Check back here on Friday May 6, 2016. On that day I will reveal my block and I will tell you how you can win a free copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Block Challenge Volume 13
I have a new design in the May/June 2016 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine. The folks at Quiltmaker named the design Whirlpools. I think it’s a perfect name for the design because the rotation of the blocks creates the illusion of swirling water when you see it used in the quilt. I had given it the name Spinning Squash Blossoms, but I like their name better. Once again, Janice Roy of Bridgeport, Connecticut did the beautiful quilting. The lovely fabrics in this design are all from a few different Stonehenge collections by Northcott. After April 15, Quiltmaker will be offering this design in a kit and also the backing fabric sold separately.
The design for this quilt began with a sketch I made in my graph pad. For many of my recent designs I have been exploring 4 way rotational symmetry using blocks that have diagonal symmetry. That means that the block reflects as a mirror of the design along the diagonal division of a square. You can see this in the butterfly block below on the left.
When you place an object around a center point and rotate that object a set amount with each placement you have rotational symmetry. You can see this in the sample on the right below. Floor tiles use 4 way rotational symmetry and they are the inspiration for my design journey.
Below, on the left, you can see my original sketch for this design. As you can see from the final design on the right, this creation went through many iterations before I settled on the final manifestation of the design.
I’ll do my best to walk you through the development of this design. First I created a mockup of the original design in my Electric Quilt (EQ) design software. Even though the original block was designed with a strong diagonal element to the design, the block had no symmetry. To create symmetry I had to flip the block design to mirror itself. The horizontal and vertical red lines are the lines of symmetry.
After getting a look at the whole design using this block I knew I needed to tweak the block to make it simpler. I tried to isolate the elements that I liked in the original design that I liked. Below is a sample of the path this block design took. The first block is the original block design. I have colored the elements that I kept in grey tones so that you can see them within the original block. For the next iteration of the block, I drew a diagonal line through the center unit of the 5 patch block. I did this to continue the diagonal line that already was developing through the block design. I shaded the resulting triangle in the lighter grey tone. My next idea was to color the block in reverse tones along the diagonal. Therefore the elements that are white on one side are now black on the other side and vice versa with the black elements.
Here is what the resulting block looked like in a tiled layout with rotational symmetry.
It made for a pretty cool design so I explored it further. I rotated the block and tried a mirrored or flipped symmetry in the layout.
I kind of liked the design a bit and decided to explore it a bit more. So I played with the value placement in the block to see what would develop.
Even though I was fond of the resulting design, I felt that I needed to head in a direction that would result in a simpler block to construct. Below are examples of this direction in the design development. I took the design back to the two tone stage where I use only black and white in the block coloring. I liked how this was starting to look and continued to alter elements in the block design.
I liked what I saw and decided to explore this iteration and add more grey tones to the block design. Eventually I came to the final iteration of the design, the last one on the right below, and I was satisfied.
I hope you were able to follow the path of how my mind works. I hope I didn't confuse you, because I sometimes confuse myself. Thank you for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it!
Flutter By My Garden
Happy spring! Spring is my favorite season of the year. There’s something about the expectation I experience waiting to see the spring flowers bloom that never grows old. It’s like Christmas morning when I was a child.
This is the year for my guild, the CT Piecemakers, bi-annual quilt show. Once again I took on the challenge of leading the raffle quilt design team. I increased the number of people on my design team from 4 to 8 members. It was definitely a challenge but it helped us to create a beautiful quilt design. I liken it to trying to herd a group of cats into one place.
The proceeds from the raffle of this quilt will benefit the following charities; ASRC– Autism Spectrum Resource Center, Norma Pfriem Cancer Institute, Habitat for Humanity, St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound & the Girl Scouts of CT Camperships.
We agreed on a warm autumn palette for the colors. After coming up with the design we chose to use three applique blocks from “Aunt Millie’s Garden “quilt pattern from Piece O’ Cake Designs. The other blocks were original designs. The approximate finished size is 91” x 91”, which is considered queen size. It was pieced & appliquéd by members of the guild. It was quilted by Eileen Barchi, another member of the guild.
If you’re within driving distance you should come out and join us. The dates for the show are is Saturday April 16, 2016 from 10:00 AM—5:00 PM and Sunday April 17, 2016 from 10:00 AM—4:00 PM. It will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1284 Strongtown Rd., Southbury, CT 06488.
