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Proportions of Color

With the second mini-bundle of our Rainbow’s End Grand Bundle coming out this week as part of our web special, it seemed a good time to talk about how the proportions of colors used can dramatically affect the overall image of the quilt.

When you look at a palette of colors you might say to yourself that you do not like it because there’s too much of this color and not enough of that. But keep in mind that you’re seeing equal amounts of each color. And how your quilt appears will depend on the amount of each color that you use. So I decided to illustrate this with one of my designs, a long time favorite, Night and Day.

 

 

I created Night and Day several years ago and it is a perfect design to experiment with. The original design was based two different of sets of strips with seven fabrics in each set. The colors shaded within each set from light to dark. I wanted to use more fabrics for the Rainbow’s End version so I created four different strip sets shading from light to dark instead of two as in the original. This new version has 28 of the 35 fabrics in the complete Rainbow’s End Grand Bundle.

 

 

The idea of a Day and a Night quilt came about after cutting identical triangles from each strip set. The leftover triangles didn’t get used. The triangles cut from one side of the strip set had larger pieces of the lighter fabrics than those cut from the other side which had more of the darker fabrics. So from just these four strip sets, I created one quilt with the lighter triangles and a second one with the leftover darker ones.

 

 

I deliberately put a light background on Day  and a dark one on Night, as shown above, but look how different the quilts look where I swap borders and background.

 

 

To make these quilts, you will need either the 1/2 yard or full yard bundle. Next time I will show you more background possibilities and I will also have the new revised Night and Day pattern ready for you to download.

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Our New Grand Bundle – Rainbow’s End

Periodically for the last few years I have put together “Grand Bundles” of fabrics,  the colors of which are inspired by a beautiful photograph from nature. I am always on the lookout for a photo opportunity to use for these bundles. The best creator of colors for a palette is Mother Nature. I am always amazed when looking at a beautiful photo how different the colors are when you actually break down the photo. Nature forces us to add colors we never would’ve thought of adding. These make all the difference in the world.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter and her family were visiting and I put the children on a mission of looking for photo opportunities for the next grand bundle. One day my 10-year-old granddaughter came running into the house yelling,

“Grandma, Grandma, I have your photo.  Get your camera and hurry.” I went running after her and there, seeming to come right out from my own backyard, was a beautiful rainbow. I thought that was a perfect palette for the next bundle. We tend to think of rainbow colors as bold and brilliant and I was surprised to see the soft shades emerge as I extracted the colors.  I decided that batik prints would be perfect for this Grand Bundle.

Below the photo are the colors that were extracted using Photoshop (see this blog for how to get the colors in Photoshop) and here are the batiks that I chose to go with those colors.

 

 

There are 35 different fabrics in the Rainbow’s End Grand Bundle and we will be offering them to you as part of our web special program over the next five months. On the fourth week of each month we will offer seven of the Grand Bundle fabrics in “mini-bundles.” Collect them all and you will have a beautiful color palette to use for any of your favorite scrappy projects.

 

 

A color palette with this many fabrics makes a perfect scrap quilt such as the ones I showed you with previous Grand Bundles, Thousand Pyramids and Baby Blocks with the Irish Heather bundle and the simple squares with the Protea bundle. Here is a mock-up of what the Thousand Pyramids would look like with the Rainbow’s End bundle.

This color palette would be a perfect use for one of those patterns but I am also presenting a new one for you to experiment with.  Stay tuned for next month when this popular quilt design, done in Rainbow’s End colors, is revealed and start collecting your first mini-bundle now.

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Are You Ready for Row by Row 2019?

As we were getting ready to post this new blog entry, some of us received by email a blog entry from last year.  It seems to have been floating around in cyberspace since then.  We apologize for any confusion.  Please ignore it but pay attention to the new entry below.

Row by Row begins this week!

We have been super busy preparing for the Row by Row Shop Hop. For those of you not familiar with the program, it is a worldwide shop hop. Each participating shop designs a panel for a quilt or a stand-alone mini quilt and creates a pattern for their row. You can travel to any of the participating shops and receive the free pattern for that shop’s “row” and most shops have kits available. Make a quilt from the patterns you collect. If it contains at least eight official rows, take it to a participating shop. If you are the first person to bring a finished quilt to that shop, you will receive 25 fat quarters of fabric. If your quilt contains the row from that shop, you will receive an additional prize.

 

Luke is waiting patiently there in the lower right corner for the crumbs to fall.

