This week’s color inspiration comes from yet another flower adorning our yard: the locust tree’s gorgeous pink blooms. Many locust trees have white flowers, but the previous owners of our house had a serious thing for beautiful flowers, so it does not surprise me that ours flowers pink. These flowers not only look beautiful, but they smell great as well. Here are color palettes from two very different photographs of these beautiful blooms, created with Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 combined with my photographs. I hope they inspire you!
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Cerise, Olive, Plum, Lupine, Petunia, Raffia
The locust blooms begin with this glorious, vibrant pink, but slowly fade to a hazy purple as the petals die and blow off the tree. The tree’s show of beauty is not yet complete, however. The purple petals cover the ground beneath the tree, blowing about in the breeze and making everything prettier.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Steel, Raisin, Coal, Bone, Pansy, Lilac
Here in midcoast Maine, summer is upon us. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and I have been taking full advantage. I have not spent much time in front of my sewing machine, but have spent a LOT of time exploring local islands, playing at the beach, and swimming in Swan Lake with my kids. Today’s color inspiration palettes come from some photographs from our adventures; sea glass on a drift wood log, and a gorgeous iris seen along a wooded path.
It’s peony time in my garden, so today’s inspiration comes entirely from those large, voluptuous flowers. There’s something about flowers that makes me reflect in awe about nature’s complexity. The petals are so soft, often symmetrical, yet abstractly swirling, the centers are a little universe of stamen and pistil, drawing the bees and butterflies into their little world to ensure the spread of future generations. It’s just flat out amazing!
Here are your color inspiration palettes for the week, created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1. I hope they inspire you in the creation of a new quilt or project, or even just to take an extra moment to pause, get close, and really look at the next flower you pass. You may be surprised at what a closer look reveals.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Coal, Steel, Magenta, Garnet, Raisin, Palm
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Candy Pink, Azalea, Pomegranate, Kelly, Brick, Cerise
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Salmon, Smoke, Sienna, Poppy, Gold, Grass Green
Can you think of anything more beautiful than a freshly blooming peony?
The past few months I have been getting to know a great group of new quilting bloggers, making new friends, fine tuning my blog, and learning a ton about quilting and blogging, as part of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop organized by Beth at Plum and June. Today it’s my day to tell you a bit about myself and my journey into quilting.
Tell us a little about yourself.
When I think about what defines me, “mom” is the absolute first word that arises. I’m a full time mom of two little ones, and to say my life is filled with that blessed duty is an understatement. I also have a degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in elementary education. I’ve worked as a lifeguard, an environmental scientist–wetland and land use specialist, an elementary school teacher, and a yoga teacher. I grew up in New Jersey, but now live in rural Maine and love it. I also love to garden to grow my own organic food, enjoy nature, practice yoga, and of course craft! I have always been crafty, and have dabbled in card making, scrap-booking, jewelry making, mosaic, polymer clay, painting, and more, but only recently found the fiber arts. Now my crafts of choice are quilting and knitting.
How did you begin quilting?
There are a few catalysts that propelled me toward quilting, from my lifelong sewist mother, a gift of a simple squares quilt gifted by my talented cousin Hannah, and of course my expert quilter grammy. Shortly after having my son, when I had a gift-quilt only half finished, I discovered that sewing 20 minutes at a time could result in finished projects. This was a revelation for me, and thus began the Night Quilter: I grab a needle and thread when the kids are in bed.
Show us some of your favorite finished quilts.
Click on the name of each quilt to visit its relevant blog post (when there is one). If there is more than one relevant blog post, I will link them all at the end.
Delight in the Little Thingsis a 12×12″ art quilt I made as a donation for a local Art Auction to benefit a couple faced with an expensive illness. It was inspired by a Facebook group called 12x12s with Cosmo and Cook, where a word is given each month and the goal is to create a 12×12″ art quilt inspired by that word. The word for December, my first month involved, was “Delight”. “Delight in the little things” immediately came to mind, and so I figured I’d make my art quilt out of 1″ squares (little!), featuring a tiny paper pieced sunburst star and a dandelion seed applique. I love the outcome, especially the yellow bits in the binding. For this quilt, it was my first time creating an art quilt, my first time making anything out of 1″ squares, I designed my first paper piecing pattern for the star, and it was one of my first times free motion quilting.
