leafy scrappy trip blocks. The wall hanging below has actually been finished and in use for some time. I just never shared it on the blog.

leafy quilt

I love taking quilt photos in the wild and fell in love with this set of steps full of ivy. Don't you think it's perfect for this quilt?

leafy quilt

Hopefully I'll be back before another whole month goes by. Until then happy quilting and crafting.


February 4, 2018

In Full Bloom

I'm calling In Full Bloom my first finish of 2018. It was started way back in 2016.
Can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that it's finally finished because I love it!!!

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

When our daughter moved out, I claimed her old room as the guest room. My plans were for some furniture make-overs and a quilt for the bed. I envisioned a bright space full of color but it took me awhile to decide what type of quilt to make. My first thought was low volume with spots of color so I got stuck on that idea but it just wasn't inspiring me. I have always wanted to make a Kaffe snowball quilt and this felt right. Lots of color. Lots of flowers both modern and traditional. It was a great way to use up some of my older floral prints too.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

I had hoped to have it done before our daughter's wedding last summer. The wedding rightfully took priority however and while the quilt was pieced and quilted I just didn't have time for the binding. I put it on the bed anyway, sans binding, and both my sweet sisters-in-law loved it. They didn't care one bit that it wasn't really finished.

I worked on the blocks during many BoulderMQG open sews and once all 225 blocks were done the next challenge was how to arrange them. My original plan was to randomly scatter the colors throughout, but during the initial cutting the cooler greens and blues ended up on the outside edges by chance. I liked the look and decided to take it a step further by clustering colors with the the brighter flowers in the center gradating outward to the lighter colors and finally edging it in the greens and blues. I wasn't especially fond of the blues so decided to place them along the top edge where they wouldn't really show once pillows were on the bed.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

I used this great text print by Whistler Studios for the backing. The same fabric was also used for the side chair seat. The pillow shams were made from the black version of the print. This has got to be one of my favorite backing fabrics.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

This cozy little corner features a cabinet with more quilts, a small reading chair, and a dresser I repainted after getting it for $3 at a garage sale.

Kaffe Fassett

I think this room will become my mini quilt gallery. The small quilt on the chair below is from my Interweave pattern and the quilt over the dresser is my Facets quilt pattern. Both are available on Craftsy and my Etsy shop.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

All the color and florals make me happy. Hopefully it will have the same effect on our guests. If you come to stay, this sight will great you as you enter the room . . . It came out just as I imagined. My quilted garden in full bloom.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt

You can read about the process of making In Full Bloom by jumping over to these posts. How I fussy cut the blooms is covered in this post. How to draft the snowball block is discussed here. And this post shows the concept coming to life on my wall.

Hope you've enjoyed your virtual visit of my garden room as much as I'm enjoying seeing it everyday. In case you're interested, the flower pillows on the bed came from a website called Society6.

Thanks for visiting.


January 9, 2018

Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

2018 is off to a very good beginning and I couldn't be happier.

Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century is finally out. It's a 200+ page book compiled by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant published by The Modern Quilt Guild and Stash Books. The publisher describes it this way, "a collectible, hardcover book that traces the history of modern quilts, explores hallmarks of the genre, and honors the genre's past, present, and future."

The book features a wonderful sampling of over 200 modern quilts and I'm happy to say one of mine, Rhythm & Blues, is in the book! WaHoo!!! It's an honor to be included along side the work of so many well known modern quilters. You can see Rhythm & Blues on page 24.

Several months ago I was contacted by TheMQG to see if they could include Rhythm & Blues in a new book they were putting together. Yes! Yes! Of course you can can I screamed at the email.

I designed and made Rhythm & Blues way back in 2012 specifically to enter in the QuiltCon 2013 quilt show. It was not only accepted into the show, but also won third place in the Use of Negative space category. That was an exciting moment for me as it was only the second time I had entered a quilt show. After QuiltCon it went on to hang as part of the first Modern Showcase at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival both in Houston and Chicago.

