Many months ago I had the honor of presenting my program to a great (and enthusiastic) group of quilters – the Loose Threads Quilt Guild of St. Peters, Missouri. They had a fantastic turnout for the guild meeting and we had a lot of fun!
That night was a debut of Lil’ Susie, which 15 people received free with purchase (plus another 12 the next day in class).
Take a peek at just a few of their “Grace” class projects in progress:
Notice how the focus fabric makes all the difference? Each one has it’s own personality.
In classes, in addition to making a cute little quilt top, the quilters’ play with their fabrics, learning the nuances of value and how it relates to both sides of the focus fabric and what’s surrounding it.
Once their fabrics are chosen, it’s all about building their bouquets!
Now, take a look at this creative gal – who just happens to be the gal who inspired me many, many years ago to join my local quilt guild. Vickie brought an old window pane to build her “Grace” bouquet!
Isn’t she fabulous?
A happy shout-out to the Loose Threads Quilt Guild – Hope to see you lovely quilters again soon!
This quilt began with a fat quarter bundle from one fabric line. Using the “Hex and More” ruler and 2 1/2″ strips, I made lots of half-hexies and proceded to lay them out to consider my options.
My goal was to create a blended quilt version (see Blended Quilts book) of the classic Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I tried many combinations but the look really came together when I started to use the reverse side of the fabrics for the outer flower rings.
Each black center and first ring are the front of the fabric. I could have excluded the lightest (white) fabric to make the changes in value more apparent, but again, I was trying for a more subtle approach.
Jacq O’Lantern has a happy little ghoul popping right out her top like a jack-in-the-box! The first mini #usebothsides quilt pattern, Jacq O’Lantern is too much fun to make!
She’s a pint-size lesson about value but when you make her, you’ve learned the easy tricks for using value to make any of the patterns using both sides of one focus fabric!
I was never real big on halloween decorations. I preferred to use that money to buy more Christmas lights and decorations. We didn’t avoid Halloween with our kids, but we also didn’t make a big fuss about it. So…why is it I LOVE Halloween fabric so much?
As a kid I only had a couple of drawings I liked to do – over and over. One was a beach scene with a palm tree (are you surprised?). The other was a witch on a broomstick.–she always had a long chin that jutted out and a big ole wart on her nose. Maybe these Halloween fabrics take me back to my childhood or something. Several of my favorite quilts and projects are Halloween themed. I’m sure you seen them before but, well, ’tis the season!
Black Kitty Punch Needle
Instant Bargello Quilt
If you like Halloween fabrics like I do, chances are you have everything you need in your stash to make this little gal. So grab your stash – and turn it over! #usebothsides
Our youngest daughter’s name is Jacquelyn. We’ve always had nicknames for her such as
Da Jacqinator (at the age of two she could “destroy” a room in minutes)
Jacqqity Jacq (don’t talk back)
and, among others,
Jacq O’Lantern Quilt Pattern makes a mini (a mere 12″ square) to hang perfectly on wire hanger.
This little guy just made the trip, along with his buddy, Tanka, to two of my favorite places in South Dakota!
My daughter’s work at Black Hills Playhouse finished up for the summer so my husband flew out to drive back with her. So, being the great guy that he is, he offered to take my two newest quilts and a stack of patterns with him.
First he went to visit our new friends Kathy and Ernie in Custer SD, at Dakota Dream Bed & Breakfast & Horse Hotel. We highly recommend a visit to the Black Hills in Custer State Park and a stay with Kathy and Ernie. Learn more HERE.
Then when Matt and Jacq were homebound, they stopped in The Quilt Shop, Inc. in Chamberlain, SD. They delivered “Dakota” patterns to owner, Sonya Kroupa (and pick up a piece of fabric for moi)! Sonya has a delightful quilt shop AND more! In addition to rooms and rooms of interesting and different fabric, kits, and patterns, she has local artwork, jewelry, beads – really more than I had time to take in during my two short visits there. Visit The Quilt Shop website HERE.
Also, see this post which shows more fun things to see in Custer and the Dignity statue in Chamberlain HERE.
This is another petite design, finishing at 18 x 24 inches. It’s a great “afternoon quilt” – quick and easy. Even after making more than twenty #usebothsides quilts, I can’t decide which is more fun, choosing the focus fabric or the background fabrics. Both are vital to the charm of the quilts!
The southwest focus fabric was an awesome piece to use. I loved the rich mix of background fabrics, including several feather fabrics.
Imagine all the different “turtle “fabrics you could use! It could be playful with children’s motifs, realistic with mottled dotty fabric, wild with large florals or geometrics – really anything will work as long as the reverse passed the audition!
