3 Perfect Ideas

Pieced quilt, circles

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

1. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

I made this quilt a long time ago to practice circles, and the quotation that inspired it came to mind recently when I was debating which quilts are “good enough” to be submitted to juried shows.  It probably is obvious that the design above is more interesting than the “perfect” one shown below:

pieced quilt, circles

Perfect Isn’t So Good

2. “Perfect” is well enough done that you are satisfied when you look at it, but not so over-worked that you’re sick of quilting by the time you finish it.

To make a perfect quilt, It helps to start with:

  • The right pattern for your skill level
  • Fabric you love
  • Techniques you enjoy (e.g., paper piecing, applique, whatever)
  • The right tools, well maintained

3. You may be more capable of “perfect” than you think.  It helps to have friends who keep you honest!  I recently had trouble making my seams line up on a medallion-style block and my friend Jerri said, “You’re too good a quilter for that!  You just don’t want to bother!”  Oops, she was right.

And here’s a book that helped me with “perfecting” my blocks:  

Sneaky Piecing by Beth Ferrier

I found this book with lots of tips on how to improve piecing accuracy and got a lot better with just a little practice!

I recommend the book if you want to improve some of your skills, too.

pieced quilt block

Swap Block–88 little squares!!!

And look at this lovely swap block with the corners all matched up!  It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough :-)

6 Orphan Blocks, 1 Donation Quilt

I’ve probably mentioned that one of the ways I’m motivating myself to get rid of the excess in the studio is by joining Marti’s UFO finish of the month over at 52 Quilts.  As part of my ongoing effort to “clean it up, move it out” I’m making a series of donation quilts out of my orphan blocks.

pieced quilt blocks

Orphan blocks from a recent project

I had these 6 blocks that I liked, so I looked for fabric to go with them. The bright turquoise went well, but I had enough to join them only, not to frame them.  Searching for something to make it wider, I found a piece of black/white chevron fabric and decided it needed to be used, and FAST.chevron fabric

My daughter recently point out, “When you find chevrons on your mouthwash bottle, they’re on the way out!” :-D

Finally, I had some colorful Michael Miller dots that seemed to fit in:Michael Miller dots

And WOW!  A very “lively” improvised quilt.Donation quilt

I’m going to practice free motion quilting it on my new Bernina, and it will be the August UFO finish of the month.  Then off to Ronald McDonald House it goes.

 

 

 

11 Favorites from AQS Charlotte

The quilts at AQS in Charlotte were inspiring, and there were more modern ones than at most AQS shows. Here are 11of my favorites. They aren’t necessarily the judges’ favorites; those are available on the AQS website here.  I judge mainly on innovative or attractive overall design; the judges have another set of rules.  I hope you enjoy my choices!

quilt AQS Charlotte

Joy, by Peg Collins of Colorado

The Modern Design Challenge had loads of great quilts, but I only took pictures of my very, very favorites:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award

modern quilt, AQS Charlotte

The Market is Up, another quilt by Jean Larson

quilt AQS Charlotte

Mid-Century Modern II, by Serena Brooks, won the Improvisation award

modern quilt AQS Charlotte

Canopy by Helen Garland

There was a display of art quilts, including this one by an art quilter whose work I really like:

art quilt AQS Charlotte

Artfabrik, by Laura Wasilowski

And I liked this quilt by Miriam C. Coffey, who is in one of my guilds:

quilt at AQS Charlotte

This, That, and the Other, by Miriam C. Coffey

And there was a big display of quilts from the Tentmakers of Cairo.  I’d heard about them (from you, Bert!) so I was glad to see some of their work:

Tentmaker of Cairo quilt

quilt by Haissan Kamal

And finally, some quilts I just liked for various reasons:

Dear Jane variation at AQS Charlotte

Jane As A Teenager, by Anya Tyson

art quilt at AQS Charlotte

Out of my Box, by Kathy McNeil

quilt at AQS Charlotte

Fiesta Fireworks by Julia Graber

Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette!

I mentioned Design-seeds.com in my last post as a good color resource, but there are SO MANY others!  Today I’m going to tell you about just one, and I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy it.  Others to come in the future!