Rainbow Hugs & Kisses is the result of a test run of a paper piecing pattern called Oops, I Scrapped My Pants by ShannonMac Designs. I offered to test her pattern for her, but wanted to make something bright and modern. I am all about rainbow gradient, so that was an obvious add. The black and white stripey binding makes this one of my favorites, and it hangs happily on my craft room pegboard. The pattern is free in Shannon’s Craftsy shop, and it includes a tutorial on the freezer paper method of paper piecing, in case you’d like to make your own.
Lillian’s Baby Quilt is one of the quilts of which I’m most proud. It’s one of the largest quilts I’ve made so far at about 58×58″, I designed the outermost border including the heart corner stones, and I kind of went crazy free motion quilting it. It was my first large-scale free motion quilting foray and I dove in head first. I even FMQed alphabetical baby-related words around the outermost white border.
There are many blog posts outlining my process and featuring better photographs of the free motion quilting, here, here, here, and here.
I’ve also been designing paper piecing patterns. I tend to gravitate toward more modern quilts, yet I also love paper piecing. Go figure. Here are some of my latest paper piecing patterns:
Finally, I’ve posted my very first tutorial on Basic Foundation Paper Piecing. I’m working on a series to outline what next–now that you’ve made a paper pieced block, what can you do with it? Stay tuned!
To finish off my post, here are some tips and fun facts:
Blogging tip: Take great photographs. The aesthetic pull of an artistically arranged and naturally lit photo is STRONG. Learn to use the manual setting on your camera (try P) and wait for the right lighting. It makes a world of difference!
Quilting tip: Pressing seams open helps improve accuracy of piecing, and helps make matching seams a breeze. Also, when trying to match seams, pin right after the seam. This creates the least torque and at least in my experience, the most consistently matched seams.
Question for you: Who is your favorite fabric or quilt designer, and why? I have my top favorites, but I’d love to expand and see whose fabric you just can’t live without!
Fun facts: Dream vacation spot: Galapagos Islands Favorite book: tough question! My Side of the Mountain, 1984, or The Housekeeper and the Professor Favorite movie: Overboard, or Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version Favorite TV show: I don’t have a TV, but I’ve been sucked into Downton Abbey on Netflix! Random bits:
After each blog post or email I write, I go back and take out 2/3 of the exclamation points and all of the :). I’m a happy, excited person but even I get annoyed when I read something with a gabillion !!!!!!
I hate olives. I try them every year to see if I like them yet, but I still hate them.
I was a competitive swimmer through high school and college. If you start talking swimming, I’ll talk for hours.
Now that you know more than you ever wished to know about me, go check out these other great bloggers involved in the hop. Have fun!
I’m one of those online window shoppers, with about fifty items in a “shopping cart” at a variety of fabric shops at all times. One of the bundles that has been in my virtual shopping cart forever is the Jewel Tone Sketch Fat Quarter Bundle at Stash Fabrics. Last week, when I saw Stash was having a sale on all Bella Solids, I knew that the time had come. I needed some more gray yardage as a background for my in-progress Canvas place mats, so with the sale on solids paired with free shipping on orders over $50, I decided to build my stash 56 dollars worth. Here’s what I bought:
Let’s take a closer look, since who doesn’t want to get a closer look at fabulous fabric?
From bottom to top, I got 1 yard each of Bella Zen Gray, Silver, and Steel, as well as 1 yard of Pointelle in Noir from the Art Gallery Fabrics Chromatic Collection (swoon). I also added in 1/4 yard each of Bee Sweet in Sunset and Morning colorways, from the Sweet as Honey line by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery. I’ve been eyeing them for ages and just couldn’t pass up the chance to have even a bit in my stash.
Of course, the Jewel Tone Sketch bundle got a photo shoot all its own. How could you resist!? Mid-photo-shoot, I decided that these lovely colors really needed more of a white backdrop. The only problem is, we have blue walls. Here was my solution:
Blue walled background + some momentarily helpful kids who had refused to nap + 1 white poster board = whiter background to help the rainbow colors pop!
Yes? Yes! I love the difference the slightly different angle paired with the white background make.
This week, I also got a fabulous package from Alex Veronelli of AURIfil. A few weeks ago, I semi-jokingly, very-hopefully tweeted:
Much to my excitement, yesterday I received the best package ever!
It didn’t take me long once I started quilting and getting into the modern quilting community to realize that many of my favorite quilters raved about AURIfil thread. I finally found a local shop that carried AURIfil and bought my very first spool: a gorgeous all-purpose gray. I haven’t used anything except AURIfil since. Look at it-you can see the shine even in photos. The colors are fabulous, the thread is smooth and I haven’t had a break yet.
