red berries from the bog

Color Inspiration Thursday {24}

This week’s color inspiration comes again from the bog. There were so many pops of color in that oasis ecosystem that I just had to share more than one week’s worth. Palettes are made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs. Enjoy!

red leaf pop color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Avocado, Steel, Sable, Old Green, Plum, Pepper

I love how this little pinkish (Kona Plum) leaf just pops right up with burst of color amongst the evergreens. Getting the leaf in perfect focus was a bit tricky with the wind and fading light, but I think it still works. If nothing else, it makes me smile.

red berries color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Steel, Bison, Brown, Ruby, Wine, Lipstick

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1246 – Grey
4173 – Dk Olive
5024 – Dark Brown
2230 – Med Peony
2355 – Rust
2265 – Lobster Red

I love this photo. I don’t know if it’s the mirrored red berries all blurred in the background, or the bits of blurred green swirled into the mix, or whether I am just really drawn to the pop of the red berries. Either way, I love the photo and the resulting palette. It makes me *maybe* think I could be ready for snow in a couple months, as long as there are pretty red berries to brighten it up a bit. Maybe.

stash building for a new project

A Garden {Quilt} Full of Florals

For as much as I photograph and swoon over flowers, florals are foreign to my fabric stash. Last week, I built my stash with this fabric it rarely sees: florals. I bought in 1/4 yard cuts since it was the smallest possible cut at the local fabric store I visited, and I don’t typically use florals in my projects. I must say, though, I am happy with the floral fabrics I did find, and they are perfect for the project gift I have in mind.

stash building for a new projectThis project is a surprise gift with a short deadline. I KNOW the recipient will love it, and I’m exciting to share details with you. But for now, I’ll just show off these fabrics.

Grace fabric rjr fabrics flowers

Grace fabrics rjr fabrics flowers

I don’t know the full information for all of the fabrics, since I didn’t have a chance to write them all down, and I bought small enough cuts that the selvedges don’t all have the manufacturer/designer information present. Many of the fabrics are from the Grace fabric line by Mary McGuire for RJR Fabrics, which I love. I had to buy some of the Snug as a Bug (spiderwebs) fabric  by Melly & Me for Riley Blake Designs, since how could I resist sneaking a spider web into the garden?! I also bought a couple of fabrics by Andover and Studio E, with two coordinating Cotton Couture (I think?) solids, one for sky and one for border.

big fabric flower fussy cut

fussy cutting plan
Planning my 2″ square assiduous cutting (okay… fussy cutting!), with the help of the 2.5″ square template I made.

As you may have guessed with the little hidden templates, I plan to fussy cut most of these to make a garden quilt wall hanging. Some of it will consist of 2″ squares on point (2.5″ unfinished), and some will consist of 1″ squares on point (1.5″ unfinished).

small flowers fussy cutting planning

Some small 1" flowers to be assiduously cut.
Some small 1″ flowers to be assiduously cut.

More than that, I cannot yet tell you. I have my work cut out for me, though (pun intended!). Stay tuned to see this secret garden bloom!

crimson pitcher plant

Color Inspiration Thursday {23}

Last week, my kids and I joined some friends for a walk at the Orono Bog Walk. From the Bangor City Forest Report website, “the 4,200-foot long Orono Bog Boardwalk enables visitors to City Forest to see a bog up close and personal without getting their feet wet… The bog itself encompasses 616 acres on the Bangor and Orono town lines and is home to hundreds of species of hardy yet fragile plants and some of Maine’s rarest bird species.” It is a truly magical place; you walk along the boardwalk through the woods for a few hundred feet and you’re suddenly in a completely different world, where the ground is covered in squishy moss floating on water and trees can’t grow taller than my two-year-old.

kids at the bog
My kids and their friend at the Bog Walk.