—Today’s Feature: Palette Builder—

screen shot from Palette Builder

Here’s a palette from a picture I took

It’s free!  It’s easy to use!  Anne Sullivan and friends have a fun app accessible from their blog at Play-Crafts.com.  Just go to the blog, choose PaletteBuilder from the menu along the top, and you’re IN.  You can upload a picture of your choice and the app gives you a palette that looks a lot like the ones on Design Seeds with two fun differences:  PaletteBuilder uses YOUR photo, and it gives you colors in Kona Cotton that closely match your palette!

screen shot from PaletteBuilder

Palette made from my quilt

But let’s say you love the palette in my “Study for New Mexico” quilt and want to use it for a quilt of your own.  Just find the quilt on my blog, load the picture into PaletteBuilder, and there you go.  The Kona cottons are chosen for you!

screen shot from PaletteBuilder

PaletteBuilder may “see” individual colors better than your mind does

This program may be especially helpful with a picture like the one above.  First, I wouldn’t have thought to put those shades of lavender in there, but I’m pretty sure they would show up well as shadows if I were converting this picture to a landscape quilt. Second, if you’re working on a desktop computer instead of an iPad you can move some of those little circles to sample parts of the picture that might have been left out (like the purple crocus in the top picture.)

So if you have a photo with lovely colors that you would like to see in a quilt, you can start here for your palette.  Now, go have some fun!

Here are the previous posts in this series (click on the title to go to the post):

Quilt Design 4: Choosing Your Color Scheme

Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

Your Inner Designer 2: Many Block Arrangements

Find Your Inner Designer, Part 1

It’s Out!!!

I’ve been WAITING to tell about my Zippy Star quilt, which appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, and here it is!

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Didn’t they do a great job of the “glamor shot”?  I love the setting

And the magazine has clear instructions with lots of helpful pictures.  OK, I wrote the instructions and their staff improved on my pictures, so both are pretty good!  There’s a pillow cover to go with the quilt, just for fun.

instructions

This is one of several pages of instructions

The Michael Miller company worked with me to choose fabric for the quilt and I’m very pleased with how it came out.  The central square fabric is called “Tara’s Fireworks” and is a print made from a quilt one of MM’s employees created with their Cotton Couture solids.  So of course the star points made from Cotton Couture solids match perfectly!

fabric for quilt

Some of the beautiful Michael Miller fabrics

The quilt is fairly small (48 x 58) so I quilted it on my home machine.  This was such fun and I’m so pleased with how it is featured in the magazine!

magazine cover

Here’s the magazine cover. It should be at Barnes & Noble and Joann’s soon!

10 Favorites from Vermont Quilt Festival

I really enjoyed the Vermont Quilt Festival in Burlington the end of June.  I expected a traditional quilt show, and there were some traditional quilts, but there were many modern quilts as well.  Here are 10 of my favorites for various reasons.  That fantastic quilting on the first one was done by Carrie Zizza of Zizza Machine Quilting (http://www.itsazizza.com/).

quilting detail

Look at the quilting on Love Those Liberties by Laura Clements!

pieced quilt

Rainbow Bricks by Melissa Rolfe–this was her second quilt ever!

pieced circle quilt

Full Circle by Rebecca Rohrkaste

pieced quilt

Patch of Swiss Chard by Ann Feitelson

quilt detail

Detail of Patch of Swiss Chard

pieced quilt

This quilt by Ruth Eissfeldt was all shiny metallic fabrics

applique quilt

These fish by Velda Newman were SO realistic!

pieced quilt

Tied Together by Timna Tarr–a modernized bowtie quilt

pieced quilt

Circles of Hope by Sylvia Einstein

pieced quilt

Kaleidoscopic XX by Paula Nadelstern

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

detail of quilt

Look at her beautiful quilting!  I love this quilt!

Excitement x 3!!!

Woo! It’s been an exciting week!
My entry in the Quilt Alliance “Inspired By” Challenge won 3rd place! Here’s a picture of it, and below that is a link that will take you to a short video showing all the winners! I am SO excited!

modern art quilt

Whirlwind, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

And HERE is a link that will show you all the winners in a very short youtube video.

The quilt will now tour with the other entries and will be auctioned on Ebay next fall to benefit the Quilt Alliance.

And here’s a picture of the second excitement: [photo] I finally finished my quilt for the Michael Miller challenge.  It’s a packet of flower seeds with the new scanning code I now see on items at the nursery, composed of multiple colored triangles.  I don’t think you can scan mine; I designed it based on the code but didn’t copy exactly.

Michael Miller challenge quilt

Packet of Posy Seeds

Finally, I had a “very significant birthday” and my husband gave me a new Bernina

Bernina 550QE

Bernina 550 QE

for the occasion! I’ll be reviewing it after I’ve used it for a while. For now I’m just enjoying trying out all the features!
So, as they used to say on the radio, listen in next week…I’ll have pictures from the Vermont Quilt Festival, which was really good.

