This quilt has been sitting completely finished for at least a year. Here is it's story. Once upon a time when the whole 'tribal' trend was in its early stages, I had a flash idea of a quilt design.
As an aside, I call it a 'flash idea' when I suddenly have a mental picture of the finished quilt design. When this happens, I could (but only sometimes actually do) sit down and draw the whole thing out immediately before it fades. This 'flash idea' type is different than the other type of idea I tend to have more often, which is more of a fuzzy concept, like 'how about if I made a striped gray and white quilt with 2.5" squares?'.
So back to this quilt. I had the flash idea, and I actually drew it out. It looked identical to the quilt above, only I had envisioned pink along the side instead of periwinkle.
The idea originated because I had been looking at the Delectable Mountain quilt block in an old book and had thought it would make a great quilt design that would shamelessly fit in with the Aztec trend;) I immediately thought it might be THE quilt design that I'd manage to make into a PDF pattern to sell.
So I started trying out blocks and puzzling away. My first problem was that the original block I was trying to make, in which you make a huge half square triangle and then cut it into four strips and rearrange it, ends up making a rectangular shape. This is because you cut this half square triangle into four strips and then when you sew it back together you lose a few inches in seam allowance.
So why the big deal? Well, this 'squashed' new rectangular block completely messed with my original look, which absolutely needed this shape to be taller. So my only solution was to overcompensate and make the half square triangle into a half square rectangle. This is automatically a lot trickier, especially to explain clearly and simply in a pattern. I worked on this for ages and made so many blocks!
In the end I did get a completed rough draft of the pattern. I even got my mom to pattern test it for me, and I made another version, the scrappy one below. (I had a picture of the one my mom made, but I can't find it, grrrr.)
I wrote it up in three sizes. Because the whole impact of the design would be lost by adding or subtracting blocks to make smaller and larger sizes, I increased and decreased the size of each block so that the different quilt sizes would all look the same.
Then I kind of got stuck because somehow I wasn't quite happy with my method of explaining. I find this to be a really hard aspect of writing a tutorial or pattern. I think maybe I expect a bit much of myself (at least when I really analyze others' patterns) but I try so hard to make everything perfectly clear and in the end it all feels like a muddled mess to me! Not to mention that I know zilch about graphic design...
So I put it on the shelf for awhile.... and now there's so many similar quilt patterns available, and I've second guessed it to pieces...and have officially sworn off of ever trying to write another pattern.
So this all sounds very Woe Is Me! But truly it's not, although I do cringe when I think of all the time I spent on some of these patterns. I realized that I simply don't have the skills in this area, and although selling pdf patterns seems like a great way to make some money, it's just not for me! I'm really happy with this realization and for now I'll just keep making quilts and selling them for enough to make my hourly wage. It's what I'm happiest doing anyway!
Here are the first two blocks for my Sampler Quilt. The pattern booklet starts with the largest block at one end and progresses down to all the little 6" blocks at the other end. I decided to start at both ends and work inwards. That way I can alternate making large and small blocks. This keeps it interesting as well as allowing me to use up my small fabric pieces on those little blocks while I'm going.
That top block is really big! It's 36" square, big enough for a baby quilt! The second one is a 6" block, so cute and small!
If you read quilting blogs much, you will likely have seen traces of this 'Around the World Blog Hop'. If you're tagged, you write a blog post answering the questions and then tag three more bloggers. I don't generally participate, simply because these blog hops remind me just a bit of those chain letters of my childhood days. Those terrible chain letters which I dreaded receiving! They always gave me sweaty palms and a nagging feeling. Like I felt responsible to give 6 sheets of stickers to the girl who gave me the letter, but never passed the letter on to 6 more people and still felt slightly guilty for that! I remember when I found out by reading somewhere that chain letters were discouraged and possibly even illegal?... ok I don't know if they were/are illegal, but anyways, I felt such a weight lifted off of me. Like all those chains that I bombed out on were erased from my list of former sins!
Well, that was straying from the topic, but really this blog hop is quite different from a chain letter and when I read the questions and answers on other blogs, I felt like it was a fun hop to join! First of all, I'd like to mention the sweet girl who nominated me. Annie of anniemacoriginal is a Canadian girl living in Italy, and making quilts of course! I love this voile quilt she made for her bed, isn't it luxurious?!