Rather than swoon, here are some more photographs so that you can see for yourself:
I’m very excited about the color cards, since now I will be able to order the perfect color thread for every project, even though my LQS doesn’t carry the full spectrum. You know how I am about color; I am thrilled to have these added to my stash. I can’t wait to play!
The past two days have been gloomy and rainy, but I can’t complain. My garden and all the newly planted seedlings and seeds are surely loving the rain, and before the rain we enjoyed quite a few blissfully perfect days here in midcoast Maine. Warm sun with days in the mid 70s, a cool breeze, minimal bugs, nature’s blooming glory all around: perfect.
As a result of these perfect days, I have some new spring photographs to showcase in this week’s Color Inspiration Thursday. As a treat, and because I couldn’t help myself, I’ll be posting more than two this week. Just a reminder for those of you who are new to Color Inspiration Thursday, I’ve created these palettes using the Play Crafts Palette Builder and my photographs. The corresponding Kona cottons are also supplied by the Palette Builder, so those are listed below each palette.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Plum, Medium Grey, Petal, Cerise, Candy Pink, Pomegranate
Pink, pink, pink. I just love the blooms on this apple tree. They first emerged in perfect spherical pinkness, slowly opening like a rose to unfurl their soft petals into a glorious array. I probably took at least 200 photographs of these blooms over the past week; I just couldn’t help myself! My sister-in-law absolutely loves the color pink, so I think she would quite appreciate a quilt in these colors. The grey is a nice added touch to help smooth out the pinkalicious overload!
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Periwinkle, Deep Blue, Crimson, Deep Rose, Sweet Pea, Avocado
I just had to include another photograph of this tree. The ceramic bright blue bird feeder we have hanging in it contrasts so nicely with the pink blooms and green leaves, creating a lovely balanced palette. I love the inclusion of a dark and light in each color for this combination.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Steel, Palm, Fog, Ivy, Parchment, Medium Grey
Do you see the bee on his way to fill his pollen pouches to overflowing? This cherry tree is a cacophony of sound this time of year, resonating with a deep, constant, humming buzz. I’m hard of hearing, and my hearing is progressively worsening each year, yet I can hear the buzz in this tree loud and clear. It is right in front of our porch, so my kids and I love to sit and watch the hundreds of bees buzzing around us, and listen to their harmonious hum.
To be honest, I was going for a white-on-white palette when taking this photograph, but no matter how white-on-white the tree seems in real life, and no matter how many angles I tried, those blues and greens still emerged. I like the palette, though. It feels soft and gentle to me, and while I’m not typically a pastel person, I think I would like a quilt made with this color scheme.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Baby Blue, Crocus, Hibiscus, Evergreen, Spring, Petunia, Lilac
No collection of spring photographs is complete without lilacs. I used the feature on the palette builder to add more colors for this palette, since I wanted to get a few more purples into the mix without losing that lovely baby blue and the contrasting greens.
What is your favorite spring/early summer flower? Would you plan a quilt around its color scheme?
Foundation Paper Piecing is one of those things that when first encountered, may seem daunting enough to send you running for the hills. But once the general concept is grasped, paper piecing opens the door to a whole new world of quilting and fabric-play. Trust me, it’s worth giving it another go. As with anything, the best way to get more comfortable with foundation paper piecing is to practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. Today I thought I’d share my process with tips along the way, in the hopes that it helps clarify the foundation paper piecing process.
For me, once I wrapped my brain around the fact that I was sewing something backwards while looking through a mirror, it all clicked. I’m a very spatial person, so once I could visualize that the picture was being created on the BACK, I was fine. Yes, the lines along which you sew will be on the back, or wrong-side of your sewn design. Think about that for a minute, and then let’s begin. Take your time, and have FUN!
Basic Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial
First of all, why paper piecing? The ability to create life-like pictures with fabric is what first got me hooked on foundation paper piecing. Once I got the hang of it, I realized many more benefits to paper piecing:
No other method results in such precision and accuracy when sewing. You can make two blocks that are EXACTLY the same without too much muss or fuss about seams.
It is a great way to use up scraps.
My favorite perk of paper piecing is that it gives me a way to create gorgeous gifts for family and friends without the time invested in sewing an entire quilt. Paper piecing patterns are perfect for wall hangings, table runners, tea cozies, mug rugs, pillows, bags, and even as framed art.
