23 March 2023

AHIQ: talking point for March

Ah yes, books are my favourite source of inspiration for my quilts. One of my earliest loved books was "Scrap Quilts" by Judy Martin. My copy is well thumbed and has been a great resource for block patterns and scrappy quilt ideas over the years. 

- I just love this bear's paw variation, yet to make my own version!

Like many, another favourite is Roderick Kiracofe's "Unconventional& Unexpected" book. While I find improv challenging, I never fail to be surprised by these extraordinary quilts made by US quilters during the last half of the 20th century. 

"The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters" by Sherri Lynn Wood is another book I have spent many hours reading. It explores quilt making in a fun way, breaking free of the old rules, and encouraging unique improvisation. Just need to switch on my improv button & live courageously ...

And lastly, "Sunday Morning Quilts" by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. This is a book that altered how I see my "style" and gave me permission I guess, to use every last bit of my treasured stash!  My Sunday mornings got a whole lot busier once I started down this road that's for sure! 

More recently though, rather than buying, I have ordered quilting books from the library, like "Cultural Fusion Quilts" by Sujata Shah. It's "a melting pot of piecing tradition" full of bold & vibrant quilts... I think I've had this book out at least 3 times, I probably should have bought my own copy, I think! 

More & more, quilty blogs & Instagram take up some of my reading time, and I do love all the sharing,
but books are still my fav for inspiration.
And how about you, what inspires you most for quilt making?

These Books Never Go Back on the Shelf

Book inspiration
I love this 'inspiration book' prompt! After years and years of buying book after book and then watching them gather dust on the shelves, I'm much more conservative these days. Don't want to waste my money!

On my list
For the most part, project books aren't doing it for me these past several years. The 'Unconventional & Unexpected' by Roderick Kiracofe is much, much more the thing. If I'm feeling a bit dry and uninspired, then that's the book to get things sparking again! Currently I have a whole stack of fabric picked out for the largish courthouse log cabin quilt in the book. Was going to start it over the winter but then life got in the way.

Notice all the bookmarks?
So many good, quirky quilts to think about trying to interpret in a brand new way! Love the forgiveness factor especially. I've been eyeing this wheel quilt for years now too. It's so lovably imprecise that I just want to hug it.

Tried and true
Another one of my favorite books remain this 'Collector's Dictionary of Quilt Names and Patterns'. Something I bought at a quilt guild yard sale and never, ever regretted.

Always something else to think about
Don't think there are actually any directions for making the patterns in the book {or many}, but that doesn't bother me. Just looking through the pages usually inspires something! And the black and white is a bonus. Lots more room to imagine things in the colors that most appeal at the moment.

Antique inspo.
Another older book, 'Treasury of American Quilts' is one that I like to turn to when thinking about adding applique onto quilts. Such a rare, rare thing for me. ha ha! Wouldn't that folksy tree applique look spectacular up against some improv. piecing? *Swoon....  

Love 2 color quilts, but hate making them!
And while we're on the subject of applique add-ons, the Joseph D' Addetta book is hands down one of the few books I'd save in a fire. Seriously. So much fun to turn the pages and find page after page of different elements that could look amazing in many quilts. 

The Folk Art touch
In fact, I've used the pear shaped flowers on the front of this book for a quilt before! If you look in the gallery for 2019 quilts, I think you'll find it there.

Can you have too many birds on quilts?
While Pinterest generally has a lot of inspiration, there's nothing quite like opening up a book that hits all the right notes. 

P.S. I finished the #AHIQStringTulipsQAL quilt if you'd like to have a look. It's another one of those quilts that turned out just a bit different than what I expected at the start. Thanks for another great challenge! I definitely wouldn't have made this quilt without the initial prompt!


22 March 2023

Talking point for March

This is a very late post and probably more photos than I had intended but here goes. 

Books of course, of which I really have too many,  the natural world and my garden are  a source of inspiration, sometimes a light bulb moment occurs when least expected and not always from a book, memories of childhood and family play a great part in my quilt making, also my journey by sea in 1962
through Suez to NZ from the UK and the return journey one year later via Panama have resulted in quilts.

The book below by Kaffe Fassett is one of the best for colour. His home and studios plus his numerous collections of pottery, fabrics and many others are shown in detail with a little history.

Here is one of my favourites below,  the dining room full of rich, deep colour.

A recent purchase was a book by Jessica Wheelahan - Improvisational Contemporary Quilts,  a book of splendid photographs along with patterns for the different quilts, all are very colourful

this particular quilt I'm showing below is a riot of colour, a real mix!

Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston collaborated on two splendid books covering techniques,  patterns and of course going into overdrive on the colour, I love the way they both went ahead and did their own thing, not keeping to the conventional.

Truly a new take below on the traditional house block!

Next is Quilting With A Modern Slant, the title says it all, perhaps this would be available in your local library, lots of familiar names are included in this book.

I made mention of the natural world as a source of inspiration, one particular book on this subject is Bali Style. In 1993 I had two trips up to Jakarta, the first was a one week stay, the second for three weeks. My husband was working on a project from New Zealand which involved visits to Indonesia. I fell in love with the architecture of the traditional buildings, carvings, batiks and the rice fields  -  perfect for using in a quilt design. My love of green really took off when I was up there.

I hope you've enjoyed a quick peek at some of the sources of inspiration for my quilts.

01 March 2023

Talking point for March

I thought for this month's challenge/talking point I would invite you all to share a favourite source of inspiration.  I'm thinking of that sort  of a book you flick through when your brain needs a kick start.  I have a couple I often turn to,  not so much looking for something particular, but more to keep my quilting brain stimulated.  