There will be over two hundred quilts on display. Over a 100 of those were judged this past Monday. Besides the raffle quilt, we will have a SAQA exhibit, vender mall, raffle baskets, quilt appraisals, demonstrations and a bargain boutique.
I’ll have a bunch of my quilts on display. I entered quilts that were published in a number of well-known quilting magazine. Also on display will be a few quilts that I designed in collaboration with my friend Janice Roy. You will have the chance to see “Psyche-Dahlia”, our Hoffman challenge 2015 entry and “Zen Lily”, which was a finalist in the New Quilts from Old Favorites Carolina Lily challenge.
I hope to see you there! I’ll be at the show both days.
I have a new design in the Quiltmaker magazine January/February 2016 issue. The quilt pattern is called Prairie Sky. The folks at Quiltmaker chose the name and I think it matches their fabric choice perfectly. I originally named it the “Owl Eyes” as the block looked like a large pair of eyes staring back at me.
This design started as a doodle that I made while waiting for an appointment. Wherever you go, you should carry a sketch book with you. Try to find a small one that fits in your bag, as you never know when inspiration will catch up to you. I started by filing in the squares on the graph paper to create an interesting pattern. After sketching out a couple of repeats I looked for the base unit and marked with a couple of lines.
After I drafted the design into my Electric Quilt (EQ) program I colored it using only grey and black values for contrast. I next tried rotating the block in different ways to see what the design would look like. I decided I liked the original sketch best. After returning to the original version I toyed with adding different values and the placement of the values. Once I had the values and their placement decided I swapped the grey tones for a color.
Next I added borders to the blocks that supported the scale of the design. Then I went looking through my EQ Stash files for a fun collection to audition in this design. I found a number of current collections that I liked. In my EQ program I replaced the grey values with the new fabric choices. I think this design would look great in any type of fabric. If you make one please send me the images and I’ll post it on my web site.
Block # 1129 Calypso
Greetings! I’m glad that you have come to visit my blog for the volume 12 Quiltmaker’s 100 designer blocks blog tour. Here is my block. I named it Calypso because of it's colors it has tropical feel to it. As you know, I will be sending one lucky tourist will go home with their very own copy of this wonderful resource at the end of the tour. In this blog, I’m going to share with you my journey to the final block design. Read it to the end to find out how to get your chance at owning this issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks. Also, don’t forget to visit me on Facebook and click the “Like” button. I would appreciate it greatly.
As I told you in my last post, the inspiration for this block came from Seminole piecing designs. The design the I wanted to adapt into a block is called Rattlesnake. Here are a couple of examples of the Rattlesnake band design shown in grey scale.
Originally, I had used the design in the border of a wall-hanging I made for a guild challenge. I loved the way it looked in the finished project.
I started by opening up the block I had used in the Pansy wall-hanging. For the original block I had partitioned the side of the square into 7 divisions. I used the center section as placement for the crossing part of the design.
For this project I decided that I wanted the cross element to be narrower than it was. I thought that this would make the design more striking if a very bold contrast was introduced into that part of the block.
To match this new design direction, I changed the partition from 7 to 9 and connected the center section to make the crossing element. I left the old blocks design lines in as guidelines for you to see.
You can also see in the image above that I changed the size of satellite square from my Calypso block design during the development of the block design. I felt that the square needed to be smaller to compliment the narrower size of the cross element. It may only seem like a small change but I felt that it made a difference in the appearance of the block design. You can compare the blocks side by side below.
The next step in my process is to audition different fabrics into the design so that I may see what kind of fabrics that it favors. Can the fabrics used be of a large or small scale design. Also I want to discern how strong the contrast needs to be for the quilt design to have the appropriate amount of visual impact. I use the fabrics found in my EQ software fabric libraries.
For this block it’s best to use smaller prints, solid and tonal fabrics. It’s also important to make sure you have a high contrast between all 4 fabrics. Here are some examples below.
Now it was time for me to decide what fabrics I wanted to use when I made my block. I decided on dyed fabric. I hand dye fabric and had a ready supply. Next I chose my colors. Since the design needs a strong contrast, I decided to use complementary colors. I chose to use violet and it’s complement of yellow alongside orange and it’s complement of blue. I thought these would make a striking palette. I played with the solid color palette in my EQ software to find the right shades for my block design.
I used my 3 in 1 Color Tool from Joen Wolfrom help me find fabrics in my stash that would give me a similar result. I rely heavily on this tool as my knowledge of color is learned and not instinctual. If you are like me then I would recommend you get one for yourself. It's a worth while investment.