While showing in Chicago, the editor of Modern Quilts Unlimited saw it and contacted me about publishing the design as a pattern in their magazine. It appeared in the Winter 2015 issue. Back copies are still available here. Be sure to look for the Winter 2015 issue.

I'm happy to say Rhythm & Blues will also be making an appearance in another book by C&T Publishing coming out in May of this year. Modern Quilts Unlimited has compiled a book that features modern quilts from past issues. At this point I don't know any more than that but it's certainly exciting to see how one quilt is getting around in the world.

Whether you consider yourself a modern quilter or are simply interested in what modern quilting is all about, I highly recommend Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century. Give it a look see. Learn about the movement. Be inspired. I'm certainly finding wonderful inspiration in every page.

Read C&T's blog post and enter for a chance to win your own ebook copy.
It's available for purchase through TheMQG, C&T Publishing and of course places like Amazon and hopefully your local quilt shop.


Disclaimer; I make no profits from the sale of this book. I am simply providing links to TheMQG and C&T Publishing for your convenience.

December 1, 2017

My Christmas Gift to You, A Free Holiday Pattern

Today I'd like to share this sweet little holiday quilt with you by offering it as a free pattern.
You can get it from my Craftsy shop.

The design is based on the traditional Friendship block. The circular block arrangement plus the addition of red circles gives this simple idea a lovely Christmas feel.

While I originally made mine for the wall, I realized it fit perfectly on top of my coffee table so perhaps it will find a home there instead. It would also make a lovely base for a small Christmas tree.

I know Christmas is fast approaching but I can tell you this quilt goes together pretty quickly and is super easy to make. The pattern yardage is for a small 28" x 28" finished quilt but I've included a list of optional sizes so you can make one that fits your space. A super sized version would make a beautiful cozy throw to keep you warm on those cold December evenings.

You can use traditional holiday fabrics or go modern with solids or modern styled prints. I didn't even use holiday fabrics, choosing instead to go with reds and greens from my stash. The only truly seasonal fabrics in the whole quilt are a few squares of white-on-white snowflakes and a holly berry print for the border.

The pattern includes a page of design variations to give you some additional ideas and a coloring page so you can play around with your own color schemes. Nothing says it has to be red and green. How about soft wintery blues, whites and silver? I think that color scheme would be so, so pretty.

If you make your own Berry Merry Wreath, I'd really really love to see it. 
Tag me on Instagram @springleafstudios and use #springleafstudios and #berrymerrywreath.

And just in case you're wondering about the other Christmas quilt on the wall above my couch, it's from a quilt-along I did a couple of years ago. You can find all the information here. Making this quilt is what turned the corner for me in terms of wanting a more updated look to my Christmas decor. Now I have another new one with my Berry Merry Wreath.

I wish you peace and happiness during the holiday season.
Remember to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

Cheers, Anne


October 16, 2017

How New is Modern: Circling the Square

How New is Modern is an upcoming exhibition sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO. The exhibit will showcase 38 modern quilts made by members of the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild. The quilts represent modern interpretations of traditional quilts from the museum's collection and I'm thrilled Circling the Square will be one of the quilts included in the show.

Springleaf Studios, Anne Deister

Today I thought I'd share how this quilt evolved by sharing parts of an earlier post about my design process.

The project began by playing with the traditional drunkard's path block. My early explorations were primarily based on the positive shapes created when quarter circle units are combined into larger shapes. As I played, I began to focus on the use of negative space. Three quarter circles creates a square negative space. One quarter circle can look like a bite taken out of a larger square. Just look at all the interesting negative spaces in the example below.

I started my explorations by creating a palette of basic shapes in Adobe Illustrator. A single quarter circle. A half circle. A 3/4 circle. Then I duplicated each shape and rotated them to give me a variety of orientations. Once I had my shape palette, I started to play around with placement of the shapes while paying close attention to the negative spaces that were created.

