Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quilt Artist Bonita McFadden

Our good friend Bonita McFadden is one of the most talented quilters that we know ! Born in California, Bonita spent her career in the field of medicine as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (C.R.N.A.) In the midst of her career, she took a class in quilt applique in 1989 and has been quilting enthusiastically ever since. She quilts as a memory of her travels around the world and as a tribute to her family members. Bonita's quilts have appeared in several quilt shows, including the prestigious Pacific International Quilt Festival. We know you'll enjoy her very gifted and innovative work ! We love all these quilts -- let us know in the comments which one is your favorite !

Things Chinese, 68 x 75", by Bonita McFadden

As a tribute to her brother, Frank Porter, Bonita constructed this noble and elegant dragon from a hanging tapestry displayed in Hali Magazine in 1995. The background is done in pieced rectangles, and the dragon is sewn in needle-turn hand applique, accented by machine satin stitch, couch stitching, and free-motion quilting.

Closeup, Things Chinese by Bonita McFadden

Hali Magazine provides an apt description of the dragon: "Powerful and Merciful. The Chinese dragon is the symbol for the male, fertile rain, imperial power, wealth, success, and the striving force of nature. He is a benevolent creature, who has been worshipped since primitive times as Lung Wang, the Dragon King. Originally, he was a composite beast with antlers on a camel's head, hare's eyes, snake neck, frog's belly, carp's scales, and eagles claws. His gaping mouth, gigantic feelers below the round eyes, playing round his body, and his sharp claws, all give him a frightening aspect.
For his strength, he is always shown pursuing Jui Chu, the wish-granting flaming pearl, striving for immortality and perfection."

Close up, Things Chinese by Bonita McFadden

In this close-up, you can see the "Jui Chu", the wish-granting flaming pearl that is pursued by the dragon. It is adorned with lovely pearl beads, surrounded by couch-stitched flames.

Cearbi's Dream, 48 x 50", by Bonita McFadden

One of Bonita's friends named CRB, told her of a startling dream she had one night, where a frightened man appeared, holding his hand up to his forehead. Bonita made a fabric rendition of this dream to enter into a quilt show in Pennsylvania. She pieced the background and needle-turn appliqued the foreground, using her husband's hand and her own mouth and eyes as models. The border with its bright red jagged slashes, is decorated with small white shells for contrast. The irregular trapezoid shape of the quilt symbolizes the off-kilter aspects of dream consciousness.

Close up, Cearbi's Dream by Bonita McFadden

Tiny couch-stitching embellishes the flash of light around the man's face. By using high contrast bold print fabric and motifs that resemble lightning bolts, Bonita has expertly captured the surreal and vivid images that one experiences while dreaming.

Mom and the Masai Warrior, 49 x 70", by Bonita McFadden

When Bonita and her mother were on safari in Tanzania, Africa, they met a group of Masai tribespeople. Bonita took a photo of her mother standing next to one of the warriors in traditional dress, which became the inspiration for this fascinating and colorful work.

Close-up, Mom and the Masai Warrior by Bonita McFadden

Bonita pieced the quilt background with isosceles triangles which form partial hexagons. Small gold charms in the shape of animals were used as embellishments, and several of these fabrics were purchased in Africa.  Both Bonita's mother and the warrior wear necklaces of real beads, which enhances the three-dimensional aspect of this spectacular quilt. 

Close up, Mom and the Masai Warrior by Bonita McFadden

On the quilt back, Bonita has included the photo she used for this original design. As her mother loved elephants, Bonita used a large-scale elephant print for the backing fabric and decorated the lower border of the quilt front with appliqued elephants.

Bonita used the Broderie Perse applique method to affix these large scale lion prints to the quilt background. Also depicted on this quilt are zebras, elephants, rhinoceroses,and giraffes. Surrounded by images of so many large creatures of the animal kingdom, it is easy to imagine that we are part of this fabulous African journey.

Segami 60 x 84, by Bonita McFadden

"Segami" is the word "images" spelled backwards. This stunning quilt depicts a collection of masks that Bonita and her husband acquired on their travels. Shown here are masks from France, Haiti, Africa, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as a replica of a construction paper mask created by Bonita's niece, Wendy Porter. We can almost hear the trade winds whispering their invitation to visit all the exotic ports of call symbolized by this fascinating display!

Close up, Segami by Bonita McFadden

A face that is both primitive and modern, with its abstract dimensions, this block of the Segami quilt is embellished with small jingle bells and feathers. The richly hued background colors of grape, pink, orange, and green really help direct the viewer's eye to the soft neutrals of this fascinating countenance.

Close up, Segami by Bonita McFadden

The Olmec Indians were an ancient tribe of southern Mexico. They are known for their sculptures of massive stone heads, as symbolized by this mask, appliqued by Bonita in muted monochromatic hues of jade green. The words above the mask, written by Bonita's stepdaughter Mary Catherine McFadden say, "A mask allows humankind the opportunity to view the world from a hidden place."

