Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Quilt Fabrics or Quilt Pattern; What Inspires You More? Part 1 of a 2 part Series

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Is it a quilt pattern that we come across, and say, "I've gotta make that quilt." 

Or do we come across fabrics, that we imagine in a future quilt?

For me, it's both. 

I spend a lot of time looking at fabrics online. Prior to the online fabric boom, I would visit my local fabric store once a month. It went out of business in 2008, and I miss it so much. There aren't any "nice-sized,"fabric stores with lots of beautiful bolts of fabric near where I live anymore. 

When we travel, I always check to see if there are brick and mortar stores to visit and shop at in a new city. 

Quilting is a very tactile process. Not being able to feel the fabric is an element of the process I really miss. The other missing element is taking the bolts of fabric out and lining them up next to each other, or on top of each other to audition what works together and what doesn't. Many of the web sites for online shops have a board the user can copy and paste their choices onto for the audition process. It's okay, and I use them. But for me, it's still not the same as seeing those bolts of fabric in good light, in person

Let me get back to fabric inspiration. Often I will find fabrics, some traditional, some modern, where it is "love at first sight." And, I know I will use those fabrics in a project very soon, or down the road. Here are some photos of these.

None of these were purchased together. This was my thinking process when I bought each.

1. Text fabric, and green fabric with yellow buds - They were "love at first sight" choices. The text fabric was something I was looking for as I began to collect modern fabrics. 

The colors in the green fabric with the yellow buds was so colorful, and the scale of the buds were not overwhelming. I knew I could use either of these as a focal fabric or a blender. But in this arrangement of fabrics, I would use them as focal fabrics.

2. Cherry fabric with green leaves and yellow background - Because I am currently working on a 1930's reproduction quilt, I purchased that fabric because I knew it would work in well with the fat quarters I originally purchased for this project. And I have leftover to go with this group. Also the color and scale of this fabric are just right for this grouping.

3. Yellow-orange fabric with modern green, white and yellow designs in it. I have to admit, this was a "love at first sight" choice too. And I bought it in a few different colors. It's a great blender with these fabrics.

4. Gray - Green fabric - Another, "love at first sight" fabric. Why? The simplicity of the lines and the two colors together in this fabric create a neutral that works so well as a blender.

5. Yellow fabric with green and red twig designs - Yes, this could be considered a holiday or winter fabric; or not. Because of the simplicity and scale of the small, repetitive designs against the yellow, it is a good blender that adds some extra interest in this fabric combination. The spacing between the twigs in this fabric design, in contrast to the other prints in this group is spacious, and has more negative space in it than the others, providing it with strong contrast.

As I mentioned, I've been working on a king size quilt that uses 1930's reproduction fabrics. What I am going to use for the fabric on the back has been on my mind a lot. Originally, I played around with the idea of using the extra squares I made in a modern design for it. But then, I found this....

And the word PERFECT, came to mind immediately. Modern text design, with mostly food related words,and a timeless font.  Yup, "love at first sight!!"

In Part 2 of this series, I'm going to focus on those "Gotta make it," patterns that have come my way and have probably come your way too.

In the meantime, please comment on your thoughts about what inspires you more, fabric, pattern or both, and tell me why.  Kind of interesting to think about those choices.

Have a great weekend, and happy quilting!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today's post is not my usual kind of post, because today is not just any day.  I want to dedicate this post to my mom, Dorothy. I lost my mom to renal failure right before Christmas, this past year. I don't want to get into the hard and sad "stuff."  My mom would not like that. She would have wanted me to share how I got through it, and what I learned.

To make a long story short, that is how this blog came about. I needed a distraction from worrying that included a new challenge. I wasn't sure I would bring this blog live until the end of August. Although my mom had no idea what a blog was, before she lost consciousness in the fall, I shared it with her on my phone. She got the biggest kick out of it. 

My mom valued life-long education. It was one of her core values, and she attended adult school until a few years ago. I continue to look for new learning challenges everyday.  It really does keep a person excited about life and helps keep confidence strong.

Dorothy - this is dedicated to you. I love you and miss you everyday.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Creativity and Inspiration; You Never Know Where it Will Come From

Wow, I can't believe it's already August. This past month really flew by. As many of you know, I was taking a very intense and compressed photography class, (just during July) at Westchester Community College. 

