Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting Creative with Quilt Patterns

You may not think you're a designer, or even very creative--and I'm betting you're wrong about that!  Quilters always put their own spin on the quilts they make, whether it's switching out colors or fabrics or tweaking a pattern a bit.

Monday is Design day at the Spinster, though I admit that I've been a little behind on that.   A lot of prep is on my agenda for the day but I wanted to still do a little bit of creative thinking on DD.  I've had some ideas for tweaking the "Cornered" pattern and I think it will be a decent example of how some simple changes in an existing pattern can make it creatively your own.

When I first designed Cornered, I pictured it as a quilt of solids, mostly in the pastel ranges.  I still like the idea, actually, and one fine day I'm going to make it.

When I saw Moda's "Calypso" collection, though, I fell in love with it.  (It was a cold, gloomy day, which didn't hurt; I needed some cheer.)  The pattern uses 10" squares and 2-1/2" strips so I
came home from Cut Up and Quilt with both.

I put together a block.  My left eyeball started to twitch.  Back to the drawing board.

I thought about using a solid to set off the print fabric, without competing with it.  But, to use the print strips (not enough of that gorgeous fabric), or the 10" squares. (But why waste those colorful strips?)  In short, I still wanted to use both the squares and the strips--the fabric was so wonderful.

The solution was to swap out solids and prints, with half the blocks having a solid background and print strips, and the other half having print background and solid strips.   The most obvious option was to alternate the types of blocks, and that might still be a reasonable design but I decided on more of a medallion effect.

I like the way the strips in the center weave in and out, don't you?  This was the pattern sample.

Because I like the way the strips weave in and out on the solid background, and because I have a couple bins full of scrap/leftover 2-1/2" strips in my stash, I thought it might be interesting to do a scrap version.  I made 4 blocks today, and that's not enough to see the weaving effect.  I'm not sure yet how I feel about it, but I'll keep moving along with it, and see where it takes me with more scraps.

I'm using muslin as the background, but you could certainly use neutral scraps.  At least, *I* could use scraps, coming out of the bins of neutral scraps.  :-)

How would you adapt the pattern for yourself?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Always Retreat! (Quilt retreat, that is)

I'm back to the blog; sorry for the sabbatical.  Family priorities were center stage for awhile, and now I'm getting back to updating the blog and website.

This weekend I'm retreating with friends, catching up on some projects.  We're at Stitchin' Tree Quilts and we're finding it a pretty ideal space.  Teresa has done a great job with all the details, and it's helping me to know what to look for in a retreat center--or to plan for in the quilting/fiber art studio and center I want to set up.  Some day.  :-)

 The story behind Jeanette standing by the sign isn't as interesting as it might be; she's just waiting to flag down a fellow quilter who hasn't been here before.  All he truck drivers waved, though.

The kitchen is fully equipped, so we don't have to bring paper towels or pans or crock pots--any of those things that fill up the car.  That means we can load more fabric and projects.  (Because, of course, we never bring more than enough projects, anyway, right?)

We have plenty of elbow room to work, with more tables, if we want them.  There are "big board" ironing boards.   There's a big (BIG) design wall.  They updated the electricity in the converted farm house so there are enough outlets.  We have a Wi Fi connection, (Yes, we're still all pretty much connected, if we want to be.)

Of course, the beds in the bedrooms all have quilts on them, so we feel right at home.

The retreat center is attached to the quilt shop because, though we load up the car with fabric and projects and notions and books and patterns, we never have everything we need.  You know what I mean.   Our friend Karen just went shopping for more batiks (no big hardship for her, it must be said) because she miscut something.  She definitely seemed more upset about making the mistake than having to shop for more batiks.

Next time I'll post photos of what we're working on; I'm in the midst of some pretty talented quilters, and I think you'd like to see what they're making.

So, I'm gathering ideas (while thoroughly enjoying what she's done here--I'm grateful for the wonderful space) for the future.  What is/would be your favorite things for a retreat center?  What do you most like about the places YOU retreat?