Stately, distinctive curved horns and electric blue eyes decorate the intriguing visage of this animal mask made in Africa. The background is pieced of solid and print fabrics, and the face is done in needle-turn applique.

From Thailand, this mask is comprised of silver metal applied to an empty turtle shell. The applique is done in metallic fabric, embellished with satin stitch and couch-stitched metallic yarn.

Here's an original mask designed by Bonita herself, embellished with small flowers with center beads, satin stitching, and a very stylish top knot set with a jeweled stone.

Memories of Michael, 39 x 61", by Bonita McFadden

Bonita created this very cheery, vibrant quilt in loving memory to her late husband, Michael McFadden.  Michael is symbolized by the face of the sun, and the appliqued hand prints that surround him are those of Bonnie's stepchildren and their children. Michael's Irish heritage is shown by the happy green shamrocks on the upper right of this original design.  On the upper center, Bonita has constructed a three dimensional  cloth wallet that opens to display some of Michael's mementos, such as his passport, his country club pin and crest showing that he was an avid golfer, and a list of his favorite books.

Close-up, Memories of Michael by Bonita McFadden

Underneath the three-dimensional face of this sun wearing silver spectacles is a photo of Michael, who wore identical silver spectacles. He was  often described by those who knew him as a bright ray of sunshine in the lives of his family and friends.  We found this quilt to be a very touching, moving way to depict the happiness in married life that Bonita and Michael found together.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pineapple delight: Pineapple log cabin quilts!

This is our first-ever feature on Pineapple Log Cabin quilts. The Pineapple block design radiates from the center, and the overlapping angled strips produce a jagged edge that creates a whirl of motion.   Here are some dazzling examples!  

Note:  We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter! Check us out @QuiltInspire.

Summer Love by Keith Dommer

Blue ribbon winner at the 2014 Tucson Quilt Fiesta for Best Machine Quilted Pieced and Appliqued quilt, Keith writes, "Finally - it's finished !  My first quilt adding turned-edge machine applique to amp up a traditional pieced quilt. And apparently 15 years ago when I started this, I really liked green and orange together."  Keith's message is humorous, but it contains an important lesson:  Never give up on a UFO ( unfinished object), because you might achieve spectacular results upon its completion !

The use of gray and black neutrals as a background really help the green and orange blocks to "pop", in order to display the distinctive triangular, geometric look of the pineapple design. The circles within the center diamonds provide an innovative adaption to this traditional pattern.

Pineapple Log Cabin quilt by Sheila Arnold

Sheila Arnold notes, "I made this quilt to research methods of construction to teach a pineapple log cabin class." Sheila's quilt was part of the "Pieced Pineapple Special Exhibit" shown at the 2014 Quilt Arizona Show in Mesa, AZ.

The pineapple pattern is one that looks great in high contrast colors, whether the fabric is batik, solid colors, or small calico prints. The midnight blue, cream, and red calico prints give a contemporary, but warm and cozy look to this eye-catching design. Extra visual interest is provided by the four-patch blocks which nicely frame the quilt's center medallion.

Red Licorice, 34 x 34",  by Linda McGibbon

Linda explains, "I used pineapple blocks in a diamond shape. I then used black background fabric in some of the pieces and Stitch-n-Ditch to make the design three dimensional." Red Licorice won Second Place, Pieced-Small, at the 2013 Shipshewana Quilt Festival. A pattern for Red Licorice is available at Linda McGibbon's website: Lakeview Quilting.

Close up, Red Licorice by Linda McGibbon

Set against the dark black background, these high-chroma hues glow beautifully, almost as if they are illuminated by a black light.

When Pineapples Kaleide by Judy D. Birchett, quilted by Kate Snyder

This elegant creation is a cross between a Lone Star and a Pineapple quilt.  Judy Birchett says that When Pineapples Kaleide was based on the New Day Dawning quilt pattern, which can be found in the book, Pineapple Stars by Sharon Rexroad (2005).

Close up, When Pineapples Kaleide by Judy D. Birchett, quilted by Kate Snyder

Judy used the word "kaleide" to title this quilt, because her design looks like the pattern seen inside a kaleidoscope, a mirror-filled cylinder which displays fragments of images when one looks into it. This intricate center star is surrounded by an intriguing quilting pattern which replicates the sharp points of the pineapple blocks, but also adds some lyrical curves to provide a sense of balance to this innovative work.

Aurora by Dixie Haywood, exhibited by Lynn Kough

Lynn Kough says, "[This] quilt was purchased at a National Quilting Association Little Quilt Auction, which benefits the Grant Programs. It's wonderful to own a pineapple quilt made by one of the "dynamic duo" - Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood."
There are actually nine pineapple blocks in this quilt. In the blocks on the edges, the four outer pineapple rings were done in a single color (purple), which emphasizes the octagonal shape within each block.