 

The theme this year is “Taste the Experience” and the designs are created to fit that theme. This year for fun, the shops who are all part of the Quilters’ Quest shop hop in October decided to get together and plan a coordinated quilt for the Row by Row shop hop. We decided to make each of our rows like a vintage diner sign. Since I am known for growing hot peppers and for my hot pepper jam recipe, our row shows the jam and the peppers. When you pick up your free pattern you will also receive the recipe for my hot pepper jam.

In order to simplify sewing all those letters, we created a printed panel for the sign and for the “hot” label. This makes creating the row so much easier!

We are also participating in the Row by Row Junior and have a free pattern for “Jelly” the jellyfish for any child who comes into the shop. Kits are also available for purchase.

 

 

Go to the Row by Row website to read all the rules and to find participating shops by state and country.

 

 

Since I know that many of you cannot travel to the Studio, I didn’t want  those of you who live far away to feel left out. In keeping with the spirit of the event and theme, I designed a tessellating pattern for both a lap size and mini size quilt which I call “Forklift.” Since these are not officially part of Row by Row, we have patterns and kits available online and in the Studio.

 

 

Plus, in addition to the Forklift quilts, we also have our “Palette Pleaser” fabric license plates. So, no matter where you are we hope you’ll be able to take part in Row by Row not only at your local shops but with the Studio, too.

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Protea Blog…Take Two!

Last month on my blog I posted about the Protea Squares quilt made with the entire Protea Bundle. One of the questions asked by a customer about the larger version of the quilt was, what would happen if you put the dark squares in the center instead of the light.  Well, we thought it would be fun to see as well.

Here are both versions without borders.

 

 

It is clear that they are quite different. As you saw last time, the border that is added to the quilt can also make a difference. With each of the Protea web special mini-bundles we also offer one or two border print coordinates. These look good with the individual mini-bundles as well as the complete grand bundle. We selected these two Rajasthan borders for this month’s bundle.

 

 

I opted for a different treatment of the borders this time and added my more typical border of the narrow and wider border print strips and another fabric in between the two. To determine the width of the middle black border, I once again went to my Golden Gauge Calipers.  The wide border stripe is 5” so I put the calipers across the five-inch strip and that told me that the black fabric should be 3” wide. (5 x .618 = 3”).

 

 

You can see here the same border design and the same border treatment with only the color change in the border print. What a different impact the two present.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stellaris BOM Part I – The Inspiration for the Design

From 1968 to 1972 my husband and I, along with our three children, lived in Nepal and India. It was in those places that I fell in love with geometric and mosaic designs.  The images were everywhere–on buildings, walls, textiles, gardens–and they became ingrained in my whole being. It was also in India in 1972 that I began my first quilt, a mosaic, allover design made of hexagons called Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

 

 

 

 

Three years later, after returning to the States and while visiting my friend, Suzi, I saw a mosaic box on her table and immediately became enamored with the hexagonal design. She let me borrow the box and after days of scrutiny, I started my third quilt, Suzi’s Box.

 

 

Over the years I have collected mosaic boxes and designs from many countries–Spain, India, Nepal and North Africa. So many of these designs have small narrow borders between the elements of the design.

 

 

 

I wanted to tackle one of these types of designs and decided to begin with a simple six-pointed star joined together with diamonds made up of a narrow decorative stripe. The stars were cut from leftover border print pieces.

 

 

The narrow stripe was taken from one of my border print fabrics. Each of the connecting diamonds was made up of four smaller triangle pieces.

 

 

Herein lies the problem. I loved the design and what was happening with the connecting diamonds so I calculated how much of the border print fabric I needed…and YIKES!!!! It was 17 yards!

So, I decided that since the use of that fabric was too extravagant, I would just have to design a fabric that would work and that was when my first “mini-stripe” fabric was born. That fabric is used in the quilt which inspired its creation, Arabic Tiles, yet another hexagon based design.

 

 

 

It was so much fun experimenting and designing quilts using the first mini-stripe fabrics that I included another, in several colors, in my Aruba collection.

 

 

This brings me to the point of this blog. As you can see, inspiration doesn’t just appear. It is built on experiences, images and just slowly develops. I had been trying to decide for weeks what type of design to use for this year’s BOM quilt and wanted to include the mini-stripe fabric. Then one day when dusting a shelf, I spotted these two plates and looked at them with new eyes. I knew immediately that they would be the inspiration for the new 2019 BOM.

 

 

 

I studied and studied how the designs were created and after a week of complete concentration and drawing was able to come up with and draft this design. Thank goodness our pattern writer, Elaine, was a genius in breaking the design down into simple piecing of nothing but straight seams and a few in-set seams.

