Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Twelve Days of Hearts, Flowers and Friendship: Day 2

Welcome to our tribute to Valentine's Day quilts ! With its emphasis on love, kindness and caring for others, Valentine's Day is one of our favorite celebrations. We're calling it "Twelve Days of Hearts, Flowers, and Friendship."  Here is our feature quilt for Day 2.

Magical Moments by Charlene Nelson

The center hearts were made in 2001 from a pattern in an American Quilter Magazine. The borders were added over the years as the quilt evolved.  What a positive message: "Love grows.... love flows... love is spoken here."  It has a double batting of Hobbs wool and 80/20 Heirloom. It received Honorable Mention at the 2016 Springville (Utah) quilt show.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Twelve Days of Hearts, Flowers and Friendship: Day 1

Welcome to our tribute to Valentine's Day quilts ! With its emphasis on love, kindness and caring for others, Valentine's Day is one of our favorite celebrations. We're calling it "Twelve Days of Hearts, Flowers, and Friendship."  Let's get started with Day 1 :

Hearts 4 You by Ildiko Dancs

We saw Ildiko's quilt at the Quilt Arizona ! show in Mesa, Arizona; and we really liked the vibrant colors and swirling energy of this work. Ildiko explains that it is based on the "Sedona Surprise" pattern by Sarah Vedeler Designs.

The lovely machine embroidery was done on a track-mounted machine. This quilt is so cheery that it will brighten up even the cloudiest day in February. It's difficult not to smile when looking at this fun and playful valentine motif.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Free patterns for Valentine's Day!

It's our 7th blogiversary, and we're still going strong, and having fun! Starting Monday, we'll be featuring Twelve Days of Hearts, Flowers and Friendship.  Have you checked out our free pattern posts for Valentine's Day? You can find more than 50 free patterns for quilts, wall hangings, table runners and pillows! Click here for Hearts and Valentine quilts and here for quilts that spell LOVE.
Please note: We're selling beautiful quilting and crafting books and fabrics at low introductory prices on e-Bay! Also, we're continuously posting free patterns on Twitter!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tumbling Blocks revisited !

Tumbling blocks are hexagon shapes made with three diamonds (or two diamonds plus two 60-degree triangles), which are shaded so that they look three dimensional. The recent Pacific  International Quilt Show had some wonderful examples of tumbling blocks quilts.

Sampler Cubed, 69 x 37”, by Nancy Colladay (Kinsington, Maryland)

Nancy Colladay's original design, entered in the Mid Century Mod quilt competition, was machine pieced and longarm quilted. She says, "The work of Victor Vasarely, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, is very geometric and appears three-dimensional. As a quilter his pieces remind me of the tumbling block layout. By using traditional blocks inside the tumbling blocks, I tried to bring tradition into the realm of modern quilting."  We enjoyed the precise Greek key quilting design in the negative space.

Nancy continues, "While the colors I selected are somewhat calmer than the mid-century modern artist’s palette, light blue and chocolate brown were very fashionable in the 1960’s and I find them pleasing." A subtle variation in values creates a three-dimensional look.

Child, 68 x 85”, by Junko Isawa (Japan)

Child was exhibited in the World Quilt Competition at the 2016 PIQF show. Each face of each tumbling block is comprised of a quilt block design such as a pinwheel or square-within-square. Hand stitching and quilting such small pieces with kimono silk is not easy, and Junko Isawa did a masterful job. She says, "I have been collecting pretty fabrics for a long time. This work, in celebration of children, was made from children’s kimono fabrics that were from my collection."

Junko says that she began by classifying all her fabrics into three categories based on their brightness [value]. She says that this quilt was difficult to make and it took some time to complete!

This Way or That by Ruth Archer (South Africa)

This quilt is distinguished by its use of shimmering color, created by subtle variations in pattern and hue arranged to create a waterfall effect. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. Ruth Archer says that this started out as a cushion cover, created out of boredom while she was on holiday in Australia. It grew and developed as she went along without any plan except for a love of the colors.

The name of the quilt,  "This Way or That", comes from the fact that the quilt can be viewed from both sides! She added short strings of beads to embellish the bottom edge of the quilt.

Tumbling Tornado by Claire Victor (Palm Springs, California)

Claire Victor created this variation of a tumbling blocks and stars design. We love the bright analogous color scheme, the arrangement of the blocks, and the unique border. Claire says, "I modified a pattern by Marci Baker and added my original border to this tumbling block design. It was extremely challenging because of the size and the fact that the light source constantly changes."

Out of the Mist, 39 x 46”, by Kim Loar (Lancaster, PA)

Out of the Mist is a perfect example of the use of three values (dark, medium and light) to create the tumbling blocks illusion.  It won a blue ribbon for Best Machine Quilting in the 12th Annual Quilters Treasure challenge. Kim Loar says, "Out of the Mist represents my passion for geometric pattern and my love of watching the sun peek through on a misty morning. The grays represent the mist/clouds with the different reds as the sun."

