10 Quilty Secrets

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 quiltswombat 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:August-finish

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 😦

5. In my world, a good quilt is a fast quilt.  I’m not patient enough for the zillions of little hand-pieced hexies, for example.cartoon hexie

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?

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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!” 😀

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