Here's a sincere wish to all for a HAPPY New Year. And if you ever find yourself feeling blue, just click on the little video below the calendar. It's been viewed over 1,600,000 times on YouTube (you'll see why!) It'll put a spring in your step and make you happy throughout the year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR (almost!) We're celebrating the arrival of 2012 by selecting our favorite tea towel calendars, which are perfect for the kitchen. Thanks to Etsy and Spoonflower, there is a wonderful selection of artistic calendars to choose from. What do you think about these?
2012 Birds and Berries Tea Towel Calendar by Lisa Ekström (California) at Spoonflower (also see the giclee art print on Etsy)
2012 Tea Towel Wall Calendar by Michelle Engel Bencsko (New Jersey) at Cicada Studio
The Four Seasons of 2012 by Isabel Chun (Hong Kong) at Spoonflower
When all the leaves have fallen off the trees you can see the structure of the branches which stand out unadorned against the winter sky. Emma How has captured the elegance of the winter tree in her "Winter Harvest" quilt and pattern. In this original design the spare beauty of the tree has been extended to the roots, which reach down into the snowy ground.
Emma quilted Winter Harvest in her signature "Emming style" to give the appearance of snowflakes swirling in the wind as shown in the detail photo below.
At Sampaguita Quilts on Etsy you can purchase a beautiful Apple Falls art quilt or the quilt pattern to make your own tree. The pattern focuses on Winter Harvest but includes instructions for a Spring tree with delicate pink blossoms (shown below) along with an Autumn and Summer version.
Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Emma How. She has been designing and making quilts for 15 years and has had many of her quilts published as projects in quilting magazines as well as feature profiles and articles. To read more about Emma's quilt designing and making, please visit her Sampaguita Quilts blog.
~All of our free pattern days are archived in the FREE PATTERNS tab at the top of this page.~
As we approach the New Year our thoughts turn to hopes and dreams. We've come across some wonderful *free* patterns featuring "Peace" and "Love". These words and symbols could be used for any number of projects : a little L-O-V-E would be great for Valentine's day ! (Note: this post was updated on January 13, 2013).
Row 1, above: Peace Love and Happiness, free quilt pattern (left) by Marinda Stewart and fabric panel (right) at Michael Miller Fabrics. Row 2: Give Peace A Chance, free quilt pattern by Rosemarie Lavin and Jean Ann Wright for the Feelin' Groovy Fabric Collection at Windham Fabrics; Peace Wall Art, fabric on canvas, by Dana at House*Tweaking. Row 3: Peace wall art by Amy Butler at Amy Butler Design. Row 4: Peace sign applique block by Kimara at Wee Folk Art; Peace Dove Ornament at Bella Dia.
Image credits: All images are copyrighted by their owners. Please respect their generosity in sharing their free patterns, and the restrictions they have placed on the use of these designs. Complete information can be found at the designers' websites provided in the links. If any links are broken, we'd love to know; email us at Quilt Inspiration.
We hope you have had a very happy holiday ! Depending on which hemisphere you live in - Northern or Southern - it is either winter or summer. Here is a versatile little quilt we've admired for some time, as it can be made to suit any season. Designed by Cheryl Wittmayer, the lone tree sports a leaf canopy of sheer fabric that can be placed under or over the branches. Five fabrics out of your stash and ultra simple piecing compose the background.
Seasons- Winter, 28 x 30", by Cheryl Wittmayer at Sew Be It (Montana)
Seasons- Summer, 28 x 30", by Cheryl Wittmayer at Sew Be It
Image credits: Cheryl Wittmayer's love of fabric, and the creativity possible with quilting, replaced her original artistic choice of weaving 30 years ago. She teaches quilt classes locally and nationally. Many of her quilting patterns have been published and have won awards at art, fiber, and quilt shows. For the complete line of patterns visit Cheryl's website at Sew Be It.
WE couldn't resist posting a few beautiful trees in honor of Christmas Eve. Here is "White Christmas", 40 x 42", by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now (Australia). Her elaborate trees, which include "Oh Christmas Tree", are among our favorite designs for Christmas.
Oh Christmas Tree 47.5” x 59" by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now, pattern at Twiddletails
And a red-and-white "Oh Christmas Tree" by Kellie Wulfsohn at Don't Look Now
Angels to watch over you, and angels to bring you messages of peace and love, at the holidays and throughout the New Year. Here are patterns by talented artists who we have featured in 2011. Happy holidays to all of our fellow quilt lovers and blogger friends around the world.