The quilt was based on the Butterflies quilt pattern in Gyleen Fitzgerald’s book, Polygon Affair. Using Gyleen’s method, this quilt was mostly constructed using Y-seams, a technique that Kim Loar wanted to master.

Optical Cubes by Jeanne Walsh (Tucson, Arizona)

In June 2012,  Jeanne Walsh (who was, at the time, a beginning quilter) took a class from Karen Combs on an Alaska quilting cruise. For this project she used Karen’s “Patchwork Illusions” pattern. A geometric focus fabric was used to create the ribbons on the “packages”.

Life = Opposites, 43 x 43", by Shoshi Finkelstein (Israel)

Shoshi Finkelstein used black, white and red music-themed fabric to create interest in this dramatic version of a honeycomb design.  In the close-up photo below you can see that the top of each cube is made from two 60-degree triangles instead of a single diamond; this "quick" method of tumbling block construction avoids the need for inset or Y-seams.  The quick method was described in detail Sara Nephew's classic 2001 book, the Big Book of Building Block Quilts.

Cubicles, 44 x 50”, by Edwina J. Ow (San Francisco, California)

This honeycomb design looks totally different when each hexagon is made with a single color. Edwina Ow used dotted prints in a variety of hues to create a modern look.  She says, "Twenty-five years ago I started traveling with my mother to Europe and Asia, working and knitting. Now I’m caring for my mother and grandsons, exercising, and quilting during my free time. This quilt is embellished with covered buttons purchased from the 80’s and Swarovski beads."  Cubicles was machine piece and sewing machine quilted.

The Giant Tumble by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes; quilted by Marla Monson

Here's the easiest of all tumbling block quilts! Comprised of only 27 pieces, plus border triangles, The Giant Tumble couldn't be simpler.  It is featured on page 62 of the book Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes.  This quilt shows that print fabrics can be used to create tumbling blocks as long as the light-medium-dark value principle is maintained.  Laura also gives workshops on foolproof Y-seam construction.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival, the 2014 Road to California (The Giant Tumble, Tumbling Tornado) and the 2014 Tucson Quilt Guild show (Optical Cubes).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An Homage to Amish Quilts

Amish quilts are typically created with solid, bold and saturated colors, with black used as background. This striking contrast of intense hues on black creates a vibrant, exceptional quilt. The simplicity and beauty of Amish quilts have helped to generate a new interest among contemporary quilters, who often combine Amish design with modern color combinations and quilting designs. Here is an homage to Amish quilts.

Arizona Amish by Ann Novak, quilted by Ann Novak

Almost all Amish quilt patterns are composed of geometric shapes, and most consist of a central design surrounded by borders. Quilts with large, geometric pieces of solid-colored fabric, such as the Diamond in the Square design, are among the most popular of all Amish patterns. Inspired by Amish quilts, Ann Novak says: “My Amish-style quilt was started in the 1980’s. Early in 2013, I was challenged to complete an unfinished quilt. The outside border and binding completed the quilt.”  

Arizona Amish was beautifully hand quilted by Ann Novak.  It was exhibited at the 2014 Arizona Quilters’ Guild show.

Balinese Lone Star by Joyce C. Heuett, quilted by Pennie Crouch

As Kimberly Wulfert explains at Womenfolk, the Amish liked the large central Star pattern known as Bethlehem Star or Lone Star. Joyce Heuett’s Balinese Lone Star was inspired by the traditional quilts, but the star itself was made with batiks. Joyce says, “My son serves in the US Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia. He misses the sunsets of AZ. The quilt’s colors will remind him of home skies.”  

The Balinese Lone Star quilt was exhibited at the 2015 Arizona Quilters’ Guild show.

Little Bit Amish by Charlotte Angotti 

Little Bit Amish, made by teacher and author Charlotte Angotti, was exhibited at the 2013 Houston IQF. Charlotte has been teaching nationally/internationally since 1991 and now lives in the Lafayette, LA area.  We admired the elaborate machine quilting on this wall quilt.

Lancaster Rose, 88 x 88”, by Janet Davis (Colorado)

Janet Davis was inspired by a miniature Variable Star Ohio Amish quilt dated 1895. You can purchase a pattern for this Lancaster Rose quilt at Fons and Porter. The rose quilting was a variation of Feathered Rose Collection by Judy Allen

Amish Schoolhouses, 53 x 53”, by Cathie Hoover

Cathie Hoover says, “Amish quilts have delighted me ever since Roberta Horton’s 1982 Amish quilts class at the Cotton Patch quilt shop in Lafayette, California." Amish Schoolhouses was published in the book Amish Quilts—The Adventure Continues, which was featured at the 2014 Road to California quilt show. There are sixteen 8-inch schoolhouse blocks in this quilt, which was hand quilted. 