 

 

The fun was then in selecting the fabrics and the six different colorways to create the quilt.

 

 

Links to the first video and printed lesson will appear in our April 6, 2019 newsletter. It is free to all newsletter subscribers.

Watch this video clip to learn about the BOM and stay tuned for the next blog and the behind the scenes look at creating the program.

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Protea – A Bundle With So Many Possibilities

Last month, we introduced our latest grand bundle, Protea, named after an amazing flower found in South Africa. As I often do, the colors for this bundle we’re pulled from a photograph the Studio’s manager, Rebecca, took while on a trip there in 2017. If you are interested in this process of capturing colors from a photo, I wrote about it in a blog when we introduced the Irish Heather bundle.  There are 40 fabrics in the Protea bundle and we have broken it up into five smaller bundles of eight fabrics each. Once a month we offer one of the smaller bundles as our web special.

 

 

Whenever we introduce a new bundle, we always discuss possible projects to give you all an idea of how you can use the fabrics. Both the Thousand Pyramid and Tumbling Blocks quilt were shown in the Irish Heather blogs and would be perfect for this bundle as well. Another suggestion is a quilt, Potomac Charm, designed in 2013 for the Quilters’ Quest shop hop.

Potomac Charm used 99 five-inch charm squares so, in order to have enough to play with, we cut two squares from each of the 40 Protea fabrics and staffer Nancy and I started arranging them on the design wall. We decided on a setting of 54 “blocks,” set six across and nine down. Swatches were added, moved around and taken down. Just when we thought we had it set we would change it again. Then we added border prints down the sides to audition them. What do you think?

 

 

 

After the positioning of the squares was set I created a digital image and played around with border options. Since the quilt was so small, I chose to start with the narrow border from the Casablanca fabric. The best outer border was just a wider black piece. To determine the best width for that last border I got out my trusty Golden Gauge Calipers. This gave me the perfect size for that last border. If you are not familiar with the Golden Ratio, check out my blog on this topic from a few years ago.

 

 

 

I tried another version using the border print from Miyako.

 

 

The finished quilts are approximately 59” x 67”. We always have people wanting to make our quilts larger. So I decided to play around with the digital image. I removed the top and bottom rows of squares then made two exactly alike and two that were the mirror image.

 

 

Since the quilt is larger, I used the wider stripe from the fabric and then used the calipers to determine how wide the black should be. Here is the quilt with the two different borders.

 

 

 

No longer a charm quilt (charm quilts do not duplicate fabrics), we decided to name this Protea Squares. The small quilt measures 34” x 50.5” without the borders and 59” x 67” with the borders. The large quilt is 67” x 78” without the border and 84” x 95” with the borders.

The finished width of our smaller quilt outer border is 3 7/8” (cut 4 3/8”). The finished width of the larger quilt outer border is 8½” (cut width 9”).

We are giving the Potomac Charms pattern here as a free download. You can use that as a guideline for creating your own 5” square quilt. We encourage you to play with fabric placement and settings, adding more squares or less, (depending on the size you want) or even adding fabrics from your stash.  Once you get started, I’m sure you will have as much fun as we did. 

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A Snow Day = A Sew Day

When bad weather forces us to close the Studio, we spend our day as many of you would—working on our quilting projects.  Here’s a quick look at how many of we staffers spent our free day.

 

 

Jinny is currently in the middle of taping the lessons for her new block of the month, Stellaris, so that’s what she worked on all while watching the birds and snow outside her window.

 

 

 

Nancy finished up the machine quilting on one quilt and continued hand quilting with a “big stitch” on a Quest quilt from 2013.

 

 

J.J. visited her brother in Utah last fall and discovered a BOM called Sewology from American Quilting, a quilt shop in Orem. Here is a photo of the beginning of hers along with her cat, Buckeye.  Can you guess that J.J. is from Ohio?

 

 

For Linda, it was a day of catching up with projects. Putting binding on a class sample, labels on recently finished quilts, the next block in the Moon Glow staff challenge (more on that in another blog) and continuing to hand piece 9-patches for Jack’s Chain quilt is how she spent her day. The lighting is perfect in the sunroom on a snow day!

 

 

Maria is at Bethany Beach with five quilting friends. (Aren’t we jealous!) With wonderful company and food, she is working on the appliqué part of her Jen Kingwell “Golden Days“ quilt. 

 

 

 

With two new grandsons born 3 weeks apart, Lura is hard at work on baby quilts. On the left of each quilt are possible backings.

 

 

Julia quilted a baby quilt for an Operation Homefront baby shower. 