South Dakota, wildlife everywhere, incredible terrain, bison strolling along the roadside, animal skulls…this isn’t some cutesy butterfly pattern I’m introducing…in fact, it took this Southeast Missouri girl some time to wrap her head around it…
…but with the right fabrics – WOW! I’m diggin’ this bison skull quilt pattern. I hope you are, too!
As many of you know from “South Dakota Quilts & More” (click here), our recent trip to the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park included some fun sights, statues, monuments and, of course, quilt shops.
Tanka is the first pattern in what I call my “Out West” series.
Tanka, in Lakota, means “big, great”.
I chose feathers on a light background for the focus fabric. The skull is made from the reverse side of it and the hanging feather decoration is cut from the front. The background fabrics for this quilt were really fun to play with! Don’t you just love that black and white fence row fabric at the bottom? I found it and “several” other fabulous fabrics at The Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD.
A fun element of making these quilts is mixing up the background fabrics. This one has batik, southwest, gold circles on gray (but reversed), grunge and a fur look to really give interest to the quilt.
It’s so much fun to #usebothsides of fabrics and it’s a great way to learn about the nuances of value. You won’t look at fabric the same way again! AND when you use both sides, you DOUBLE your stash! Give it a try!
If you like the wildlife theme, hang on! There’s some really fun ones in the thinker and on the design wall!
Sandy, the sea turtle pattern is for those who love summer at the beach… the sand, the salty air, the sound of sea gulls and crashing waves and, of course, sea turtles!
In the warm summer sand, a momma sea turtle digs her nest. This becomes home for up to a hundred eggs for the next sixty days. Like the temperature of the sand determines the gender of the sea turtles, your focus fabric will decide yours!
Did you know? Cooler sand temperatures produce more male and warmer sand produces more female sea turtles.
The sea turtle eggs hatch almost simultaneously, making the sandy nest look like boiling water. Instinctively, the babies find their way to the water with the help of the slope of the beach and the moon and star reflections on the water.
The large number of turtles hatching and moving to the sea all together helps protect them from predators. That’s why its a good idea to remove chairs and umbrellas and fill all holes at night during hatching season so they have a better chance at making it to sea safely.
How it works: Value. Choose a focus fabric with a great reverse. (You’ll know it when you see it, you really will!) Make sure you can see the difference in value by taking a black and white picture. Tips for auditioning focus and background fabric are included in each #usebothsides pattern.
Full-size paper template included in each pattern.
You might think that once you’ve chosen a good focus fabric, your work at auditioning fabric is done. But really, you’ve just begun to have fun!
Background fabrics for these quilts are really what make the quilts sing! If you’ve been in one of my classes you know there is a certain “feel” you are trying to achieve in the relationship between your focus and background fabrics.
It DOES truly begin with your focus fabric choice – you have to pick that first and foremost. (I’ll discuss focus fabric auditioning in an upcoming post. Tips for choosing focus fabric are included in each pattern.) Once your focus fabric has been chosen, you want to achieve a balance between your focus fabric and your backgrounds. I encourage using a mix of fabric styles and to use this quilt as an opportunity try something new. I figure, it IS a fun quilt– so use fun fabrics which may not be appropriate in your more serious quilt work. I’m going to use two quilts as examples. They just happen to me my first and my latest (not last) patterns:
Notice that the bee is made from very bold fabric. She really makes a statement. She’s not one bit shy. The background fabrics can be bolder for her because her focus fabric and her character allow it. When I take a black and white picture of Phoebee, some of the backgrounds are darker in value than I would use with my other patterns, depending not just on the focus fabric, but also the subject matter and what I want you to feel when you look at the quilt.
Now looking at Bubbles, I hope you see a sweet, endearing “fellow”…youthful, happy, maybe adventuresome… maybe up to something. Bubbles can be a boy or a girl and you can change his or her attitude just by choosing a different focus fabric! What I am hoping you have noticed by now is that the background fabrics also have a different feel. In fact, most of the accent strips I used are reversed to keep them from overpowering this sweet whale friend.
Once I’ve chosen my focus fabric, I lay the fabric out, loosely shaped for the pattern I’m making– but with a twist – literally, I twist the fabric so half of the fabric shows the reverse side. Then I take my backgrounds and audition them with BOTH sides of my focus fabric, taking lots of black and white pictures until I’m happy with the values I see. When I look at those pictures, I want to see my character (bee, butterfly, bouquet, cauldron, seahorse) first, my reversed fabrics next (flowers, vase, bubbles, etc.), and my backgrounds last. The accent strips are just that – small bits of fun that flirt with being “too much”, but because they are small enough, they can stay and add interest to the quilt.