Convinced? Let’s get started!
1. Choose a pattern. I am using my Buoy 1 pattern for this tutorial, since it’s fairly straightforward and consists of only one foundation piece. Summertime is calling my name, so this nautical pattern will soon become a pillow perfect for a beach house or someone’s nautical nursery. Buoy 1 is on sale on Craftsy for only $1.50 through June 10th, when the price will go up to $2.50. Download it now, or use another beginner pattern of your choosing.
2. Assemble your tools. You will need:
– pattern & paper (I use regular printer paper. Some prefer velum or tracing paper)
– fabric & thread (I love Aurifil)
– rotary cutter and mat
– scissors (be sure to use non-fabric scissors to cut out your pattern. I suggest having fabric scissors, craft scissors, and small scissors for trimming threads)
– ruler (add a quarter rulers work well, but so do any quilting rulers with a 1/4″ measure)
– iron and pressing surface
– sewing machine
3. Print the pattern with your printer set on “Actual Size” and check the scale. ALWAYS check to make sure the pattern is printed to the correct scale before beginning to sew.
Cut out pattern using craft scissors. Many patterns have a dotted line showing a 1/4″ seam allowance on the pattern. Be sure to check that the seam allowance is included, and if it isn’t, add it on before you cut.
*Here, some people like to color their pattern with colored pencils to help with accurate fabric piecing. I only do this for complicated patterns or when I am using different fabric colors than indicated on the pattern, but you are welcome to get out the colored pencils and do some coloring here if you want!*
4. You’re ready to begin! Cut fabric pieces (or find scraps) to fit spaces 1 and 2 on the pattern. Be sure to include a 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides. Paper piecing is kind of like paint by number, but with sewing, and always in order. You start with piece 1, sew on piece 2, then piece 3, etc. *When cutting fabric for paper piecing, I am generous in my cutting. I cut pieces that are amply large enough to cover the space and seam allowance and then some–lots of wiggle room. Yes, it may waste a bit more fabric, but it makes the process a lot smoother. To me, smooth (no seam ripper required) sewing is worth more than a few tiny scraps of fabric. Also, when you trim your seam allowances, any large pieces of excess fabric can be used for other pieces of the pattern. Go big!*
5. Here’s where the spatial part comes in, so get ready. Remember, you are using the paper foundation to help you make the pattern on the back, as if you are looking through a mirror. Ready?
Place the fabric for piece 1 on the back of the paper, wrong side of the fabric facing you (against the paper). Hold it up to a window or a light-box to ensure the fabric fully covers the #1 space, plus seam allowances.
6. Holding fabric 1 in place, position the paper so that the printed side is away from you. Take the fabric scrap for space #2 and place it right side down, on top of fabric 1. Be sure the seam line between 1 and 2 is covered by both fabrics, holding up to the light if needed. The fabrics should now be right sides facing each other, and when you sew along the seam line and fold fabric 2 up, it should cover the #2 space plus seam allowances.
*Before you sew, shorten the stitch length on your sewing machine. I set mine to anywhere between 1.2 and 1.5. That way the paper is very easy to remove at the end.*
7. Holding both pieces of fabric in place, sew along the line between spaces 1 and 2, with the paper on top. Some people like to pin or even glue their pieces in place before sewing, since the fabric is underneath the paper. I personally just carefully hold them in place with my finger. I haven’t had a problem yet, and it’s one less step if that works for you.
Accuracy tip: Lower the needle by hand for the first stitch, ensuring that your sewing will be straight along the line. Back-stitch for one stitch at the end to secure your threads.
8. Trim thread ends. (One day I will make myself a cute thread-catch, but for now I just accumulate a mountain of threads next to my sewing machine.)
9. Fold the paper down along the seam you just sewed, and trim the fabric to 1/4″.
10. With the foundation paper flat and unfolded, press and set the seam with a hot iron (no steam). Finger press fabric 2 up to cover its space and press again.
When you hold the paper up to the light, you should see that fabric 1 covers the #1 space and fabric 2 covers the #2 space, with seam allowances.
11. Continue this method for the rest of the pattern pieces. Cut, line up, sew, fold & trim, press. Cut, line up, sew, fold & trim, press. Repeat.