I pulled out the cards that seemed to best match my vision. I considered Red-Violet and Purple for the violet background. For the yellow and oranges hues I compared Orange-Red, Orange-Yellow and Yellow-Orange. For the blue cross I had to choose between Aqua Blue and Cerulean Blue. I used these cards to help me search through my fabrics to find the perfect match. I pulled out my stash boxes for blue, violets, yellow and orange.
After much consideration I made my decision. These were my final choices for the orange & yellow squares, blue cross and violet background.
I was very pleased with how close the finished block was to my original EQ version of the design. The block on the left below is the EQ image. Next to that I have my fabric palette and finally, to the right, the finished block. I was lucky to have the right fabrics but EQ helped me to identify them.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog. To enter the drawing to win a free copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Designer Blocks Volume 12, please leave a comment below and don't forget, if you haven't already done it, please visit my Facebook page, Iris Quilts & Dyed Fabrics and click on the "Like" button. Happy Quilting!
I am excited about being included in the new issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 designer blocks volume 12. My block was inspired by Seminole strip piecing. The Seminole tribe is famous for their use of this technique. I found out about this technique long before I became a quilter.
In case you didn’t know, my sewing adventure making clothing. Also, I developed a love for needle work of all kinds, even though I didn’t practice any techniques myself. Along the way I was introduced to Folkwear patterns. These are patterns that have that reflect different cultures and time periods as their design theme. One of the patterns that appealed to me as a clothier was the Seminole Jacket and Skirt pattern. I never did anything with it bit it was always kicking around in the back of my mind. Which turned out to be a good thing because that’s how my journey into quilting happened.
Although most of what I sewed was custom clothing, I had dipped my toes into quilting by making a couple of baby quilts for my nieces. I used techniques from Eleanor Burns log cabin and Irish quilt books. They came out decent and I considered making another quilting project. One day I happened upon a quilting book about Seminole strip piecing called Simply Seminole by Dorothy Hanisko. Typically Seminole piecing results in narrow bands of piecing measuring anywhere between 1” - 5”. What the author did was to enlarge the finished size of the pieced bands so that you didn’t need as many bands to complete a quilt top. I used this technique the way it’s presented in the book to make a few Seminole quilts I have in my gallery.
I will be taking part in the Quiltmaker 100 designer block blog tour for volume 12. As part of the blog tour I will be giving away a copy of the magazine to 1 lucky tourist. On November 20th, come back and visit my blog. I’ll give you instructions on how to get your chance at owning a copy of this amazing resource.
If you’re a fan of the classic Christmas movie “A Christmas Story” then you should be excited to know that Quilting Treasures Fabrics has a line of fabrics that celebrates this iconic film. I was lucky to be the person that designed the projects for the collection. I came up with a quilt and a wall hanging for the collection. Click on the images below for the links to the free pattern downloads. I love all the fabrics, but I think my favorite is the Leg Lamp print that comes in red or green. Happy quilting!
I have a new quilt pattern in Fons & Porter's Quilting Quickly September/October 2015 issue. The design is called Honeycomb. The fabrics in the quilt are from Timeless Treasures Pashmina collection. The pattern can be made using precut 2 1/2" strips. Fons & Porter has a new twist for constructing the “snow ball” units. You can watch a demonstration of their technique, on You Tube. The design is being offered as a digital download from Fons & Porter or you can purchase a kit from Keepsake Quilting. Unfortunately the kits are on back order and won’t be available until October 13, 2015.
The inspiration for this design was the simple “Snow Ball” Block that we are all familiar with. I was looking for a new way of using this block so I broke out my trusty graph pad and proceeded to play. The first thing that came to my mind was to try rotating the units and create a larger block of four “Snow Balls”. The sketch below is the result.
Then I sat down and played with the idea in my Electric Quilt software. The first idea I had was to connect the units to create a visual flow across the quilt. The first two designs didn’t do it for me. They felt a little heavy handed so I thought I would try something a little more subtle. On my third try I felt that I was closer to a great design. But I didn’t love the way the grey tone values related to each other. So I switched around the grey values around and decided this was what I was looking for. Now it was time to tinker with color and create a woven effect.
