There were lots of good quilts, so I’m choosing to show bright ones! Later this month, I’ll have an interview with a modern quilter from Chattanooga. Meanwhile, I hope you find these quilts as inspiring as I did.
Truly original ideas in design are really, really rare More often good designs are inspired by other good designs, and most designers start by copying other people. There’s nothing wrong with that–just give credit!
For example, here’s a door I admire in a friend’s house. It got me thinking that it would be nice to make her a table runner with a design similar to the glass in the door, especially since the dining table is right by the door. I may start out by copying the design, but my table runner won’t be an exact copy. I want it to be obviously inspired by the door, but I probably couldn’t make an exact copy even if I wanted to. And I’m not going to sell it as my own “original” design without reference to the door, either.
Here’s the first attempt:That may be obviously inspired by the door, though in fact both are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Craftsman styles of design. If you don’t know much about those styles of design, Google them. There are many similar designs to be found, so I can make LOTS of designs of this style without copying any of them. Here’s the second try:
This one has a little more detail. Another master of this style, popular in the early years of the 20th Century, was Charles Rennie Mackintosh. William Morris textile and wallpaper designs were the same historical period, and you may have seen Moda’s extensive line of William Morris-inspired fabrics.
So go look at some books on the history of design (the history of advertising works too) and make some designs inspired by what you see. It’s a good starting place when you think you don’t have any ideas, and you’ll eventually come up with something your really like. Then it’s time to make a quilt!
Here are the first 5 posts in this series:
Several of the blogs I read have recently revealed “10 Quilty Secrets” and I thought it sounded like fun, so I’m playing along. If you would like to see some other bloggers’ secrets, here are the links: The original post seems to have been at 13Spools.com, and the idea has been picked up by several blogs I follow, including Catbird quilts, wombat quilts, and Christa quilts.
And so, here are my 10 Quilty Secrets:
1. Although I’m participating in Marti’s UFO (unfinished object) finish-a-month this year, I had FAR MORE than 12 UFOs at the beginning of the year. Oops, still do! Here’s the August finish, a quilt for Ronald McDonald House made from orphan blocks:
2. My nearest LQS (Local Quilt Shop) is an hour away, which I take as an excuse to have a good stash at all times ;-)
3. If I start a quilt and don’t like it for some reason, I abandon the plan and turn it into something else–another quilt design, a table runner, whatever.
4. And sometimes those I-don’t-like-this projects just become long term UFOs :-(
6. For that matter, I DON’T EVEN LIKE hexies! Yikes!
7. I value good design in quilts and in other useful objects.
8. I LOVE to learn new techniques and try new things, so I take lots of classes Even if they seem like stuff I could do easily without a class I always learn something.
9. We’ve moved a lot, and one of the best ways I’ve found to make new friends is to join a local quilt group.
10. I think every quilt needs a little purple!
So, what are some of YOUR quilty secrets?
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:
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:
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.
And look at this lovely swap block with the corners all matched up! It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough :-)
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.
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.
My daughter recently point out, “When you find chevrons on your mouthwash bottle, they’re on the way out!” :-D
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.
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!
The Modern Design Challenge had loads of great quilts, but I only took pictures of my very, very favorites:
There was a display of art quilts, including this one by an art quilter whose work I really like:
And I liked this quilt by Miriam C. Coffey, who is in one of my guilds:
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:
And finally, some quilts I just liked for various reasons:
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—
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!
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!
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):
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!
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.
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!
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!
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/).
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!
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.
Finally, I had a “very significant birthday” and my husband gave me a new Bernina
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.