We were amazed when we saw these elegant art quilts, which we discovered at Laurie Tigner Designs. Laurie has created a wonderful collection of patterns for seasonal angels. These angels will adorn your home with their beauty and gracious repose throughout the year.
The Winter Angel is part of Laurie's "Seasonal Angels"series, using Hoffman 1895 Handpaints batiks. However, this lovely classic design lends itself to many different types of fabrics. There is a color template included so face and hands can be scanned and printed onto fabric on your inkjet computer. In addition, full size templates are provided. You can see the Spring, Summer and Autumn angels on Laurie's Angels Pattern Page.
Here's a warm and welcoming angel with prominent wings and an intricate celtic knot border. This Messenger Angel is cradling a dove, the symbol of love, faith, and peace. She would make a striking decoration in a front entry hall. For a contemporary look, her robe could be done in royal purple, with a hot turquoise background and a silver celtic border.
The Christmas angels are delightful in restful monochromatic blue. They would also look terrific in bright red tone-on-tone or Moda marbles fabric robes, with gold halos and trumpets, complemented by a spruce green background.
Laurie Tigner is in the midst of a very accomplished life, having worked as an art teacher, Air Force nurse, and now a quilt designer, pattern maker, and long arm quilter extraordinaire. Laurie writes, ......."it became clear that the design and flow of freehand machine quilting had become my new brushstrokes, satisfying my need for creative expression. Since then, I have expanded into designing my own patterns, though I still continue to quilt for others, as time allows."
Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Laurie Tigner. Fabric kits and instructions for some of Laurie's enchanting Seasonal Angels are available at Erica's Craft and Sewing.
With all the stillness and serenity of a deep Christmas night, here's an angel shining brightly against the starry sky. This Monterey Angel quilt, known as the "Celestial Angel", with its beautiful winter colors, uses Amish patchwork piecing to achieve a clean, geometric effect that looks stunning in all types of decor.
Monterey Angel, approx 60" x 60", by Helene Knott as seen at Story Quilts
Ten fabric colors, including three different shades of periwinkle blue, are used to create this luminous work. Surrounding the angel is the traditional trip-around-the-world piecing along with time-honored sawtooth stars using half-square triangles. The halo, face, and hands can be appliqued using a variety of techniques.
Here is another version of the Monterey Angel, done in rich, warm terracotta colors with a regal red and sage green gown. Because these colors are so often used in the folk art of the southwestern United States, Helene named this version the "Taos Angel", after the art town in New Mexico.
On Helene's website she writes, "I was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula in central California, a beautiful area that served as an inspiration to set me onto a creative path for life." The town of Monterey was the capital of Alta California from 1777-1846, when California was under the control of Spain and Mexico. Helene was inspired to create the wall quilts shown here by the paintings of angels displayed each Christmas season, in Monterey, a reflections of the town's cultural and artistic Spanish heritage.
Image credits: A very well-known, prolific quilt teacher, designer, and workshop leader, Helene has received many awards for her quilt creations, which have been featured on the cover of Quilter's Newsletter. For more information about Helene Knott and for photos of her brilliant work, please visit her intriguing website, Kitty Stomp. Images are shown here with the generous permission of Story Quilts.
Thomas Carlyle once said: "Music is well said to be the speech of angels." Jewish tradition says that angels constantly sing songs of praise to God, singing in shifts so that angelic songs go to God at all times of each day and night. Many famous Christmas carols have been written about the Bible’s account of a multitude of angels appearing in the sky over Bethlehem to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth. Also, some of the most beautiful images of angels come from stained glass windows in churches around the world. In keeping with these traditions, here are some beautiful quilts that look exactly like stained glass windows.
Angel of Light, approx, 28 x 35", by Ravenwood Designs (Alberta, Canada) as seen at Quilters Treasure
Image credits: Ravenwood Designs is based in Alberta, Canada and their patterns are sold exclusively through Quilter's Treasure. Three Swans Studios is comprised of two sisters – Joan Bouwmeester and Debbie Bouwmeester-Fasek – who reside and work in different parts of Canada: Ottowa, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta. Designs to Share with You is Ursula Riegel's creative pattern line based in Victoria, B.C., Canada. We previously featured her Advent Calendar Angel in our series on Christmas Around the World.