Yeah, I’m a cover girl! I have a new design in the September/November issue of Quiltmaker magazine and it’s on the cover. To celebrate, I want to give away a free copy of the issue. Leave a comment at the end of the article and you can win your free copy of this issue of Quiltmaker magazine. And if you haven’t already done so, I’d appreciate it if you could give me a “LIKE” on my Iris Quilts Facebook page. The giveaway ends September 18, 2015. Shortly after that, I’ll announce a winner.
The quilt is named RUDENEJA. It a Lithuanian word used to describe the way the weather feels as it turns to autumn. I’m not of Lithuanian descent but I love autumn. So can relate to the sensation. Looking at the finished quilt, I feel the folks at Quiltmaker gave it the perfect name.
I had the working name of Tile #4 for this design. The reason for that is because last summer and fall I had a great run of inspiration and designed a whole bunch of tiled designs. The best way for me to keep track of them was using numbers. This and all of my other ideas come from time I spend with my graphed sketch pad. It keeps me out of trouble…. most of the time.
I’ve been inspired by the designs found on decorative tiles. The designs typically have a diagonal line of symmetry. When placed in a grid pattern the tiles create a design that looks far more intricate than it actually is. It creates an illusion of many different block units used together to create the final design. Click here to see an earlier blog I posted about tile designs.
As I have done with my other designs, I come up with a block idea and then I sketch it out in a grid pattern to see what it looks like. For this design I started with the block rotated in one direction and then tried it out with the opposite rotation. When I’m happy with the result, I go to my Electric Quilt software to play with it some more. First I try the design out in black and white. Then I start to add dark greys to subtly contrast with the black. Once I see an interesting pattern, I then add lighter grey values to the design to make the design visually pop. About half way through the process I returned the blocks to their original rotation. I realized I liked it best that way.
Once I have a layout and a coloring that I like, I’ll try it in various fabric collections that I find in my Electric Quilt software. Here are a few.
Please take time to leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy of this issue. Also, remember to visit my Facebook page and give me a “LIKE”, if you please.
Happy Quilting, Janice
In January, of this year, I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Renae Merrill. Renae Is a self-professed “spiral-maniac” who has written two books about making spiral quilts; Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts and Magnificent Spiral Mandal Quilts. I bought Magnificent Spiral Mandal Quilts many years ago and never got around to trying it out. Then Renae came to our guild to give her Magic Mirror Mandala workshop.
I prepared for class by putting together a palette with gradient values from light to dark. I started by finding an inspiration fabric. This could also be considered a theme fabric but there is no guarantee that it will be included in the final piece. It was simply a crutch for putting together a cohesive palette of colors.
During the class we used the clockwise and counterclockwise spirals supplied to us to draft a wedge. This wedge represents one eighth of the whole pie.
Next we placed the wedge in a plastic sleeve and used dry erased markers to flesh out a pattern from the units. After you colored in your pie slice, you place a mirror on it to see what the whole thing will look like. At home I would load an image of the wedge into my kaleidoscope program so that I could see what it would look like as a whole.
At first I tried to match the markers to the fabrics I had. This strategy didn’t work for me as they were not exact matches to my fabric colors. The marker colors were too bright. Also I planned on using dark to light values with the color and I found this hard to convey with the dry erase markers.
After my first three attempts with bright markers I decided to try toning the colors down and reducing the number of colors. This helped me to see how they related to each other better. Another issue was that I couldn’t find a yellow dry erase marker and I felt that the orange marker was too bright. It was competing with the other colors in my marker palette. The other colors should appear darker than the yellow/orange. That’s about as far as I got in class. Later in my sewing room I decided to leave the parts that were to be yellow blank. This helped me to conceptualize it better. I was very satisfied with the result. But I had other “quilting” fish to fry so I had to set the project aside.
Recently I was able to make time further the progression of this project. Now that I had decided on a layout, I used colored pencils to make a colored draft that would include the gradient values for each color. It took three tries before I came up with a design that I liked. Then I realized that I had included a green/yellow in my green palette to represent the lightest value. This was a problem because I don’t have any yellow green fabric in my palette.
So I made one more version that used a very pale green tor represent the lightest value. I also changed which purple I was going to use in the center. After I finally had what I thought was an awesome sketch it was time to make it in fabric. This took some time as I had to be careful not to mix up the little pieces. After a week and a half I had finished my wedge and I love it! Again, I loaded an image of the wedge into my kaleidoscope program so that I could see better see what it would look when finished. I think it looks awesome.
I have to put it away for a while and work on some other things. But now that I have the one finished wedge for reference the other seven will go much quicker. It may be a while but I definitely plan on finishing this project.