One is the catalogue of an exhibition of Anni Albers work, held at the Tate in London in London in 2018.

Here are a couple of pages, taken at random, one of a drawing/plan for a piece and the other a textile.

If you want to see more, a google images search turned up lots of great photos of the exhibition. 

This is a good example, since it isn't a book about quilting, and her beautifully precision doesn't translate directly into the sort of quilts I make, yet looking at it always leaves me inspired and full of enthusiasm for the act of making.

The other book I tend to leave through in a similar, slightly aimless way is this one.

I am drawn, in these pages to the simplicity and beauty of traditional blocks but I also love to pore over the extraordinary quilting.  In fact, it is the one thing I would love to be able to reproduce.

Of course, inspiration is personal, so fr you it may not be a book, it might not be textile.  It might be a website or web page, it might be calligraphy or costume design or poetry or your garden.  No rules, just share what you love to look at.

25 February 2023

Out of season but only till Fall


I finished sewing my wheel quilt  It measures 51" X 45"  I used baby wale corduroy for the black sashing.  It really has a saturated texture and color - love it!    I thing I'm going to call it Vernacular after a post by Barbara Brackman.  Your can see it here.  


22 February 2023

Getting the #AHIQColorPalette Prompt Figured Out

 The first picture is where I left off with the #AHIQColorPalette at the end of December. It was at this point that I sort of fell out of love with the look of the tulips. The colors seemed to be a bit brash for my tastes. The first painting below is the original inspiration for my answer to this #AHIQColorPalette challenge. There was just something about those colors that felt really, really challenging to try and duplicate in a positive manner. I very briefly even considered trying to copy the entire painting in fabric form, but no. Been there, done that. What sounded better was to use the colors, feel and vibe in a whole new set-up.

A bit too much
Much earlier than I expected, this week I started actually wanting to revisit this project. Maybe look at it with 'new eyes'? Was it really yelling at me? Or had I just not been feeling well enough to deal with the reality that when the tulips were finished being stitched down, then design decisions would HAVE to be made. You know how it goes. All the while you're working on something, there is always the 'next step' after. Very relaxing to hand stitch, but the after doesn't ever totally leave your mind!

Trying to make everything look like it belongs together
When I started doodling with different ideas to try and start the project, I remembered a picture that my sister took at a restaurant one time--the trio of odd looking tulip paintings. Hmm... Those rigid, formal tulips looked like a fun twist on what I've been gravitating towards lately anyway. And you know how I like series work!

It was all good until I went to cut out the fabric tulips according to scale {from the loose design that I had doodled onto paper}. That's where things really started falling apart. Just from a quick audition of the prepped applique laying over the top of the background blocks, it was obvious that what looked good on paper wasn't translating well at all in reality! The color palette that I had intended to use for this quilt didn't love the silhouette form and/or the plain Jane style from those restaurant paintings. Maybe if I had made the tulips out of the dark blue? And so I was a bit stuck until one day seeing the clunky looking flowers on one of my BlueQ reusable bags. Okay.... maybe my tulips needed to be fussied up a bit after all. Don't you just love when the lightning bolt of inspiration strikes at the perfect moment?

Original inspiration
I'm still working out the details of the applique, but at present, all the blocks are {mostly}stitched down with the exception of the little one at the very far, top, right corner. None of the leaves are stitched down on any of the blocks as that was another one of my creative blocks. While actively stitching on these blocks, I just could NOT 'see' that sour green from the original inspo. painting working well with my tulips or these particular colors. When doing the auditioning, I finally just started grabbing leftover leaves from the orphan applique pieces totes and arranging them here and there. My thinking was if I somehow got the look and vibe to 'work', then I would cut the real ones out in better colors. Ha! After doing one more re-arrange to move the leaves up tighter to the flower bloom, I pinned these in place and I'm calling it good. These orphaned leaves have found their new home!

The restaurant paintings

Since the creative flow was going so well, I also took the opportunity to try and decide what to do about fabric, color and various applique motifs in the long, narrow in-between sections. Way back at the beginning I intended to sew some appliqued scallops into those areas, but I'm liking the look of these circles just fine. Am still playing with the three blocky blue spots in the quilt and also the red/white fabric fill-ins at the sides and bottom of the quilt. Will probably try and keep those areas fairly simple, though I'm loving the look of the blue and white stripe fabric. Might have to add a little strip of that here and there for good energy in the quilt.

BlueQ inspiration

Overall, the #AHIQColorPalette quilt is coming together nicely and I'm starting to enjoy the puzzle piece of getting it 'just right'. As to what I'm wanting to work on later in the year? Something unexpected, impulsive, and maybe even a touch gaudy looking? I feel the need to push the boundaries of my color palette comfort zone a tad bit more. Get really uncomfortable with what I'm seeing right in front of me and make it all come together anyway! That might mean that I will have to make some sweetly boring quilts at the same time just to survive the ups and downs of this particular creative roller coaster!

29 January 2023

Quilt News! Fascinating Hourglass Quilt Blocks and String and Sawtooth Borders are in my Near Future! And some Sashiko Hand Stitching.

Hourglass Small Quilt #2 'interviewing' borders process.
My Hourglass Block experiments in sizes.
More Hourglass Blocks in Christmas & Kaffe fabrics for another project.
Finished Hourglass #1, 27 x 27", on top of my Mostly Green Quilt Top, 60 x 60".
Hourglass Medallion #2 started, 8 x 8". 
Hourglass Medallion #2 border progress.