Creative Bee Studios

Sweet Ideas for Creative Minds

Designing Quilts by Chance

In this quilt, I used the front AND reverse side of its focal fabric.

How do you design a quilt? Do you use graph paper and draw out the design with exact proportions? Do you use color pencils or do you label the drawn areas with the colors of fabric or values you’ll use? Do you use a quilt design software or a tablet quilt design app?

Yeah…not me.  A quilt often comes to life in my head… very vaguely, kind of like a mystery unfolding.  I ponder the idea until I start to pull fabrics from my stash and start cutting, drawing, and stitching. At least, that’s how Phoebee came to life.

Image of Quilt with Bee.

Phoebee was designed using both sides of a focal fabric.

Phoebee began with a vague idea to use pieced scraps from my stash for the background and use a bee as the main design. That’s about all I knew.  I thought I wanted to use multiple fabrics for the bee as well. I knew the shape I wanted to draw out for my bee, but I wanted to get my background set first for size.

I did use graph paper in my process, but it was after I stitched my pieces together and decided I liked the look. That’s when I wrote down the dimensions and drew the shapes out, labeling which fabrics I used. I used a pencil because my drawings and placement of fabric changed several times in the process.

Once I was happy with the background, I made all my notes and could hardly wait to grab fabrics to design the bee.

NOTE: I don’t clean up ANYthing while I’m in creating mode — I just let it flow and fabric is everywhere!

So here I was, sitting on my floor (because my design wall was {and still is, truth be told} full of a bed-size quilt in progress), trying out fabrics, figuring out how to combine them to make an interesting bee, when one fabric just kept jumping out at me. I finally gave in and decided to use it alone for my bee. That fabric looked really good against the pieced background.

But something was missing. I liked the bee. I liked the background. There needed to be another element – something of surprise or interest and something to “ground” the bee somehow. I moved the extra fabrics aside and accidentally turned the “bee (focal)  fabric” upside down — now THAT was interesting! To use the reverse side of the focal fabric for the flowers the bee was pollinating was exactly what this quilt needed to make sense, be unique, and complete the “story”.

Image of Full Quilt with Bee

Phoebee means bright, pure in Greek.

Phoebee means BRIGHT,  PURE in Greek and she is both! I happened to use a color-dense Hoffman Spectrum Digital floral print for the bee, the flowers and the binding, but any floral, big or small would work which makes this a great stash-busting quilt.

I like the idea that Phoebee is vibrant and the flowers are softer in value as the bee is getting its life from the flowers.

I’m excited to finish writing this pattern and I have hazy plans in my head brewing  of additional designs using pieced backgrounds and one floral focal fabric.

Image of Prairie Point Hanging Method

Prairie Point Quilt Hanging Method

Notice the Prairie Point Hanging Method (click here for details)

Sign up and get an email when my next post goes live!

For more information about free-hand stylized quilting, visit my The Quilting Bee page.

3 Comments

  1. I love your bee and looking forward to seeing more of your creations!

  2. I can’t wait until our club meeting to get started on my BUTTERFLY.

I'd love to hear from you - please comment!