I began this class knowing nothing more than point and shoot. I finished knowing how to use manual and automatic settings. There were about 1000 other things about composition which I am now thinking about, that overlaps with quilt design, use of negative space, how other elements in the foreground, middle ground and background can support or distract from a focal element. 

And lighting. That came a bit easier to me than I thought it would. Believe me, there are still many mechanical and technical skills I am practicing and have to improve upon.

I have a big, new whoosh of inspiration that has flooded me. I work with fabrics, threads and patterns inside closed environments. I look outside now, and suddenly see so much I hadn't before. Lots can be translated into color schemes and pattern designs. Others just make me feel happy and energized. What a great gift that is.

This journey was an outstanding learning experience, and I find myself thinking differently, because I am looking at things differently. For part of my final project I photographed two quilts which I have posted before, but photographed differently.

Again, Thank you so much Lynn for letting me use your fence and porch for photographing.

On another note, while surfing the internet, I came across an incredibly inspirational website that covers many areas of design, some of which is great for quilters, those who sew home dec., and those who sew clothes and bags. I am excited to share this with you.

This blog main tabs are What's Trending, in DIY, Spaces, Places, Products, Before and After, Entertaining, Columns, (interesting viewpoints from industry leaders and influencers), Video's, and Biz Ladies.

Below these tabs are a short list of articles, some of which I am finding new inspirations. For example, this "What's Trending" article;
I think a lot of us are always wondering, "What's around the corner regarding new fabrics and designs?" I loved looking at these new post modern designs.

Out came my sketchbook and I then I launched Threadbias......

Have a great week and Happy Quilting!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Will Be Back Up For Air and Blogging After Wednesday

I am not lost, or relaxing at the pool or beach. I promise. Wednesday my final project is due for my digital photography class. And I am feverishly working. 

Photos are almost finished. The assignment was to take two photographs of five emotions; Surprise, Happiness, Disgust, Fear, Sadness.  Because I took this class to up my skills when photographing for my quilt blog, I gave myself my own extra credit and added - two photos of quilts in a setting. So I am translating that into an emotion. I am calling it, warmth or comfort. I could have used them for happiness, but I felt that was too easy, and gave myself a challenge outside of quilt world.

I will definitely share the quilt photos after Wednesday. They are quilts I have already posted and shown on this blog. I really was going for the practice of styling a shoot, so I decided to use quilts that I am familiar with.

End of my break. See you at the end of the week.

Happy Quilting!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quilt Inspirations

I feel as though I've been a bit out of touch with my blog and my quilting. I had no idea that this five week photography class, and the homework would be so time-consuming. Class is twice a week, four hours a day, with mega homework, and of course, practicing my new skills, so my photos will be more blogworthy. That is the reason I took this class in the first place.

On an amazingly, positive note, I have been challenged on many new levels, and feel energized. I'm surprised at how much crossover there is between quilting and photography, especially when it comes to vocabulary, composition, color and value considerations, and use of negative space, which is so much apart of modern quilting and more.

After these few tough years of orthopedic surgeries, and losing my mom six months ago, I am finally smiling and laughing again. I still miss my mom a lot, but I know how much she believed in education for life, and is happy that my journey is taking this turn. And, I know it would make her very happy, that I am coming out of the other side of grief in a healthy way.

Class ends on July 30, and I will be happy and sad. I need to get back to blogging, quilting, sewing, thinking about design and more. I will not photo and share the state of our home. (Too embarrassing). The dining room table is covered with paperwork. The computer is on one side, and on the other there is the sewing machine, cutting mat, quilt blocks in ziplock bags in various states of progress. I think this verbal picture is enough for the blog.

I am going to miss how much fun I am having, my classmates who are great critquers and an outstanding professor. This is the first class I've taken besides quilting, that has been worth it and so much fun.

I'm going to share a photo of one of my assignments; arranged composition using the quilt I'm almost finished hand quilting,with some notions. 

I've learned a lot about inspiration during this journey. And, I'm excited to write about that.