Quilt Design 4: Choosing your color scheme

Of all the things people think they need help with, color is mentioned most often. Indeed, color can be complicated if you want to make it that way, but my preference is to make it simple. So here goes…

quilt design

Example 1: Purple Quilt

A good starting place is your favorite color. You don’t have to think too much about what that is. So start with your favorite color and then add colors that you like to see with it. Never mind that stuff about analogous color schemes being restful and complementary color schemes being lively. Yes, they are true, but if you do it that way you’re likely over-thinking it. If YOU like the color scheme, then go for it!  I love purple, so that’s what I chose for this first example.  I like gold with it, and the thought process was “I like gold with it so I’ll use it” rather than, “Gold is complementary to purple so I’ll use it.”  However, if knowing it’s complementary helps you, by all means use that framework.  I chose a grey background fabric because grey is “good this year”, as my Mother would have put it.

But let’s assume you want a color scheme kind of worked out in advance.  A common piece of advice is to pick a print as your feature fabric and then choose your coordinates from the colors in the feature print. That works fine, but it assumes you want a multi-color print as the focal point of your quilt.

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at Design-Seeds.com

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at Design-Seeds.com

There are lots of other ways that work at least as well. Color schemes are everywhere you look, and they’ve already been worked out by many design experts, from Mother Nature to New York City advertising specialists. Flip through a favorite magazine and choose an ad with colors that appeal to you. Take a snapshot of something pretty and use the colors you see there. Go to design-seeds.com to view thousands of color combinations.  You can subscribe to a free daily e-mail featuring some of them. Start a Pinterest board where you save color combinations that appeal to you. Above all, have confidence in your own judgment: If YOU like it, that’s good enough!

modern quilt

Color scheme is from a visit to southern New Mexico

Now, go practice by finding some color schemes you like and designing quilts with them. As always, designing on paper counts!  And if this wasn’t enough information about color to suit you, don’t worry–I’ll be saying lots more later!

The year so far…

Oops!  It’s the end of June already, so half way through 2014!  Therefore, here are pictures of a few of the things I’ve done so far:

scrap quilt

Quilt Alliance Challenge 2014

Dotty-Stripes-Detail

Detail of a quilt I submitted to an IQF contest

Next is the June “finish”.  I’ve been sending a finish every month to Aunt Marti at 52quilts because I need the motivation of her challenge to get some of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) cleaned up!  As you can see, this is pieced but not quilted; Aunt Marti let’s YOU decide what qualifies as “finished”!  And after 2 years staring at these HSTs (half square triangles), I think putting them together into a top for a donation quilt qualifies as “finished”!  So if you need motivation to finish some of your UFOs, click the link above and head over to her blog :-)

pieced quilt top

Donation quilt top is the finish for June!

improvisationally pieced quilt

In Fairyland, entered in the Vermont Quilt Festival

improv pieced quilt

Improv 9 Patch for Ronald McDonald House

As always, 20% of the projects took 80% of the time!  So it’s good to have the little pouches and swap blocks to be done relatively quickly!  What have you been up to?

Three Reasons to Love Pinterest

modern quilt

Delightful quilt from CutToPieces.blogspot.com

I started using Pinterest a while back at the urging of my daughter, and have found it invaluable.  It replaces at least 3 scrapbooks/notebooks that have been floating around my house for years.

First, of course, Pinterest is great for quilting ideas!  When I find something I love, I don’t have to bookmark it or add it to favorites to be able to find it again.  I just pin it to one of my Pinterest boards–maybe Quilt Ideas, or Good Quilt Photos, or Design.  Then when I wonder, “Now where did I see that great quilt?” I can flip through my Pinterest boards and find the picture, which in turn has the link to where it was found.  This saves a LOT of fooling around looking for things on the internet and replaces the lists I had to keep previously.  It’s even partially replaced the notebooks full of clippings I’ve kept for years.

pieced modern quilt

T-Perspective by Linda Rotz Miller

Second, Pinterest is great for finding other quilters, their blogs, etc.  For example, I found the Cut To Pieces blog shown above because I admired one of the quilts from the blog I found on Pinterest.  But there’s more!  When you find someone whose taste is similar to yours (based on the pins you find from him/her), you can “follow” that person or just some of that person’s boards on Pinterest and get lots of great new pictures that he/she found.  For example, I found the picture here on the Pinterest page of Tricia Royal, a quilt artist from Chicago, so now I follow several of her boards.  You can also follow your friends’ boards to see what they’re pinning.  In fact, if you see something they’re pinning it may give you an idea of what they’d like to have for the next birthday!

modern quilt

Terrific design from Melody Johnson Quilts

Finally, you can simply search Pinterest when you need inspiration.  By putting “modern quilts”, “colors”, “art quilts”, or whatever into Pinterest’s search box, I’ve found many, many fun ideas.  It’s a great amusement in waiting rooms, while enjoying a second cup of coffee, or when in need of new ideas.  As a commercial for a product I’ve long forgotten used to say:  “Try it–you’ll like it!”