Inspired Designs

The internet is such an amazing resource for finding not only quilting tutorials, but also inspiration.  From Pinterest to Instagram to the multitude of blogs, the ideas are endless.  Last week, I was accepted into the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers group being hosted by Quilting Jetgirl, Late Night Quilter, Meadow Mist Designs and Childlike Fascination.

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

See who joined in on the fun!

 Already I have already connected with an amazingly talented group of quilters from around the globe.  The goal of the group is to improve the technical aspects of our blogs and increase our social connections; however. I look forward to learning from everyone and improving my quilting skills as well.

While many of the projects on my “To Do” list have been inspired by other quilters, there are also a few projects that have come from everyday inspiration.One of the interesting things about living in Costa Rica are the fences people have around their homes and the bars they have on their windows.  I know this sounds like miniature prisons fill the city, yet riding around in the passenger seat all I see are potential quilt designs.

Bubbles in Granada, Nicaragua

Bubbles in Granada, Nicaragua

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to capture a (blurry) photo on my phone, sometimes I sketch out blocks while waiting in line at the immigration office or the bank.

House Fence in Heredia, Costa Rica

House Fence in Heredia, Costa Rica

To me, the country is filled with inspiration. Or maybe it’s just my one-track, quilting obsessed mind.

Window Bars in San Jose, Costa Rica

Window Bars in San Jose, Costa Rica

One of my other hobbies that also feeds itself into my quilt inspirations, photography.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the website design-seeds as a source of color palette inspiration.

Design-Seeds Fresh Brights

Design-Seeds Fresh Brights

A few months back I discovered an app on the Sherwin-Williams website that allows you to upload your own personal photos and break out the composite colors.  While design-seeds is a great site, I enjoy the personalization offered of the Let’s Chip It! app by Sherwin-Williams

It’s fun to upload your own photos and see the color breakdowns the app generates.

Sarchi Ox Cart Wheel

Costa Rican Sarchi Ox Cart Wheel

New Mexico Wild Poppy

New Mexico Wild Poppy

Costa Rican Land Crab

Costa Rican Land Crab

Being part of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers has  energized me to finish up my WIP’s and start making real progress on my “To Do” list, incorporating the everyday inspiration that surrounds me.

Start looking for the inspiration surrounding your life!

**Disclaimer: This post does NOT contain any affiliate links.  All words and opinions are my own.**

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#TBT: Farm Fresh Frenzy

Progress has again been slow on my “What the Hex” quilt. I am happy report that I have finally begun quilting the borders; which means I am getting to close to the finish!

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Since I have not posted in awhile, I thought another #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post would be nice.

From what I’ve seen on other blogger’s sites, my fabric stash is pretty small. Most of my initial stash was leftover cottons that came from my mother.  One of the first fabric purchases I made myself was of the Farm Fresh by October Afternoon for Riley Blake Designs.

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I found these three fat quarter packs of Farm Fresh at my local Tuesday Morning (honestly one of my favorite places to browse for discounted fat quarter packs).

I have since made two baby quilts with the Farm Fresh collection and will soon be starting a third with the scrap remnants I have.

The first quilt I made (and one of my favorites) was for the niece of my friend Lisa, named Olivia.

I used EQ7 to create the pattern and layout, inspired by a baby quilt one of my other friends had made.

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The backing was pieced together using the remaining scraps and pale yellow from the front.

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Applique is still not my strong suit nor my favorite thing to do; however I decided that Olivia’s name was needed on the quilt back.

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The allover floral quilting was done with a multicolor cotton thread on the medium-arm machine and frame at my job.

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The second quilt I made from Farm Fresh was for my niece, Emma.  Again I used EQ7 to design the front (which incidentally ended up being the back).

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Originally the front, but became the back

For the back, which ended up being the front, I decided to use HST to make a herringbone pattern with 1″ strips between.  The quilting on this baby blanket also used the same multicolor cotton thread.

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Originally the back, but became the front

 

Since I completed this in Costa Rica, the quilting was done on the domestic machine using a walking foot.  I do enjoy how the thread colors pop against the off-white triangles.

Again, I decided to applique the baby’s name, this time using an off-white lace I had in my stash.

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The last Farm Fresh baby blanket in queue is for a boy, Maximilano. While I have an idea in my head for this quilt nothing is set until the seams are sewn and pressed.

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#TBT: Star Quilt

Quilting on my “What the Hex” quilt has been slow going. It’s very time consuming and almost overwhelming to quilt the intricate designs for a twin size quilt with only a walking foot on a domestic machine. While I am excited of what has been accomplished and that I am nearing the final stages, I’ve also become a bit impatient with how slowly progress is made. Still I ” just keep quilting”.

I thought it would be fun to do a “Throwback Thursday” post and show one of my projects that was completed before creating this blog. It’s a nice reflection for myself as it’s easier to see how my quilting designs have evolved over the years.

I have been technically quilting for over 10 years, yet the number of projects I have finished is embarrassingly low. Being a mostly self-taught quilter, learning the tips, tricks & techniques have come from avidly reading quilting blogs, Craftsy classes, and advice from my few quilting friends.

Like many quilters, I started quilting with learning to assemble the traditional “Log Cabin” block.  This was great for learning how to chain piece and allowed freedom in layout choices by not needing a set design at the onset of the project.

This “Star Quilt” is actually the second quilt top I ever assembled, but I did not get around to the quilting part until many years later. I had an Eleanore Burns “Quilt in a Day” book to guide me and played around with the layout many times.  Why I settled on this layout, I cannot remember and if I had it to do over again I would definitely change it.

Top pieced and ready to quilt

Top pieced, borders attached, ready to quilt

 

It was intended to be a quilt for my X-Long twin bed in the dorms at the University of Arizona; however it was not finished until 2013 (almost 5 years after I graduated). It kind of reminds me of a Lisa Frank inspired quilt, the colors of which were determined by the star fabric I stole from my mother.

Inspiration fabric

Inspiration fabric

 

This was one of the first quilts I did any “free” motion quilting on on a “medium” arm machine. I say “free” because I followed a set swirl pattern and the “medium” arm machine was a PFAFF set on a large frame that was available at my workplace.  It was a learning experience in speed, getting comfortable with the motions and making sure to always put the presser foot down (I can’t tell you how many times I had to tear out a section of stitching because of this).

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Contrasting with the colorful front is a plain blue backing. Not quite navy, not quite royal, but somewhere in between.

Simple blue backing

Simple blue backing

 

The binding was pieced and then cheater sewn with a zig-zag stitch. I just wanted it done and since this was for personal use, it did not matter to me that the stitching would show. Plus I think with all the crazy colors in the top and the variegated thread, it worked just fine.

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch

 

The binding was finished on a trip to my parent’s ranch in New Mexico and that is now where the Star Quilt lives. It’s nice to have something so bright and colorful in such a muted landscape.

Quilted and bound

10 years in the making, quilted and bound.

 

Looking back, I am pleased with how quickly the top came together and still love the versatility afforded by the Log Cabin block. Perhaps one of my future projects will incorporate it again, but with the more modern twist.