The center block, done in four different colors, is shown below:

Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood have promoted the paper-piecing method of constructing pineapple quilts in order to enhance accuracy, which you can see in these blocks. In fact, in their book Hall and Haywood's Foundational Quilts, they advocate for using paper-piecing in the construction of almost every traditional geometric pattern.

Fresh Pineapple Possibilities, 2013, by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood (Amazon)

On her website,  Jane Hall says, "My friend Dixie Haywood and I have written six books about this old-made-new technique. We wrote the first book on Pineapples and have been known ever since as ‘The Pineapple Queens.’ "

Image credits:  Quilt show photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the Arizona Quilters' Guild show, the Tucson Quilt Fiesta (Summer Love), and the Houston International Quilt Festival (Red Licorice).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Free pattern day: Baby quilts! (part 3)

Here are 30 free patterns for adorable baby quilts!  Also see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.  To go to a pattern: Scroll down the page until you see the quilt you like, then click on the words "PDF download" (or the hyperlinked website name) in the title above the quilt.

Also check out our E-Bay shop for great bargains on quilt patterns, fabric, and vintage jewelry!
For more free quilt patterns, please visit us on Twitter.

Blue When Skies are Gray quilt, 48 x 56", free pattern at Riley Blake Designs (CLICK for PDF download)

Dino Friends quilt
, 58" square, free pattern by Lynne Goldsworthy for Makower UK (CLICK for PDF download)

Water and Wings baby quilt
, free pattern at Riley Blake Designs (CLICK for PDF download)

Soft Hearts quilt, ~36 x 40", free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for Timeless Treasures Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Noah's Ark quilt
, 48 x 64", free pattern by September Olson for Clothworks (CLICK for PDF download)

Ring Around the Daisy quilt, 54" square, free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for Windham Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Adventures with Ellie quilt, ~60" square, free pattern by Natalie Crabtree for Windham Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Elephant wall hanging, ~29 x 42", free pattern by Casey York for Windham Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Central Park quilt, 52 x 59”, free pattern by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Monster Mash quilt, 54 x 60", free pattern by Susan Emory for Michael Miller Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Crayon Box quilt, ~28 x 39", free pattern at Riley Blake Designs (CLICK for PDF download)

Big Linus Heart quilt, 44 x 59", free pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sew Hooked (CLICK for PDF download)

Up in the Air, 46 x 58", free pattern at Windham Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Emoji wall quilt, 18 x 22", free pattern at Art Gallery Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Enchanted Castle quilt, 40 x 52",  free pattern by Marinda Stewart for Michael Miller Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Flutterby Baby quilt, 35 x 42", free pattern at Fabric Editions (CLICK for PDF download)

Criss Cross Applesauce quilt, free pattern by Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Purely Precious flannel baby quilt, 30 x 38", free pattern at Cloud 9 Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Safari Sweet quilt, 48 x 60", free pattern by Alyssa Thomas for Clothworks (CLICK for PDF download)

Superstar baby quilt, 34 x 30” , free pattern by Malka Dubrawsky for United Notions (CLICK for PDF download)

Rhythm quilt, 52 x 52”, free pattern at Cloud 9 Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Ships Ahoy baby quilt, ~44 x 66”, free pattern by Rhoda Nelson for All People Quilt (CLICK for PDF download)

Toddle Time baby quilt, 39 x 39”, free pattern by Vivian Ritter for McCall’s Quilting (CLICK for PDF download)

Around the Block quilt, ~51” square, super size log cabin, free pattern by Jennifer Keltner at All People Quilt (CLICK for PDF download)

Sundial quilt, 50 x 50”, free pattern by Lynne Goldsworthy for Dear Stella Design (CLICK for PDF download)

Hugs & Kisses for baby, 52 x 52”, free pattern by Cindy Carter at Carter Quilter (CLICK for PDF download)

Easy Rainbow baby bargello quilt, free pattern at Fat Quarter Shop (CLICK for PDF download)

Just Color quilt, 40 x 40”, free wonky log cabin pattern at Studio E Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Round About quilt, ~40 x 50”, free pattern by Allison Jane Smith for Windham Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

 Let’s Visit the Zoo, ~52 x 64”, free pattern by Cheryl A. Adam for Free Spirit Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

Ceratopsia (dinosaur) pillow, free pattern at Art Gallery Fabrics (CLICK for PDF download)

IMAGE CREDIT: This post was updated on September 30, 2023. 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.  Some of these are tutorials while others include downloadable (.pdf) patterns; we have tried to note which is which in the titles.  We update our links every 6 months as needed; however, websites may change their pages in between updates.  If any link is broken, we'd love to know so we can fix it; email us at quiltinspiration {at} gmail {dot} com.

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