Cathie continues, "Once a week for twelve weeks, I journeyed 150 miles round trip to attend [Roberta Horton's] class. It was delightful to work with solid colors and learn to assemble a number of different quilt blocks and quilts in the Amish palette… we studied photographs of Amish quilts from other books to get a sense of their color use, and we learned that the Amish always seemed to choose the easiest method of quilt construction. The Amish choice of quilting patterns was also a joy to follow."

Half-Square Triangles with Zig Zag Border, made by Gwen Marston

This is the cover quilt from the book Free Range Triangle Quilts by Gwen Marston and Cathy Jones. It was shown in the AQS Authors’ Exhibit at the 2016 AQS show. The book features traditional and improvisational quilts based on the triangle shape. Straight line looping quilting helps to emphasize the diagonal lines.

Black Stars, 77 x 92”, by Patricia Bailey (Hayward, California)

This wonderful scrap quilt was paper pieced and longarm machine quilted using an allover curved quilting design. The black background fabric makes all the other fabrics pop. This quilt was shown at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Southwestern Quilts

On these winter days in the northern hemisphere, we're looking to the southwestern United States for some warm and sunny inspiration! Here are highlights of quilts with a southwestern theme.

Please note: We're selling beautiful quilting and crafting books and fabrics at low introductory prices on e-Bay! Also, we're continuously posting free patterns on Twitter!

Kayenta Formation by Ann Petersen

Blue ribbon winner for Best Pieced Small Quilt and Exemplary Machine Quilting at the Quilt Arizona ! show, Ann says of her original design, "Originally a Hoffman Fabrics Challenge quilt, [this] remnds me of the layers of rocks in northern Arizona called the Kayenta Formation , [which often is comprised of tall vertical cliffs that are red or brown in color]."  We are impressed with the way that Ann set some of the blocks en pointe or on the diagonal to convey the impression of the vertical cliffs.

Closeup, Kayenta Formation

We love these intriguing quilting patterns which add so much to the beauty of the quilt. Ann quilted this herself on a stationary machine.

Dancing to the Sky, 41 x 64", by Janet Haefner (Arizona)

Dancing to the Sky was juried into the 2014 American Quilting Society Show in Phoenix, Arizona. This quilt was based on a clay sculpture Janet Haefner made in 1983 of Kachina children climbing a ladder to a mesa top for a dance. The figures were extensively embellished with beads, charms, buttons and embroidery threads.

She painted silk for the feathers because real feathers were too fragile. For more information on Dancing to the Sky, see the description at The Quilt Index

Faux Navajo Rug, 54 x 60,  by Cindy Seitz-Krug

Cindy notes, "I've always loved Navajo rugs and dreamed of owning one. But they are quite expensive ! So I decided that until I save up enough money to buy my dream rug, I'd make a quilt that resembled one"

Cindy continues, "This really isn't done in traditional Navajo rug colors, but it's beautiful nonetheless and definitely has a Southwest feel."  Cindy's striking contemporary work is machine pieced, paper-pieced, and machine quilted.

Fade In, Fade Out by Melissa Dunworth

Melissa explains, " I was inspired by the Native American rugs that my parents had hanging in our house when I was a child. The spiral quilting was done to represent ripples in a pond, as each of our lives adds ripples to the world around us, whether we realize it or not."

Closeup, Fade In, Fade Out

Melissa adds, "I wanted to keep the colors simple with a bright pop right in the center." We think the spiral quilting is very effective and perfect for this pattern, as it contrasts beautifully with the strong angular, geometric patchwork.

Desert Rose Serenade by Nancy M. Howell

Third place winner in the Small Pieced Quilts category at the Quilt Arizona ! show, Nancy's quilt is based on the Two For Us BOM quilt by Sue Nickels and Pat Holly for The Quilt Show in 2013. We admire the primitive motif style of the small turquoise bears, which add southwestern charm to this work.

Deep teal blue provides an excellent contrast to the overall rust and cinnamon colorways on the ivory background. 

Kathi's Round Robin by Kathi Martin

A "Round Robin" is the construction technique of multiple quilters adding to a quilt one by one, because the quilt is passed around the group, from one person to the next. Kathi notes, "I made a 24 inch quilt center and sent it on to 4 friends to each add a 6 inch border, then finished it off with 3 more borders."

Closeup, Kathi's Round Robin

We loved the vibrant colors of the center of Kathi's quilt, which are comprised of 8 inch blocks, done in southwestern colors of teal, orange, and copper. Kathi quilted her pretty creation herself, using a track-mounted machine.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.
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