When your old life intersects with your new…

When the Modern Quilt Guilds of the Pacific Northwest were recently invited to submit quilts for a Quilt Show in August I was a little apprehensive.  The guild lines were that the quilts could use black, white and the shades of grey in between and as you can tell from my quilts I love colour.  We were allowed, if we wanted, to add one colour in one place but that was it.

I pondered this challenge for a month or so and then one day, as I was talking to an old friend it hit me what I could do.  You see in my previous life I was in film and a key essential tool in the camera kit was always a grey card.  This card was used to white balance and focus the camera (back in the old days before digital took over!).  A grey card would make the perfect quilt for this project….

So I found an image similar to the cards I used to use…

greyDid some crazy quilts maths… not something I usually do and not something that comes easily to me…

quilt mathsPulled some greys from my stash…

grey stashAnd went to work.  The end result was this…

WQ grey card quiltI am thrilled with how it turned out.  I was really impressed with the depth of my grey stash, which allowed me to do some fun colour graduation….

graduating greysI cheated a bit and used some black and white stripes for the focus bars… I was not going to be able to get that kind of sharp precision with piecing… (but it is driving me crazy that photos in this post seem out of focus unless you click on the image to enlarge it….@%*$#^! WordPress….AUGH!!!!!

grey card detailI also managed to get my favorite prints, Mirror Ball and Pearl Bracelets into the mix.  Now all I have to do is work out how I want to quilt it.  I was thinking of echoing the circle on the card in the quilting but that is as far as I have gotten so far.  I do know that I am going to add one tiny splash of colour in the binding.

I am really thrilled with this mini quilt (it is 36″ long by 28″ wide)… not because it is amazing or beautiful or revolutionary.  I love it because it has such meaning for me.  As I stepped out of my film career I stepped into quilting… and this quilt represents that life change for me.

New York Beauties

A couple of weeks ago, at one of our Guild Sew Days I got an amazing burst of creative energy.  It all started with the fabulous Bill Volkening and his amazing collection of vintage New York Beauty quilts.  Bill is a quilt collector extraordinaire and a collection of his 1970’s quilt hung at QuiltCon last week.

Anyway Bill was showing some of us the roughs for a new book he has done which highlights his amazing collection of New York Beauty quilts from the 1850’s through to modern.  I had never seen such an awe inspiring collection of quilts and I was immediately drawn to the wonderful patterns that were used to make them.  If you are interested in seeing what I am talking about Bill has a fun slide show of 30 of his New York beauties up on line HERE.

Having just conquered my fear of curved piecing I thought I had to give this block a go, just to see if I could do it.  The second part of the inspiration came about 20 minutes later when a friend from PMQG gave me the most amazing gift… a tin of Mirror Ball fat quarters.  It seems Tracey had bought the tin years ago, before I had discovered the magic of Mirror Ball and not used it…she had seen my love of Mirror Ball first hand at the PMQG retreat (I may have drooled over her fabric) and decided to gift me her tin of magic.  I was at first speechless and a little teary.  It was such a generous gift and I do LOVE Mirror Ball.  Anyway a long story short while I was petting my new fabric I stumbled across this colour scheme…

Mirror ball fabric…and my new project/obsession was born.  So this week I have been making New York Beauty blocks…

New York Beauty 1…lots of New York Beauty blocks.,..

New York Beauty 3I found some paper piecing patterns for blocks in my EQ7 program and I have been playing…

New York Beauty 2There has been lots of unpicking and learning but I am having fun.  I am not sure what final layout will be but for now I am just enjoying the fun of making these blocks. Each one is different…each one is unique…each one has sparkle in it.

I am linking up with Lee and Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

The beauty of the Altantic Sea

This week I have been working hard to get my Atlantic Sea Quilt top done.  This quilt started life many months ago as this block…

grey white blockAfter making of few of these blocks I put them together to see what the pattern would look like and found that there was a beautiful meta pattern (as the hubby would say) which was giving the quilt a real sense of movement.

grey white quilt wipThe pattern I am using is a free paper piecing pattern from Quilters Cache.  You can find a link to the pattern under my “free paper piecing pattern” tab or on the original post.

Fast forward a month or four and I have made lots and lots of blocks.  This week I pinned what I had made up on the design wall and Instragramed the results.

modern scrap quiltI liked how it was coming together but I thought it needed a little something.  I could go with a coloured binding but I did not think that it would be enough… so this week I whipped up this block.

paper pieced quilt blockAnd then added it to the quilt work in progress….

Atlantic Sea wipAll of a sudden the quilt came alive.  I love this little splash… I think it helps the eye identify  the  pattern easier and makes the top sing…

quilt top detail 2Now I just have to sew the last couple of rows together, remove all the paper from the back and the top will be done.  I am so excited by this piece of scrap magic. I had a blast raiding my scrap bin for this baby!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday….


An interesting Colour Play challenge

First up a little bit of background before I show you what I am playing with this week….  Last week I gave a presentation on Playing with Color in quilting to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  I talked a little about color theory and a lot about the colour schemes that quilters can borrow from the art based theory, as well as ones we have come up with on our own (like Low Volume).   During the presentation I also talked about ‘neutrals’, those fun, versatile colours that play nice with nearly every colour they meet.  It was during this part of the presentation that this weeks challenge presented itself…

So I was talking about the standard neutrals – white, cream, grey, brown and of course navy blue, which is my favorite neutral…though it is not really an official neutral.  I rambled on about how navy is my response to my personal aversion to black as a neutral.  I find black harsh and though it gives great contrast, I do not tend to use it unless I absolutely have to and always opt for navy or dark grey instead.   I will, on occasion, condescend to use black and white prints but never straight black.

As I was making these statements I realised that I should not be making such a harsh judgement on black without at least giving it a go.

So I choose a pattern and went to work…

hunter star patternI went with the traditional Hunters Star block and used the paper piecing pattern by Quilters Cache.  It seemed like the perfect pattern to make use of the high contrast of my colour choices.

hunter star block piecesThe block pieces join together to make these wonderful stars… and we all know how I feel about stars!   When you add a number of blocks together you get to see the bigger pattern which is stunning.

hunter star wipI have to admit I am thrilled with how this “experiment” turned out.  I think because I am using scraps and different blacks, the colour is not quite as harsh as a solid black, and the blue just seems to pop off the quilt.

So going forward I am not saying I will be abandoning navy blue any time soon but I may give black more than a fleeting glance next time I am pulling fabric.  So is this aversion to black just me or do others share my feelings?  Have you used it in any of your quilts?

As it is Wednesday I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday




Colour Play – Grey

The last week or so I have been playing with a different kind of colour combination…one that really has not got a lot of “colour” in it.  My inspiration was a very old photo that hangs on our living room wall…

family photo(Please note..I can neither confirm or deny that I am in this photo).

Anyway I have always loved black and white photographs, which really are more grey and white than black and white, and thought why not play with greys in a quilt.  The end result was this block…

grey white blockI used another fabulous free paper piecing pattern from Quilters Cache called Atlantic Sea.   The block pieces look rather strange and a pattern is not immediately obvious.

block piecesBut when you put more and more of the blocks together you get this wild, slightly mesmerizing pattern.

grey white quilt wipI think as this quilts grows more and more patterns and shapes will become visible.  It is really a little trippy but cool.