Happy Quilting, and I hope everyone is enjoy their summer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Congratulations to Lawana Whaley!!

You are the lucky winner of a free gift certificate to Amanda Murphy's new Craftsy Class; 20 Fresh Applique Techiniques. Please e-mail your e-mail address to so we can send you the link.

Enjoy your class!!

Have a great weekend, and Happy Quilting!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Interview with Amanda Murphy

I am really excited to share this interview I had with Amanda Murphy. 

About six months ago I reviewed her book Color Essentials. Amanda is also the author of Modern Holiday: Deck the Halls with 18 Sewing Projects Quilts, Stockings, Decorations & More.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself and your sewing and quilting career.

1.    Tell us about your family, kiddos, husband, pets.
I live with my husband and two kids in North Carolina. 

2.    I read that you started quilting at an early age.
Well, I started sewing at an early age, but I didnt start quilting until    after my kids were born - about a dozen years ago.

3.   Tell us the story of how did you get started? Did someone influence you?  What was the tween Amanda like?
As a child my two favorite subjects were art and math, so I guess the fact that I like quilting and fabric design is no big surprise!  I also always loved history - decorative arts museum are my favorite.

4.   Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college, and did your major in fine arts help you with your quilting career ?
I grew up in Virginia and attended college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA.  I was actually an industrial design major but ended up working in print multimedia.  That experience has definitely helped me in terms of being able to keep up a website, put design patterns, etc.

5.   What inspired you to write Modern Holiday and Color Essentials? Are there any other books on the horizon?
Modern Holiday was inspired in part by all those gorgeous holiday fabrics that are now available!  I wanted to do a holiday book that was very graphic in nature - bold and fun.   

    Color Essentials is reflective of the work I did with color in college and also the incredible range of colors in the Kona cotton line. It walks the line between art and quilting for me. (And there are more projects on the horizon, but I cant talk about them yet.)

6.   Tell us about your relationship with Craftsy. How did it begin?
Craftsy originally recruited me at Market to teach classes in machine embroidery.  Now I also teach an appliqué class!

7.  Tell us about your classes with Craftsy, in particular your newest one.
I have two classes in the machine embroidery category - Elegant     Machine Embroidered Bags and Elegant Machine Embroidered Quilts.  It is so fun to pick threads to match quilting fabrics to make something really unique.
My 20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques is just that!  I teach your a variety of techniques that will really make your machine appliqué sing!  


Some are traditional and some are more unusual.  We make 4 small projects - all with a modern flair.  And we learn to embellish with thread and stitches beautifully!


8.   Are appliqué and embroidery your favorite sewing and surface techniques and what draws you to them?
They are some of my favorite techniques - yes.  I tend to love whatever I am working on at the moment!  Im fortunate to work in such a creative industry.

 9. Please show and tell us about your favorite project to date? 
My favorite project to date is my most recent quilt, Flower Power!  It uses a lot of the stitches and techniques I teach in my Craftsy class.  (A coordinating pillow is part of the class.)

10. How did you begin your business Amanda Murphy Design, and how did you grow it?

    I began by sending some design ideas to fabric companies and then started designing patterns. The books, the classes, and my relationship with BERNINA followed.

Modern Lace Fabric - Cool Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy                              

Modern Lace Fabric - Warm Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy

11.What do you see as emerging trends in fabric and quilting in the next 1-2 years?
I see a merging of the modern and traditional movements.  The modern aesthetic is definitely having an influence in the traditional quilting world and the techniques familiar to traditional quilters are seeping into the modern movement.  Also, the embracing of technology by the quilting community is bound to continue and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Thank you so much for spending this time with us.

Thanks for having me.

Amanda has generously offered a give-a-way; a free link to her recent Craftsy class - 20 Fresh Applique Techniques.  In order to enter, please leave a comment in my comment box telling us what your favorite pattern line is
using this link;

I will announce the winner on this blog on Friday, July 18 in the morning, EST. Please be sure to leave me your e-mail address so we can get in touch with the winner. Good luck!!

On Another note, Plum & June's New Quilter's Blog Hop is containing. I participated and posted on June 3rd. There are many more great quilt bloggers to meet, so please click on the Plum & June Button on my sidebar.