Friday, April 23, 2010

Inch by Inch, Row by Row Part 2

Okay, so the first quarter of my quilt top is up on my design wall. I've sewn the pieces within each four-patch together, but haven't yet stitched the blocks into rows. I leave this until the entire quilt top is laid out on the wall and I'm happy with the total arrangement. So now I start assembling the bottom right corner of the quilt top.
This part goes a bit quicker since I'm just doing the reverse of the first quarter.
As I go, I graph the individual four-patch blocks and keep track of how many of each type I need to make. I check and double-check my figures to make sure when I write up the pattern, that it will be accurate.
The second quarter is now on my design wall and the bottom half of the quilt top is visible. Notice that when the medium-colored squares and diamonds intersect with each other a darker triangle is formed? How cool is that?
After I choose the fabrics out of my bins, I keep them next to me on the table. I know which fabrics work in this design which saves me some decision-making time and sometimes I find fabrics in my bins which I've forgotten were there. Of course, now the fabric pile on my table is a bit overwhelming!

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

My last post ended with the lower left corner of my "dreamed" quilt beginning to take shape on my design wall. I'm trying to create definite contrast between light, dark, and medium colored fabrics in order to form a graphic design within the quilt. I have no trouble picking out light and dark fabrics but sometimes choosing the medium colored fabrics can be tricky. Here's a sampling of the ones I'm using in this quilt--golds, light browns, pumpkins, and homespuns with a dark and light mixture.
In order to create contrast within the four patch blocks, especially if I'm using just medium-colored fabrics in the block, I match homespuns with prints, plaids with florals, and so on.
When I'm happy with the way the design looks on the wall, I carefully transfer the squares to my sewing table. After all the time spent arranging them on the wall, I don't want to mix them up when sewing them together. By the way, I've discovered a new best friend in my digital camera. If a strong wind (or a husband) comes along and causes a few squares to fall off the design wall, I can refer back to previous pictures to remind me of how they'd been arranged.
This is when I save time with chain piecing--sewing the squares together in the order in which I'd laid them on my sewing table.
When I've sewed the squares into pairs, it's time to sew the pairs together into four-patch blocks. It's a slow process, but I love watching the "dream" come together in front of my eyes!
The four-patch blocks are completed and go back up on my design wall. Can you see the pattern of darks and lights beginning to take shape?
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Dream and a Doodle - A Quilt is Born

Sometimes I'm asked where my ideas for quilts come from. So for the next few posts, I'm inviting you to join me on a journey--from conception to reality--following the process of imagining a design and then bringing the design to life.

One of the strangest ways I find inspiration is when I'm starting to wake up from a deep sleep. I don't know what happens to my brain during the night, but sometimes I wake up with a picture of a quilt design in my head which I have to try and put down on paper before it disappears. This was the case a few days ago and this is what I drew.

It doesn't look like much, but after playing with the design on graph paper, this is what I came up with.
I still have no idea what the finished project will be like, which is one of the things I enjoy most about quilting. The surprise aspect is what keeps it fun and interesting for me--never boring!

I like lots of contrast in my quilts and am fascinated with the interplay of tone and colour in the fabrics I choose. So I start picking out darks, lights, and in-betweens. I rarely cut out all the pieces ahead of time when making a quilt but prefer to "audition" my fabrics and choose as I go. And I love the scrappy look so I pick fabrics from my stash and they begin to pile up on my table, where they'll remain until the quilt top is finished.

Here is the bottom left corner of the quilt top. I've cut the squares and half-square triangles but haven't sewn any pieces together yet. They have to rest on my design wall (a white flannel sheet that's tacked to the wall in my studio) while the design continues to percolate in my mind. Not sewing the pieces together until I'm happy with the arrangement gives me the freedom to move them around later. You can start to see the arrangement of lights and darks and the intersecting of rows and columns here.
Stay tuned!

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's here!

My "baby" has arrived! An advance copy of my book arrived on my doorstep today and it looks beautiful. The flowers in the picture arrived on Saturday--an unexpected but wonderful surprise from my publisher. I'm feeling overwhelmed and very, very blessed.

If you haven't had a chance yet to check out the projects in the book, you can do so by clicking on this link, and then on the arrows below the picture.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Button, Button Who's Got the Buttons?

Find the buttons and win prizes! For more information click on

Good luck!