This week’s color inspiration comes from the bog. Palettes are made using my photographs and Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.  I have included matching Aurifil thread for one of the palettes, but if you want the matches for all of them, let me know and I will start including them, too.

yellow gold color palette

 Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Moss, Ivy, Taupe, Coal, Honey, Mushroom

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2905 Army Green
4173 Dk Olive
2372 Dk Antique Gold
1158 Med Grey
2910 Med Olive
2900 Lt Kakhy Green

This tamarack was glowing in the late afternoon sun. I honestly thought the palette would be more gold-orange heavy, but the dark background colors make a bold appearance. The golden needles in their perfect little swirls entranced me, and perhaps might inspire a quilt design for the future.

tamarack at the bog
Tamarack from afar. The golden yellow swirls of needles called me in!

See how the tamarack, stunted in its bog home, glows in the late afternoon sun?! I also think it’s amazing how a “normal” tree can look so different when you get right up close and personal. Perspective is everything.

evergreen color palette

 Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Moss, Ivy, Steel, Iron, Peridot, Raffia

 A sweet evergreen, bringing us cool and earthy greens and blues.

crimson pitcher plant color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Wine, Deep Rose, Mahogany, Spice, Bison, Leaf

This pitcher plant blended right in with the bright red peat moss! Pitcher plants are among my favorite plants, and they are ubiquitous in the bog. Their autumnal red and fuzzy trap-mouth make them so gorgeous this time of year! Did you know that pitcher plants are carnivorous? That’s right–they eat meat! Ready for your daily science lesson? Here’s a bit about how pitcher plants work, from Encyclopedia Britannica (it’s still a useful resource!):

Pitcher plants… have unusual tubular leaves that are shaped like urns, trumpets, or small pitchers, with a flap that partly covers the top of the pitcher. Insects are attracted to the mouth of the pitcher by a trail of nectar-secreting glands that extend downward along the lip to the interior of the pitcher. The lip is covered with stiff, downward-pointing hairs that are not easy for an insect to climb upward on once it has partly descended to gather nectar. Just below the lip, in the steepest part of the pitcher’s throat, is a very smooth area without hairs. Like a greased slide, this zone sends the insect tumbling down into the liquid pool at the bottom of the pitcher, where it quickly becomes submersed and drowns. The insect is then digested by an enzyme secreted within the leaf. (from Encyclopedia Britannica online article “pitcher plant”)

How awesome is that!? A hunting plant. Who knew that a carnivorous plant could inspire a quilt? Any other science geek quilters out there? What is the strangest thing that has inspired one of your quilts or craft projects?

IMG_6483

Works in Progress: Star Crazy & Baby Plus, Take 2

Most of my sewing projects fall into two main categories: gifts for friends and family, or a new pattern that needs to get out of my head and into reality. This past week, I’ve been working on projects that don’t fall into either of those categories!

Star Crazy Quilt

Many months ago, I did something crazy. I started a quilt just for me! I made some progress on the quilt, and then it got tucked away in a corner for a good long time. This past week, I pulled it out again and made some more progress. My Star Crazy quilt is slowly coming together, and I love it!

star crazy quilt progress

A few months ago, I made the decision to leave grey fabrics out of the “light” sides of these blocks, but noticed that some of my “lights” still read pretty dark. One of the quilters I follow on IG posted about checking fabric values by turning a photo black and white (if it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!). Trying this method, you can see that some of my “lights” are indeed quite dark.

star crazy value txt
Note how the light star on the right is noticeably darker than the star on the left.

I’m going to aim to group the darker ones together so that each star is all one value. In making more blocks for this quilt, I’ve also decided that I’m going to be okay if two of the same turquoise prints are next to each other. These are little design details that have been holding me back from forging ahead with this quilt, so I feel a bit relieved that I’ve made the executive decision to let go of avoiding turquoise samesies and aim to match the “dark” lights. Onward with the star crazy!