So on to the questions!
1. What are you working on right now?
I'm too lazy to take photos of all my in progress piles... If you read my blog regularly you may have caught on that I've got myself a sweet little 6 week old baby. This means that I walk a small radius between rocking chair, crib, and kitchen,. It stands to reason that if my sewing machine was somehow placed within this radius, I'd escape any feelings of claustrophobia by cutting a strip here or sewing a seam there. So my sewing machine has been moved to the dining room table, a long stairway and walk away from all my fabric and design wall, as well as all my other projects in process.
So a new location would mean I should start a whole new set of projects, right?! I know, I don't like the mental clutter either... but I can't help it!
So I'm sewing myself a dress out of this fabric , because my other clothes don't fit !
I finished up a simple little baby quilt which you can glimpse in the top photo.
Just finished the quilt top for this bundle, and am trying to decide on backing and binding fabric. Do I try to calm it down with a neutral or solid? Or amp up the crazy with a purple print?
Bought a jelly roll of Up Parasol and am currently sewing half of it into a little girl quilt and falling so in love with this fabric line.
There's more, but I think we'll stop with that!
2. How does your work differ from others of it's genre?
This is really hard to answer, and judging from other blogger's responses, I think a lot of quilters would find this one tough. First of all, what is my genre? Other folks looking on could sooner answer this for me than myself. I sometimes feel that I don't have a 'voice', but rather bounce around, depending what I'm influenced by at the moment.
Below is a simple description of the quilts I love best. (whether my own or others work)
Fairly simple in design, with a vintage feel and a touch of light hearted whimsy. Quilts I'm drawn to are utilitarian in nature. Sometimes they are minimal in design, and sometimes packed with color and shape. Either way, they don't take themselves too seriously.
3. Why do I create what I do?
Because my sanity depends on making pretty things. And I happened to work at a quilt shop when I was young. I love fabric, and have lots of it, and it needs to be put to use. And quilts are awesome.
4. How does your creative process work?
Honestly, this question makes me tired just reading it! And by the way, the photo above could be labeled, "How My Creative Process Does NOT Work"!
Really I am quite haphazard. I think my best work happens when I have a mental inspiration or 'snapshot' of a quilt I want to make. I use this idea to guide my decisions as I create, albeit very loosely. Many of these ideas float in my head for weeks and I don't draw them out, which means they eventually fade. We hope it's the best ones that stick around though, and eventually are realized in a completed quilt!
Unfortunately I can go through months where this inspiration can be a little dry. Then I tend to gravitate to making quilts from patterns, or from precuts, which is NOT a bad thing, just not so exciting or rewarding. (I'm in this kind of stage right now actually.)
And that's all folks! Thanks for reading, or skimming or whatever! I rather enjoyed blathering on about myself for awhile.
Since my adult self realizes that I have no obligation to continue the 'tagging' process, I will be true to form and not nominate any one in particular. I DO love reading your response to these questions though, so if you'd like to answer them on your own blog, please do so and send me a link because I want to read it. Or if you don't have a blog, you could email me your answers anyway! I never get too much 'quilt talk'.
I finished this quilt top in spring and is one of the three that I had long arm quilted. Don't you just love the quilting pattern she helped me choose? I like how it gives a nice modern contrast to this soft and sweet quilt.
The quilt top is made from a fat quarter bundle of Summerlove by Art Gallery Fabrics. It's a rare day that I buy a fat quarter bundle of a collection. This was one of those that I loved for a long time before deciding that it was one of those special ones that I still liked after months of seeing newer collections.
The colors in this collection just speak of a summer day at the beach, so maybe that's why this prairie girl found it so attractive. Anyways, I finally purchased a bundle of the whole collection and let it marinate on my shelf for awhile.
Eventually I used part of it to make this simple plus quilt. I didn't use a pattern, but if you'd like to make a similar design with a pattern, here's one called Cascade Quilt.
If you like this fabric collection, I purchased it at Moona Fabrics and it's still available. Link here and here. (Each of these listings is just half the collection so you'd need to purchase both colorways.) You may also notice that the quilt top included a cream colored text print which is not part of this collection. It just worked it's way in to the quilt somehow:)
I also ordered a yard of my favorite print to add to the back. I like the back on this one almost as much as the front!