 

 

 

 

Judy summed it up when she said, “So it’s amazing how much you can do without interruptions.”  She worked on the Moon Glow blocks and put together the blocks for a charity quilt. She also finished up the machine appliqué on a BOM border and put on the last border so it’s ready for quilting. Wow, she did accomplish a lot.

 

 

And finally, Rebecca started the day with a little hand quilting on her Facets quilt then headed to the airport to catch a flight to Nashville and the QuiltCon quilt show.  We know she made it as far as the gate and hope she got out.

Whether it is snowy like here in the DC area or warm and sunny where you are, everyone should take a “snow day” every now and then.

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Necessary Neutrals

When I gave my very first talk on color many years ago, I mentioned that I had a “secret ingredient” that seemed  to work with almost every color scheme I put together. That ingredient was brown. As the years went on I soon realized that it wasn’t just brown but any neutral. Grayed down colors…..browns, grays, khakis, dirty blues, etc. Those are the types of colors we tend to overlook when browsing a quilt shop. We tend to gravitate to the brights, pretty colors and others that grab our eyes.

Yet when planning a color scheme neutrals are one of the most important ingredients. I illustrate my point with the images shown here.

The first one above is a photograph of an Iris that was blooming in my yard one May. When we look at that we just see all the beautiful colors and don’t realize how many neutrals are there.

 

 

But look what happens when the bulk of the neutrals are removed. Something is lost.

 

 

Many years ago I designed the quilt Mayflowers for use with the colors I found in the iris. Look at these two images side by side. The first is with the neutrals included in the color scheme and the second is without the neutrals. By far my favorite is the one with the neutrals included.  The colors in the second one seem too bold and are lacking the rest that the neutrals seem to give our eyes.

 

 

So next time you’re designing a quilt or wandering through a quilt shop, don’t forget the neutrals, that secret ingredient.

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Irish Heather Grand Bundle

This week’s web special offers the last of the Irish Heather bundles. In August, I introduced the grand bundle with colors extracted from a photograph of the Irish hillside taken by Nancy Fallone. Once a month for five months we have offered nine of those fabrics as a web special. My blog of August 22nd also showed a Thousand Pyramids quilt made with all 45 of the fabrics.

 

 

 

 

I love scrappy quilts and as we wind up the Irish Heather grand bundle web specials, I want to share another of my favorite “scrappy” patterns made with a 60 degree diamond. There are more than 20 different names for this design including Baby Blocks, Tumbling Blocks and Diamond Cube. My pattern, ”Scrappy Blocks,” illustrates yet another name for this design.

Just as in Thousand Pyramids, this quilt is also made in block units. Within the unit try to get a balance of all the colors, the darks, lights and accents. Here is a sampling of possible blocks.

 

 

The pattern, Scrappy Blocks, has instructions for a crib-sized quilt, but to make the quilt larger just make more blocks until you have the width and length that you like. You would still use the same edge pieces that are used in the crib sized quilt, just more of them, depending on how many blocks you make for your quilt.

Borders Can Make a Difference

I love using border print fabrics to finish off a quilt. My border print fabrics all have both a narrow and a wide border as shown below. Sometimes there is just a solid color in the seam allowance areas and sometimes a pattern as seen in the second example.

 

Border print pictured is Miyako, 3208-004

 

Border print pictured is Bordering on Brillance, 1283-01

 

 

Typically, I add the narrow border, a “middle” border of a different fabric and then the wide border as I did in the two quilts shown above.

When making a smaller quilt, a border like the one shown above would be too wide and could overwhelm the interior design. Therefore it is necessary to try some other options. So in the next example, shown below, the Delhi border was used, but instead of using the narrow and wide stripe with a contrasting  fabric in between, I used the portion of the border shown below, which has the wide stripe, plus the seam allowance area and a portion of the edge of the narrower stripe.

 

Border print pictured is Delhi, 2448-03

 

 

 

I found this border still a little overwhelming for the small quilt, but that same border used on the larger quilt has better proportions.

 

 

I tried another variation of the Delhi border on the smaller quilt this time using the portion of the border shown here.

 

 

 

 

Here is yet another border on the Scrappy Blocks quilt.

 

Border print pictured is Casablanca, 2795-02

 

 

 

Compare all the quilts shown here and notice how the overall colors of the quilt look different depending on which color border is used.

If you have collected at least quarter yard sets of each of the Irish Heather bundles you would have plenty of fabrics to make the crib or double size quilts shown here. Three yards of border print is a safe amount for a double size quilt. Two and a quarter yards would be enough for the small one.