Baby Plus Quilt, Take 2

I couldn’t help it; I started another Baby Plus Quilt. I had so much fun putting together my Pink & Grey Baby Plus Quilt that I immediately pulled fabric for a second one the day I sent the pink & grey top off for quilting.

fabric pull for baby plus quilt
from @nightquilter on Instagram

The butterfly & flower print was the inspiration piece for this version, and I opted for mostly solids or blenders as my accompanying fabrics. Amazingly, this entire pull was from my stash! After spending a couple hours cutting and playing with layout, I’ve finally begun to sew the rows together. Four (4) down, seven (7) to go.

baby plus quilt 2

Design Wall

One last important work in progress from this past week is the final acquisition of a design wall that actually works! You may remember my old design wall (read: epic fail), which I built out of carefully framed 2″x2″ wooden boards, complete with a cross-support beam, and wrapped with white felt. The amount of work that went into building that design wall was inversely proportional to how well it held quilt blocks. In other words, blocks wouldn’t stay on that design wall for more than 2 seconds. I learned from that experience, and this time I bought a $2.99 vinyl tablecloth with a flannel back. The lightest color our local Reny’s had was bright pink, but I realllly wanted to get something to use as a design wall so I bought it. It works SO AMAZINGLY WELL! I apologize for the internet “shouting”, but I am absolutely floored at how well quilt blocks–both solid fabric and already-pieced–stick to that table cloth! It is amazing. Ugly as sin, but amazing!

design wall loaded
My cheapo design wall, weighed down with WiPs. It works SO well!

I’m linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday

giveaway header

Giveaways and Sales

Two words everyone loves to hear, right? I recently released three new foundation paper piecing patterns and had some great pattern testers help me along the way. I offered my blogging testers the opportunity to host a giveaway on their blogs, so now you have a chance to win a free copy of one of my new patterns. Check out these two great giveaways:

foundation paper piecing pattern giveaway leaf

Visit Shayna’s blog Wife, Mom, Creator for a chance to win a copy of my leaf paper piecing pattern.

Pattern tested by Sarah Pitchard

Sarah of Pitcher Family Adventures offered to test both my Leaf pattern AND my original Fishies pattern, so on her blog you have a chance to win your choice of either pattern.

Be sure to take a minute to stop by both blogs to enter to win! While these giveaways are going on, I’m extending the sale in my Craftsy store. Both Fish patterns and the Leaf pattern will be on sale for $3.50 for one more week.

Each of these patterns will be on sale for one more week!
Each of these patterns will be on sale for one more week!

I try to outweigh “check out my pattern store” posts with more project-focused, photo-heavy, quilting inspiration and progress posts, but sometimes there just needs to be a little self promotion (right?). In this case, it’s win win–you have a good chance of winning a free paper piecing pattern, and I’m helping spread the word for my awesome pattern testers.

folksy fall fabric mosaic #1

Folksy Fall: A Fabric Mosaic Contest

Folksy Fall by Rachel
Folksy Fall by Rachel

Rachel at Stitched in Color invites you to join a Fabric Mosaic contest sponsored by Intrepid Thread. I first heard about this contest on Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl‘s blog, and was immediately hooked. I love playing with color and when that color is in the form of gorgeous fabric, with the chance to earn a complete fat quarter set of your mosaic fabrics, plus have the Intrepid Thread create a bundle like yours available for others to buy, I just couldn’t resist. The contest instructions say:

Carefully craft your mosaic of 12 fabrics from among the offerings at The Intrepid Thread.  Choose fabrics to express your interpretation of Folksy Fall.  Your collection of fabrics can be pretty, funky, dramatic or totally playful.  Just make sure to include a variety of colors complimented by some rich fall neutrals – browns, grays or navy blue.

Visit Rachel’s post Folksy Fall {a mosaic contest} for more details on how to enter. Yvonne warned that creating these mosaics is a total time suck–and she’s right! I wish the mosaic maker tool would allow you to drag and move fabrics around while looking at the mosaic, instead of having to go back and cut and paste urls. But it was worth the fun! One tip if you plan to make a mosaic to submit is to keep each individual fabric page open in a different tab. This way, you have links to your fabrics ready when your mosaic is done (thanks to Jennifer for the tip!). I did not do this, which means that once my mosaics were completed to my liking, I had to search through the Intrepid Thread website again to try to track down the names of the fabrics I had chosen. Double the fun, right?! Without further ado, here are my fabric mosaics:

Folksy Fall #1
folksy fall fabric mosaic #1
Fabrics from left to right, top to bottom: 1. Handcrafted – Petal in Eggplant, 2. Indelible – Doiland Gloss in Plum, 3. Blueprint Basics – Fuschia, 4. Cherie – Les Points in Rose, 5. Brambleberry Ridge – Flight in Orchid, 6. Hatbox Lawn – Hatbox in Navy, 7. Color Me Happy – Sprouts in Teal and Navy, 8. Emma’s Garden – Afflutter in Aqua, 9. Chromatics – Pointelle in Navy, 10. Wildwood- Midnight Flora in Navy, 11. Meadow – Savanna Glow in Golden, 12. Field Day – X & + in Night 2

I really wanted to incorporate navy blue into these collections, since it’s a color I rarely use but is such a strong, solid color reminiscent of the night sky closing in early during fall. The word “folksy” elicits images of bright colors and playful shapes. Add the splash of goldenrod for fall, and this collection is juuust right. To me, it reminds me of a folksy fall party, bright colors and shapes dancing and crafting long into the autumn night.

Folksy Fall #2
folksy fall fabric bundle #2
Fabrics from left to right, top to bottom: 1. Arcadia – Sun Spot and Bee in Aqua, 2. Hatbox Canvas – All The States in Navy, 3. Rustique – Yes Dear in Navy, 4. Kona Solid – Limelight, 5. Arcadia – Mushroom March in Aqua, 6. Brambleberry Ridge – Timber Valley in Teal Metallic, 7. Sun Prints – X & + in Chartreuse, 8. Astrid – Lena in Chartreuse, 9. Rustique – Leaf Press in Teal, 10. Handcrafted – Geese in Lichen, 11. Mint to Be – Celebration in Orange, 12. Quill – Gratitude in Persimmon

Again, beginning with a foundation of navy blue, this palette grew and blossomed with colors I rarely use. Lime green and orange make a star showing in this collection, anchored by navy blue and teal. I love the way the lime green plays with the teal and navy blue, and was astounded that there was not a single lime green and orange print (time to design fabric, perhaps?). This fabric collection reminds me again of harvest time, gathering the last green and orange fruits (squash, pumpkins, etc) by the harvest moon. The final autumn harvest definitely warrants a folksy fall celebration!

dahlia flowers

Color Inspiration Thursday {22}

Honestly, I thought I was ready to move on to autumn. But then we had a stretch of warm, sun-filled days without frosts at night, and my dahlias went wild. Can you ever get enough dahlias? I know I can’t. So here, again, is a color inspiration post thick with dahlia’s. I’ve created color palettes using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and some of my photographs, and I’ve included a few additional palette-less dahlia photos for added inspiration. I truly can’t get enough dahlias!

dark dahlia color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Wine, Cocoa, Taupe, Tan, Deep Rose, Black

dark dahlias

These first photos were taken on my dining room table, resulting in a rich and shadowy capture of the dark colors within the dahlias. After some photos on the table, I decided to change it up and move to directly in front of a window, with the dahlias on top of a white piece of paper. It’s amazing how much a move of five feet and a different backdrop changes the photo!

pastel dahlia color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Iron, Smoke, Coal, Green Tea, Artichoke, Herb

The added light brings out the pastels within the dahlias. Gorgeous, soft, gentle.

dahlia color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Bordeaux, Honeysuckle, Corsage, Zucchini, Stone, Moss

Get a little closer, and pop! Here comes some more of that bold and vibrant color. I just love the balance and aesthetic perfection of dahlias. Nature amazes me every. single. day.

While creating these palettes, I made an exciting discovery! The Palette Builder now matches not only Kona cottons, but also Aurifil thread (my favorite!) and Hex values. My computer programming husband informed me that Hex values are for using the colors in a web format.

dahlia palette with matching aurifil thread

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
4030 Plum
2479 Med Orchid
2562 Lilac
5015 Gold Yellow
2900 Lt Kakhy Green
5013 Asphalt

I personally love Aurifil, and I am now even more inspired to choose a palette (maybe even this one!?) and order the exact Robert Kaufman Kona cottons and exact Aurifil threads and make a lovely, gorgeous, completely coordinating quilted creation!

dahlia flowers

What would you make?

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