If you’ve got the hang of it, you can skip the next few parts and just scroll down to the finishing steps. For those of you who run into tricky spots along the way, here are some additional tips to help smooth the process.
Tips for Lining Up Seams:
If you are truly generous in your fabric cutting, this tip is not as necessary since you’re bound to have enough fabric even if your seams end up being larger than 1/4″. However, if the frugal part of you just can’t cut those fabric bits ginormously, here’s a tip to get accurate 1/4″ seams to conserve fabric. Note that this works best for straight-forward seams, and not nearly as well for long, skinny, tricky angles (I’ll address those in a bit).
For this example, I have just sewn on piece 3, and I’m getting ready to sew piece 4.
First, fold the paper along the seam line between pieces 3 and 4.
With paper folded over, trim the excess of piece 3 to 1/4″ beyond the fold. This will give you an accurate edge with which to line up the edge of piece 4.
When lining up piece 4 (white) with the edge of piece 3 (black), if you match the edges, the seam will be exactly 1/4″. Note that the right side of fabric 4 is facing the right side of fabric 3. Hold in place, sew, and you’ve got as close to a perfect seam as you’re going to get!
Tips for Using Directional Fabrics:
Using fabrics without a directional flow is fairly straight-forward, but if you are using a fabric with a directional pattern that you’d like to keep consistent, it takes a bit more forethought when you cut. First, line up your pattern and your fabric to decide in what direction the fabric should go. To cut the fabric, position the pattern with the printed lines up, and the fabric wrong side facing up. This way, since you are creating your pattern on the back, the shape of the fabric piece will be accurate (note that the above photo shows the fabric right side up, before pieces were cut).
Once your piece is cut, proceed as usual, paying close attention to the direction of the fabric. Remember, right side of fabric piece is placed facing the right side of the emerging picture, on the wrong side of the foundation paper.
Until you get the hang of aligning the fabric correctly, it’s a good idea to check the direction of the fabric before sewing. Unpicking paper pieced (tiny stitches!) seams is less than desirable (trust me, I know!). To check the fabric direction, simply place the fabric wrong side down, hold along seam line, and fold back. Once you are sure the direction of the fabric is the way you want it, fold it back and sew.
Tips for Tricky Angles:
Many angles in basic paper piecing patterns are fairly straight forward. Sometimes, though, you have an angle that really makes you crunch your brain to properly line up the fabric before sewing so that it fully covers the necessary space with seam allowances. Rather than sew, unpick, sew, unpick, sew, unpick, here are some tips to help get it right the first try.
Here I’m trying to piece section 14. When cutting my fabric piece, I’ve been generous with size, and included the angle of the seam I’m about to sew. Note that the fabric is wrong side up, with my foundation paper right side up.
The fabric piece generously covers the space needed, with lots of wiggle room. The angle cut into the piece is key, since that will help align the seam correctly. If just eyeing the angle while cutting doesn’t work for you, you can put your pattern paper on top of your fabric, and using a Herra marker, deeply mark the seam line. Add 1/4-1/2″ to all sides and cut your fabric piece.
Holding it up to the light, I can see that my fabric piece covers the space, extends amply beyond the seam allowance, and that the general angle of the seam line is consistent with the angle of the fabric piece.
Here’s the tricky part. Placing your fabric right side facing the wrong side of the foundation paper, line your angled seam edge with the seam line on your block. It will look wonky, and may seem like it is headed in the wrong direction.
Fold along the seam line to ensure the fabric will cover the correct area. Once satisfied that it’s all lined up properly, fold back and sew the seam. With particularly wonky angles, I sometimes pin along the seam line, both to ensure I’m accurately checking the fold, and to hold the fabric in the proper place before sewing.
So now you’ve got the basics of foundation paper piecing! Once your entire block is pieced, square up the edges being mindful to keep the 1/4″ seam allowance around the block if you plan to sew it into a quilt, pillow, or just about anything else.
I often will leave the paper on if I plan to sew the block to another paper pieced block, since the 1/4″ seam allowance line helps me with accurate sewing. If you are already a pro at 1/4″ seams or are planning on using a single block for your project, now comes the fun part–removing the paper!
To remove the paper, gently tear away, holding the main block in place and pulling gently away and to the side, similar to how you would tear any perforated piece of paper. With your narrow stitch length, the paper should come away easily.