Creating negative squares from positive circles really intrigued me so, with this concept in mind, the name Circling the Square was born. I don't know that I've ever named a quilt while designing it but in this case the name spoke to me. It helped to clarify the concept and began to influence my design decisions.

Early on I tried quarter circles coming in and swirling around until they created a square of negative space in the center. Very interesting but not quite what the name implied to me. Maybe I'll pursue this idea down the road.

Then I began to focus on the circles forming a mass with the square at it's center. This was closer to what the name implied but it wasn't quite there yet.

The consolidation of shapes was going in the right direction but the rectangular format wasn't right. I made the decision to change the overall format to a square which seemed much more appropriate given the quilt name.

As the mass of quarter circles came together it only seemed right that the larger shape created be circular in nature. I tried a lot of different arrangements until I got a somewhat uniform mass of circles. Careful attention was paid, not only to the placement of the circular units, but also to the negative shapes that were created. I wanted to balance the use of full circles, 3/4 circles, and half circles along with the negative shapes. I worked primarily with odd numbers, in many cases repeating the use of three elements as you can see below.

Once I got the basic shapes in place, I started to explore color. The constructive nature of the design reminded me of the early modern art movements of Constructivism and Bauhaus.  Black, white and red were frequently used in the graphic designs of these movements so it just seemed to be the right color scheme to use here. I did look at a few other colors but nothing was as dynamic and strong.

As you can see in the illustration below, I tried using red for the center square. It seemed like the natural place to use color. The effect, however, was that the red square became a positive shape rather than a negative space. There's nothing wrong with this except it wasn't what I was trying to depict. My intent was the creation of a negative square formed by the circles. Removing the red, as in the second example, returned the square to it's negative space but the design needed color. By placing the red in the only full circle in the entire layout a focal point was established. It gave the eye a place to start the journey of the circles swirling around the square.

Once I settled on color placement, I explored the finer details of the arrangement. The addition of little black arcs around the outside activated the circle. Take a look above at the far right illustration and then the illustrations below and you can see how the composition feels more active. I started with three (below left) and decided on six (below right).

Another refinement was in the small negative squares that come off the large central square. I felt the small squares (below left) diminished the effect of the large square. It didn't quite read as a single large square in the way I intended. Next, I tried changing the small squares to quarter circles (below right) but this didn't quite work either. Now the center square looked like it had three little wings. This arrangement also introduced a new shape to the black 3/4 circles that didn't really like.

Do you feel like you're playing one of those games where you need to find the differences? Can you find all the things I'm referencing? If not look harder.  : )

Below is the final layout. Simply rotating the quarter circle units brought the 3/4 quarter shapes back in alignment with the rest of the design while clearly defining the negative center square. So there you have it. The final design . . .

While I work out a lot of my designs in Illustrator, many of the finer details happen on my design wall. The placement of the final black arcs and refinement of the center square all happened on the wall. I also auditioned fabrics on the wall. I used tone-on-tone prints for almost all of the circle shapes and for all the negative areas except the center square which is a solid. I'm quite happy with how this design evolved and developed.

I quilted it with a giant spiral starting from the center of the red circle. Red thread was used in the red circle and then I switched to a very light gray for the rest. Can't say that I'd want to do spiral quilting on anything larger than this. The final size is 52" x 52" which is about the max I can imagine turning around and around and around under my short machine arm space.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my design process. My graphic design background leads me to a more controlled approach to my work but not everything is predetermined. It's a back and forth between computer and design wall. Sometimes even a rough sketch on paper.

Show Information:
I'd like to invite you to the opening reception Friday, October 27th from 6-8pm.
The exhibit, How New is Modern, will run October 23, 2017 through February 3, 2018.

If you live anywhere near Denver or will be visiting the area, you really should check it out. It's going to be a fabulous exhibit of modern quilts. Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum by visiting their site. Come see the quilts and learn about modern quilting.

I'll see you there.  : )