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The word "angel" actually comes from the Greek word aggelos, which means 'messenger'. Certain angels have the task of protecting and guiding human beings. Diane McGregor, the owner of Castilleja Cotton, believes that everyone needs an angel. Therefore she has created over a dozen charming patterns for angels that appear in human form.
Let It Snow Angel, 16.5 x 21", by Diane McGregor at Castilleja Cotton (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
The Asian Angel is one of the unusual angels you will find. There is also a Cowgirl Angel, completely decked out in Western attire and hat. Finally, here is Diane McGregor's original (2003) Angel Quilt Pattern, 18 x 15".
To find all of the angels simply type in "angel" in the search box at Castilleja Cotton.
Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Diane McGregor. Castilleja (ka_steel_ya) is the Latin name for the Indian Paintbrush flower, which can be found in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Castilleja Cotton has been in business since 1993 and has an eclectic selection of nearly 500 quilt patterns and themes. You can also find Diane's beautiful and original art quilts at her Castilleja Cotton Shop on Etsy.
Christmas in Israel generally coincides with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light, which spreads a festive spirit across the land. The celebrations are about to begin. Hanukkah in Israelis widely celebrated and marked by many symbolic events and, of course, foods. The Festival of Light, Hanukkah is an eight day festival, a celebration of hope and freedom. Meanwhile, Christmas in Israel is is truly Christmas in the Holy Land. In the town of Bethlehem, magnificent services take place on Christmas Eve. Here are a few little quilts that remind us of the historical significance of Israel for both religions.
This year Hanukkah begins on Tuesday, December 20, and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 28. The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE. Upon re-entering the Temple, it was found that there was only enough oil for the menorah to last for one day. The miracle of Hanukkah was that the oil burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil. An eight day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle which is observed by the kindling of the lights of the Menorah. The festival is symbolized in these charming wall hangings.
Happy Hanukkah by Elizabeth Rosenberg, pattern at Dreidel
Do you wonder what Christmas is like in Japan? Since less than 1% of Japan's population is Christian, there is no Japanese national holiday on December 25. Instead, Japanese people enjoy the pleasures of home and family as on any other day. Therefore we thought it appropriate to feature “My Home Town Tapestry” by designer Yoko Saito. This lovely quilt features the gentle taupe colors that have made her famous among quilters worldwide.
My Home Town Tapestry 108 x 98 cm by Yoko Saito at Quilt Party (Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan)
In 2008 Yoko Saito commemorated 30 years of creative activities with the Yoko Saito Quilt Exhibition in Ginza, Tokyo. In recent years, aside from her regular appearances on TV and in magazines in Japan, she has begun to expand her operations overseas, holding exhibitions and workshops in countries such as France, Italy and Taiwan. The pattern book and kit for "My Home Town Tapestry", and much of the website, are available in English. You can even purchase tickets for the Tokyo International Quilt Festival 2012. The amazing quilt on the show poster, below, is by none other than Yoko Saito.
The official website of the Tokyo Quilt Show is at the Tokyo Dome.
Finally, Yoko Saito has teamed with Lecien (pronounced Lew-shen), a fabric manufacturer based in Japan, to produce fabrics from her favorite collections. Her Fall 2011 line, Etoffe Imprevue, consists of natural textures such as wood grain, basket weave and cross hatch, and tiny flowers.
Sue Spargo was born in Zambia and grew up in South Africa before moving to England and, in 1989, to the US. Her folk-art imagery reflects her multicultural background and her fascination with "primitive" arts and crafts from around the world. Inspiration comes from memories collected during her African childhood with its animals and grasslands, a sojourn in the green South of England and time spent in Connecticut, Tennessee, Utah and Ohio. Here is Sue's joyful "Crimson Tweed" for Christmas.
This quilt was inspired by a few holiday cards which Sue bought in Italy. The backgrounds are wonderful tones of gray and taupe hand dyed wool interspersed by different textures using many Japanese cottons. The blocks are then appliquéd using a fun combination of wools, cottons and hand dyed velvet (a kit is available). A few stitches add dimension to many of the blocks.
About her fabrics, Sue says: "I love to use solids as they are restful and lend themselves to layering and endless creativity. Adding colors of hand dyed wools and velvets add subtle textures you will never find in cotton fabrics."
Crimson Tweed was featured in the December 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting (see the announcement at Sue Spargo and Twee's Blog). The Crimson Tweed book also includes patterns for 4 holiday projects: a table rug, holiday birds and snowflake pillows.
Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Sue Spargo.
Jacqueline de Jonge of Be Colourful has a full time job as secretary in the Cardiology department of a large hospital. At the same time she has achieved worldwide fame for her spectacular paper-pieced quilts. Jacqueline has loved fabrics, drawing, embroidery and sewing since she was a child. When she came across a quilt in a German magazine in 1978 she saw the way to utilize all of her accumulated skills. She taught herself to paper piece in 1998, and won her first award for best use of color in 2003. Several of her Be Colourful designs feature the colors of Christmas including Christmas Jewel, Joyful, and Surprisingly Red.
Surprisingly Red, 59" x 59", center medallion (below) by Jacqueline de Jonge at Be Colourful (Delft, The Netherlands)
Beautiful roses, soft pastels and warm reds are brought together in perfect harmony in this stunning quilt pattern. The center medallion, above, is a magnificent Mariner's Compass Star encircled by smaller stars done in 4 different designs. The medallion is surrounded by an undulating wave of skinny New York Beauty points (we counted nearly 500 points in the wave).
The quilt is called “Surprisingly Red” because "We were so incredibly surprised by the combination of warm red in this pastel colored fabric." She goes on to tell the story: "I had the fabric with the large roses in my house for a long time. The beautiful roses and soft pastels were screaming for beautiful pink fabrics and combinations... Unfortunately the pinks did not justify my beautiful rose fabrics. In fact, it became a pale combination. We started to seach for other colour groups and we came up with red." Here is the quilt displayed in a cozy living room in front of the fireplace - the perfect Christmas setting.
Jacqueline's Be Colourful website offers English and Dutch language options. Her brother, Harm Jan de Jonge, handles her website and communications with customers. For more information see a 2007 interview with Jacqueline de Jonge on the Press page, where you can also see the trailer for Jacqueline's recent appearance on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.
Mary Metcalf, who owns Kiwiquilts, is passionate about patchwork and quilting. As a fourth generation Kiwi, Mary is extremely proud of her New Zealand heritage. Through her online shop she is able to bring a piece of New Zealand's unique scenery, design and flora to quilters throughout the world. Here you will find quilts featuring Pohutukawa, a native New Zealand coastal tree with spectacular dark crimson flowers that bloom just before Christmas, and the beloved Kiwi bird.
Kiwi Christmas Treemini quilt, 15” x 15”, design by Jenny Hunter, pattern at Kiwiquilts (Auckland, New Zealand)
The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand, and the association is so strong that the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial name for New Zealanders. The Kiwi Christmas Tree mini quilt features flowers from the pohutukawa tree and, instead of the traditional angel, a gold kiwi presides over the tree. The first settlers used pohutukawa blossoms to decorate their homes at Christmas time, regarding it as a New Zealand substitute for holly. Here is a gorgeous Pohutukawa wall hanging that is one of the most popular patterns at Kiwiquilts:
Pohutukawa wall hanging, 80cm x 1.10m (31½” x 43½”), by Mary Metcalf at Kiwiquilts
The leaves are appliquéd either by hand or machine and the blossoms are very easy piecing; a fabric kit is available. We also love Mary Metcalf's green and red Hibiscus wall hanging and her many Kiwiana quilts and fabrics.
From high up in the Andes mountains, in the city of Quito, Ecuador, Angie Padilla runs her own international business: Angie's Quilt Pattern Shop. Angie set up her shop in 2003 to pursue her passion for quilting. She speaks English and Spanish (and German, French and Portuguese) and she previously had a successful 16-year career as a translator and interpreter. A creative designer and EQ* expert, Angie describes herself as a self-learner: "I taught myself to sew and to quilt. And I taught myself how to draw." Her highly original designs are rich in colorful applique work, such as this magnificent Christmas Dove.
As the pattern description says, this lovely wall hanging is not for the faint of heart -- it has many, many pieces -- but it is definitely for the dedicated applique lover. We can't get enough of this highly stylized design. Here is another beautiful finished Dove:
*Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Angie Padilla. She is an Electric Quilt (EQ) expert and the designer of My Dream House, an EQ CD that allows you to create your own dream house with over 450 pieces. Also, you can learn how to draw applique designs in EQ with Angie's Applique Drawing Book. Her wonderful patterns can be found at Angie's Quilt Pattern Shop and you can see a gallery of quilts at Angie's Flickr photostream