My husband and “silent” business partner just happened to name the two above quilts.
Now compare the FEELS of these two quilts with relation to their backgrounds:
Now, you don’t want to get too serious about your fabric auditioning, because these patterns truly are fun, fast, and easy quilts to make. There are no matching seams. They are a good way to use up scraps. They make great gifts. I just wanted to give you a little bonus peek into the value of the #usebothsides backgrounds.
For more auditioning fun, take a #usebothsides class. Next up is “Christmas in July” at The Golden Needle in Cape Girardeau, MO. July 7, 10 – 3 p.m. Choose from Pepita, Rose, Emily or Kate. Sign up and prep info in shop.
Bubbles may be my latest#usebothsides pattern, but it is the fourteenth pattern using a scrappy 36-inch square background. See all my patterns by clicking on the Patterns Page above or click here.
Last week I had the pleasure of taking 40 quilts and a power point guild presentation to Memphis, TN (Cordova, to be exact) to the home of the PUPS (Pickin’ Up the Pieces) Quilt Guild.
I find it fascinating to see the differences between different quilting groups. Size alone can change the dynamics of a group. Meeting location is another factor. Personalities of the members can change how a guild operates. What seems to be constant, though, among all guilds is that the love of quilting, creating, and discovering new opportunities outweighs any of the challenges brought to a group of women (with a sprinkling of men).
A few take-aways I recall from visiting PUPS include:
Show and Tell:
I didn’t get all the details, but there was this Master List of projects that the members must have filled out earlier in the year and when a show and tell item from that list was completed, that quilter got credit and, I think, entered into a drawing for retreat funds! How cool is THAT? Look at all this SHOW AND TELL from only 22 members present!!! I really liked being able to go around and look at each quilt closely during the break! I did later find out that this particular meeting was their LAST CHANCE to complete those projects and that may have contributed to their prolific quilting!
Being in charge of Block-of-the-Month for my guild (blatant promotion to follow), I was surprised when their quilters showed up with their blocks dutifully completed for that month and laid them in a pile on a table. The PUPS gals take those blocks and make them up into quilts for their community. It’s a really nice way to help the community while quilters learn new techniques.
I thought this sounded like loads of fun! Pick a weekend (pretty far in advance for planning purposes). Choose your projects, your favorite jammies, and snacks and have your own retreats at home – but shared with pictures and videos on the guild Facebook page! Sounds like a winter thing to me…although my studio feels like winter year round, so I am game whenever!
I’m always a bit nervous before giving a presentation, not because I’m not prepared…but because I might go off script (“I am not a THIEF?”) ugh! Thankfully, I didn’t know before I got to town that I had SUCH BIG SHOES to fill: Marie Bostwick (My Favorite Author) had spoken the month before. Had I known that, I would’ve driven there a month earlier! Thankfully it didn’t sink in until the next day that I was following that awesomeness. (I’m pretty sure we’d be besties, if she actually knew me;)) She’s a class-act and I was honored to follow her.
A big shout-out and thank-you to the PUPS Quilt Guild for their hospitality!
Blatant Advertising for BOM and some summertime quilt patterns:
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Pointe shoes are just…beautiful. This #usebothsides quilt pattern is for the ballerina in your life.
Angelina Ballerina is a cute little mouse who loves to go to ballet lessons. Part of the American Girl collection, we had (er, still have) the dolls, her stage with a player piano, and many accessories. And…Angelina wore pointe shoes.
Both of our daughters loved ballet…but I’m not sure either of them would have stayed with it if they’d ever thought pointe shoes were off the table.
Pointe was the point!
I was excited to find focus fabric which works for a new #usebothsides quilt pattern with pointe shoes as the focus! I did my research and then checked with my youngest who is still taking pointe (as a senior in college) to make certain the shoes in my pattern were properly on pointe!
Angelina Quilt Pattern uses both sides of one focus fabric for the shoes and ribbons, tights and soles (reversed), and the binding on a fun, scrappy background.
Pointe isn’t all glamour and glory, though. Mom’s of pointe students are well aware of the time spent stitching in ribbons and elastic. Girls generally never outgrow point shoes because they break down too quickly and must be replaced often. They take special fittings and there are hundreds of options from which to choose.
For the young dancer, pointe shoes seem to be a right of passage. It takes determination, maturity, time, and skill…and the acceptance of bloody toes, ugly feet, and a large collection of expensive and eventually smell shoes!