Once one side of the paper is off, the other side often will just pop out. Go slowly and tear gently to ensure your seams stay tight. If you end up with bits of paper stuck in the seams, carefully use blunt tweezers to remove the final bits. Alternately, I’ve heard that spraying the paper with water helps with removal. I haven’t had to try it yet, though, so can’t vouch for the method.
I just love the backs of paper pieced blocks. The precision and accuracy, all the little seams that are proof of my cut, line up, sew, fold & trim, press marathon… they make me happy. Take a good, long, admiring look at the back of your block, and then flip it over and admire your finished block. Gorgeous!
I hope this tutorial was helpful, and that you enjoy paper piecing as much as I do. Coming soon on my blog, I’ll talk about what’s next; now that you’ve made your paper pieced block, what can you do with it!?
Do you have any other tips for beginner paper piecers?
We’ve been having a lot of fun over in the Late Night Quilters Club on Facebook, the group I started with Stephanie and her friend Michelle a few weeks ago. Tomorrow that fun is about to go up a few notches. If you haven’t joined our group yet, now would be a good time to do so!
Tomorrow kicks off a brand new weekly event–Tuesday Fabric Stash Swap! We decided to keep it at swapping rather than buying and selling, and it will be a great way for all of us to destash the fabrics we’ve loved but that haven’t found their way to any projects, while at the same time swapping for new-to-us fabrics to help bolster our stashes. The swap is also open to quilting tools and notions. I am super excited!
I’ve fairly recently entered the quilting world, and my SAHM budget doesn’t allow any major fabric splurges, so my stash is teeny tiny. Even still, I have a few fabrics I bought with the intention to use, but that just haven’t found their way into any of my projects. I figure it’s a good time to pass them along and see what else comes my way.
The swap goes live tomorrow, but here’s a sneak peek at what I’ll be offering to swap:
Chevrons and Dots
“Mixxoni” by Greta Lynn for Kanvas Studios in association with Bernatex: 1/2yd
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Bermuda Chevron: 18″x21″ (a hair shy of a fat quarter)
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Bright Chevron: 13″x20″
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Spring Dots: 10″x44″
I’ve tried to love chevrons, really I have. I know they are all the craze in the modern quilting world, and I do like large chevron patterned quilts, sometimes. I bought these chevrons thinking that one day they would just hop successfully into a project, but lo… here they still sit, lonely as ever. I know that many quilters love chevrons, so I hope that they find a happy new home.
Watermelon Scrap Pack
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Summer (Yellow dots): 22″x25″
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Bright (Pink dots): 21″x14″
Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Garden Chevron: 1/2 yard
These fabrics are super cute, and despite the chevron I kinda love them. They would make a really cute watermelon table topper or other summery kitchen decor. I would hold on to them, but my list of works-in-progress is long enough as it is, so I’m letting go. Let it go, let it go! Can’t hold it back any more! (sorry, I have toddlers)
Sis Boom Basics by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit, Westminster Fibers, Eliza Stripe (Yellow): 1/2 yard
Sis Boom Basics by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit, Westminster Fibers, Eliza Stripe (Green): 1/2 yard
Richloom Odilon Twill, Jewel: 1/2 yard
When I first started quilting, I joined up with the Spool Along hosted by Laura at Adventures of a Quilting Diva. Since I had next-to-no striped fabric with which to make my spools of thread, I went a bit crazy and bought way more than I needed some. I’ve since realized that the fabric doesn’t have to be striped to make a good spool, and I’ve decided to downsize my stripes a bit. So here you go!
Today I thought I’d mix up our color inspiration a bit and use photographs from someone other than myself. Were you getting tired of nature and flower photos? I hope not, but either way, this week will act as a little break. I was going through my photo files looking for some good brights (who doesn’t love brights?), and I found a couple of gems taken by my dear friend Brittany from Brittany White Photography. Both photographs are of my daughter, and I love reminiscing to the days when she was such a wee itty bitty girl. And oh, the color!
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Coal, Mushroom, Deep Rose, Crimson, Raisin, Cardinal
This photograph was taken years ago, when Brittany was first starting out her photography business and went by the name of Lucy James Photography. My daughter is exactly one year old in the photo, yet I gasped when I saw it since it evokes feelings of maturity that I had not yet associated with my baby girl. The colors pulled from this photo are both soft and elegant, and I could see them in a comfortable lap quilt draped across a living room couch, or even as a king quilt in a master bedroom suite.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Pool, Breakers, Silver, Denim, Candy Pink, Crimson
And so quickly, she grows. A year and a half later, my daughter was captured wearing my favorite colors, seriously. This is exactly the palette I was seeking when I set out to find this week’s color inspiration, and I’m grateful to Brittany for eagerly agreeing to my use of her photographs in my palettes. Anyone who has been following my latest sewing projects knows that I’m absolutely STUCK on these colors. Turquoise, magenta, a bit of silver (low volume): I’m a happy quilter!
