Rethinking Brown

My slight disdain for the colour brown began when I was a kid in art class…when mixing paints it was all to easy to mix too many colours and end up with a dirty brown colour….  and it happened to me all to frequently.

You do not have the same problem when making quilts, but I was still resistant to using brown at all.  In traditional quilting brown has long been considered a neutral colour, but Modern Quilters on the whole tend to be wary of it.

Strangely though I have quite a bit of brown in my stash…not as much as I have pink or navy blue, but more than I should have.  I have also had a few brown scraps given to me over the years and at the end of last year my brown scraps hit critical mass… there was only one thing to do…

Brown Improv quilt

Yep I made a scrappy improv quilt using my brown scraps and a touch of orange… and it was an interesting experience.

Heather Ross fabric

I forgot how many fabulous fabrics Heather Ross has done in brown… I used her seahorses, butterflies, octopus and plants in this quilt.

quilt detail

On of my other favorite designers, Lizzy House, also has done some lovely browns… with mice and cats and of course my all time fav – Pearl Bracelets.

quilt detail 2

And in between all that novelty goodness is a eclectic collection of prints including a handful of batiks.

modern brown improv quilt

It was kind of fun to challenge myself to work mainly in brown… it made me rethink the colour.    The result was I came up with a few more brown colour combinations I want to play with including…

brown and teal

A red based brown with teal….

brown yellow pink

Brown, yellow and pink…

brown and blue

And the classic brown and baby blue (not dissimilar to one of this years Pantone colours).

So you have been warned that there may be more brown appearing in this feed.  So is there a colour you have in your stash that you avoid?

Quilt Details:

Quilt block:  Modern Improv
Fabric:  Various scraps
Quilt Size:  48 x 48 inches

A slightly unusual wedding quilt in progress…

This week I have been having a blast making a wedding quilt for a darling friend… but this quilt is not you usual pretty, demur wedding quilt… it is fun and foxy all the way…

fancy fox pattern

This week I have been using Elizabeth Hartman’s fabulous Fancy Fox pattern to make foxes…lots and lots of foxes…

lizzy house fox

I have been surprised how quickly and easily these blocks come together.  After selecting my fabric and precutting everything it has been a fun process of chain piecing and cutting and chain piecing some more.

Lots of foxes

There has been a fabulous sense of achievement as I have finished up a fox and put it up on my design wall.  The hardest part (and most fun part!) was selecting the fabric.  I knew that I wanted the traditional fox colour of red…

Red fox

and then I threw in a little orange…

orange foxes

and to add tonal variety I added some apricot and pink foxes…

pink fox

The foxes I love the most are the ones with striking patterns…  it was such a fun process to audition fabrics, thinking about what sort of foxes they would make.

Gathering foxes

I have only a few more foxes to go before I have them all done.  For the background fabric I went with Hatch fabric from Time Treasures in Coal…and I love how it makes the foxes pop.

I have a few weeks to get this quilt finished so I am heading back to the sewing machine to finish up the last of the blocks.  I really seem to like working up against a deadline… but as a friend kindly reminded me the other day wedding quilts can be given after the wedding.  So how late do you think is too late for a wedding quilt?

Continuing the catch up with curves

I am still playing catch up… and today’s work in progress is another project that was on my design wall before we headed to Australia… to give you a hint it all started with this…

curve quilt top

Yep I have been making more curved blocks!  It is not my fault really…you see after cutting out this quilt (you can read about the original crazy here..) I realised I had a whole collection of pink/purple quarter circles… what is a girl to do but make more blocks out of the scraps.

So I made some Drunkard paths like this…

block component

Which became blocks like this…

bw circle block

So my design wall was looking like this…

circle wip

I played a little with proportions on this block, making the black and white background blocks larger than the background blocks of the previous quilt.  I think the solid circles hold their own well against the scrappy.

I also discovered that the smaller the circles get the harder the curved sewing becomes. This curved block is 11 inches finished, with the full circle being 8 inches in diameter.

Now of course I have a pile of black and white quarter circles, which are going to  become there own quilt… yes it is a rabbit hole of curves but I already have a cunning plan for the latest scraps… I just need the time to implement it!

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

Wee Wanders WIP Wednesday

This week I have been playing with  a selection of the Wee Wander’s fabric range by Michael Miller.  I love this fabric and have had a blast playing this week.

wee wanders fabricUsing the fabric for inspiration I pulled supporting fabric from my stash and ended up with this lovely bundle.

fabric pullAs soon as I bought the Wee Wanders, I knew what block I wanted to use – the Rolling Stone Block which dates back to the late 19th century…

wee wanders block 3I found this block, and great instructions on the Dont’ Call me Betsy site. I went with the traditional block layout but no matter what layout you use, it is an easy block that is made up of three units.

1.  A single fabric square… perfect for highlighting the wonderful fussy cut horses …

2.  A block made up of a rectangle of your chosen neutral (for me it was Kona Snow) and a rectangle of your coloured fabric.  This was a great opportunity for me to chain piece, something I do not often get to do…

chain piecing3.  A square in square block, that is paper pieced, but can be done traditionally as well.  For my blocks I removed the paper from this unit before I sewed the block together (a first for me, but it worked perfectly).

square in square blocksThese units are then laid out to make a finished 12 1/2 inch block.  I must admit for my block I enlarged the block slightly to room for the horse blocks.  My unfinished block is 14 1/2 inches square.

Wee wanders block layoutThis week the weather here in Portland has been gloriously hot and I have not got as much of this quilt done as I would have liked.  I have three blocks completed…

wee wanders block 2and…

wee wanders block 1and as the design wall shows, a number in process.

Design wallI am determined today not to be distracted by the sun…or the cat… of the World Cup.  AUGH!

A smattering of quilt blocks…

I can not believe that June is nearly over…. this year is slipping away way to fast.  It was with a small amount of panic that I realised this week that I was running out of time to finish up some of my Bee blocks, so armed with a pile of fabric, my iPad and a caffeine enriched beverage I set to work.

First up was the June blocks for my Do.good.Stitches bee…

curved blockThe block is a great log cabin variation…there is a great instructional video and pdf pattern for this block at www.qnntv.com.  Though one block does not look that exciting, put four of them together and you get a fabulous orb pattern…

Hope circle orb blocksWhile we are on the subject of Do.good.Stitches Bee blocks, here is May’s blocks which were a blast to make…

scrap cross quilt blocksI have not done a cross block before and loved how easy it was to do.  I got a little carried away with this block and made a few extra.  I used Rachel from Wooden Spoons easy dimensions to make the block…plus lots of starch!

The final lot of Bee blocks I got done this week is a repeat of a block I did last year….

Scrapbeelicious block 2Yep the mini flying geese crazy is back.  This month it was Stephanie from Quarter Incher’s turn to be Queen of our ScrapBeeLicous Bee, and she choose the Liesl Made’s Flying Geese Block.  Yipee….

Scrapbeelicious block 1So I retooled my paper piecing pattern and set to work raiding my scrap stash.  I actually think the only way to make this kind of quilt is to do it as part of a Bee (and to paper piece ti!).  There is no way you want to be making more than a few of these blocks… okay there is no way I could make more than a few of these blocks and remain sane!

As it is Wednesday there is only one thing left to do….link up with Lee at 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….