I just love Brittany’s photography; she captures such depth of soul and beauty in all of her subjects. Check out her website or her blog for some more portraiture eye candy, as well as for bits of inspiration and tips (while not specific to quilting, this 6 tips to better photos post is quite helpful!).
While we are on the topic of inspiration, last week I read a blog post that I think any creative person can relate to. Cheryl Arkison of Naptime Quilter wrote an honest and open post about being in a creative slump. This is from the author of popular quilting books Sunday Morning Quilts, and A Month of Sundays, with another manuscript underway! Yes, even the famous quilters get into a slump. Even the big names grow in bitterness and frustration at a continuously cluttered house. I’m not alone in this. There was something releasing in reading her blog post. It helped me to realize that we all feel the daily frustrations and at times get into slumps where creativity just won’t happen, AND that there are steps that can be taken to help emerge on the other side. I asked Cheryl if I could share her list of suggestions for getting through a slump, and she said yes:
– Keep sewing. Keep your muscles moving, your brain activated to the process.
– Finish something, anything.
– Take inventory of the WIPs, admit that you won’t finish some and pass them on.
– Wash the windows, or get them washed. New light, clean light will highlight the path and let the butterflies in.
– Try a new technique.
– Give away a quilt, a finished quilt.
– Say no to a commitment.
– Get up early to sip tea and do nothing in the quiet morning light.
– Colour, paint, or create with your kids.
– Turn off the computer, walk away from Pinterest and Instagram
– Put away the inspirational stack of fabric you pulled out two years ago.
– Sign up for a swap or bee.
– Take a road trip, even if just for the day.
– Have faith in yourself.
I love this list. So many resonate with me, and I think that final tip is so key. Have faith in yourself. For me, sewing and creating in general is an outlet of creative energy and my attempt to make beautiful things daily. If sewing begins to make ugly things, even in my mind, then perhaps it is time to go paint with the kids, put the fabric aside, and open the window so that the butterflies can come in.
I would add “Lay in the grass and look closely at nature” to this list, since getting a close look at the bees busily buzzing from flower to flower renews my awe at the world. And for me, where there’s awe, inspiration flows.
What suggestions do you have for getting out of a slump? Perhaps search for color inspiration everywhere you go? *wink wink*
Yesterday when I checked the forecast for today and the next three days, it said “rain, rain, rain.” We woke up this morning to a bit of drizzle, but blue skies. By the time I got home from dropping my daughter at preschool, it was sunny and gorgeous, as it remained all day. Needless to say, we spent the day outside!
Now that night has fallen and my kiddos are sleeping, it’s time for me to keep my word and post my second weekly Color Inspiration Thursday. As I explained last week, on Thursdays I plan to post a color palette or two that I have created using the Play Crafts Palette Builder and my old photographs. I will also include the corresponding Kona Cottons since the Palette Builder lists them for me!
My hope is that these palettes help inspire you, maybe spur an idea for a new quilt or sewing project, or even just brighten your day and trigger those happy aesthetically-driven feelings. Even if you didn’t get to enjoy a sunny day filled with spring-time joy, new blooms, and keeping-the-bugs-at-bay breeze, here’s your dose of color:
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right: Cadet, Avocado, Sweet pea, Pansy, Wisteria, Magenta
For this palette, some of the Kona matches were a bit of a stretch (specifically the colors on the outer edges–do they look like cadet and magenta?), but when looking at the Kona colors together, I almost prefer them to actual colors pulled from the photograph.
Regardless of whether you go with the range of purples from the photo, or the Kona colors chosen to match, I could see these colors becoming a quilt for my late Grammy June. Grammy was the sole quilter in the family, and my inspiration to begin quilting. She loved purple! I have to say: purple is certainly growing on me.
Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
White, Avocado, Grass green, Stone, Sienna, Wasabi
I’m partial to this palette since it includes both white and gray, which find their way into my quilts alwaysvery often these days. I feel like this palette has a country, down home feel. Do colors do that for you; do they illicit a specific “feel”? They definitely do for me!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed