Tangential Creativity

Indian Cotton Drunkard Path Quilt

One of the best things about having a large list of Quilts Under Construction (currently at over 40, but I don't know the exact number today) is that I can never get bored. The other great thing a large list affords me is the luxury to not give a hoot about having a large list. So if I want to start something new, I will. And I will never feel bad about that.

Being open to inspiration and being inspired to act is one of the key reasons I quilt in the first place. Because I want to create, I want to explore, I want to try new things.  And with quilting I can do that with pretty much zero danger (compared to rock climbing), a minimal investment (compared to travel), and no ick factor (compared to trying some exotic foods). The idea hits and I can run with it and the only thing it impacts is my stash.

Last week a friend in the neighbourhood popped by with a beautiful gift. A stack of unique kimono fabrics direct from Japan. Her mom, a new quilter, was visiting from Japan. One morning they came over and I shared my quilts with her. We talked (via my friend, translating) inspiration, style, fabric, what we knew of the Japanese quilting community, and making in general. It was lovely visit and I wished her well as she left, a bag of scraps and some books for her to carry home for new inspiration. I told her to come by next time she visited Canada and we would stitch together. The beautiful fabric was a wonderful, and unnecessary gift. It sits on a shelf, where I pet it and smile - for now.

Indian cotton fabrics

But, the colours reminded of another stack of gifted fabric. This one given to me by my mother in law over 5 years ago after a trip to India. I had to look up just how long ago she gave me these treats! Thank goodness for having a 10 year old blog.

Back in 2012 I think I made 4 blocks with the fabric. Just to play. Those blocks, and the fabric, sat in a bin with all my other materials for teaching Circles. A few times a year I dusted them off and never thought of them again. That kimono fabric got me thinking, my hands got twitchy, and a few days later I already have 50 quarter circle blocks sewn. With enough background fabric for maybe 40 more.

Oh no, I have too many quilts on the go I couldn't possibly start another one. I'll have to park this idea and put the fabric back in the bin until I finish a few more quilts.

Yeah, that's not me! I relish the opportunity to see the tangent and take off down the path it opens up. I realize that not everyone is this way or that even reading about this might cause twitching in someone else. I knew that if I didn't embrace the idea right then and there I might never go back. And if it wasn't for that kimono fabric I might never have thought about these Indian cottons. If, if, if. I don't want to live a life of what ifs, I want to see what happens when I respond with Okay, now what? 

Who knows how long the kimono fabric will sit and be admired, or tucked away for safekeeping. I could try something next week or it might be 5 more years. I'm good either way.  One day it will make it to the Quilts Under Construction list. 

Instructions - Tag plus The Maker's Panel Quilt Kit

Instructions Quilt Tag Fabric Makers Panel

Can you believe that when I designed the Maker's Panel as part of the Tag fabric collection this quilt did not occur to me? A bed quilt with the words "Make Every Single Day" right on them. How did that not occur to me? So, of course, when it did I HAD to make up a bed quilt for it. 

My sketchbook was filled with pages of ideas until I settled on this one. I wanted the panel and its instructions to be the centrepiece, obviously, but it needed to be framed just right. In addition to the panel there are only 3 other fabrics in the quilt top. Almost a record for me! And that yellow! I love a yellow quilt.

Makers Panel Tag Fabric Bed Quilt

Now you can get a complete kit for this quilt from Connecting Threads. All the panel and fabric you need (minus backing) plus the pattern. It is a quick and easy quilt, I promise. If you love the pattern but maybe want to change up the yellow you can still get the Makers Panel and the Tag fabric from Connecting Threads, pattern purchased separately

Perfect for the child moving in to their first big kid bed or the almost adult moving into their dorm room. Not only is it a perfect reminder for each of us to make the most of every day, but the perfect reminder to make your bed every day. 

Twin Quilt Bed Quilt Pattern

I promise I won't complain either if you decide to replace the Maker's Panel with your own block or panel too. I love to see creativity when it comes to my designs. Go ahead, make it your own

Shout out to my friend Kourtney with Agnes in August for lending me her home and wickedly adorable daughter for the photo shoot. 

Pride Quilt - Compelled to Make

Pride Quilt Quilts for Pulse

Two weeks ago I got it in my head that I simply had to finish this quilt top. I couldn't put my finger on why I was so fixated on getting it done Right. Now. I eventually assumed it was because June is Pride month in many cities (but not mine). And I have been calling this my Pride Quilt. The rainbow portion was started a year ago. It was my way of processing the Pulse shooting in Orlando. What I didn't fully realize that today is the anniversary of that horrific attack. No wonder the quilt was front of mind.

So the top is done, the back is actually nearly done, and the quilting plan fixed and determined in my brain. If all goes well I hope to be at the long arm in a week or two so I can finish it up. 

This is what I call a Statement Quilt. You may say it is political, and I am okay with that. I welcome that. I call it a Statement because it is a quilt that has something to say. Sure it is pretty and I hope it snuggles many in its lifetime. It will hold secrets and have stories to tell. But right now, as I am making it, it has something to say.

Love is Love is Love is Love. Period. And I will support, defend, and celebrate the right of all to that exact sentiment. I will mourn when people are attacked for simply being themselves. I will talk to my kids about sex and love and companionship and respect. I will embrace every single member of my family, and yours. I will not tolerate hate in my life or yours.

Yes, a quilt really can say all that. It isn't the only way I communicate.  But, as a quilter and writer and a human I can choose how I make my public statements. This is merely one of them. 


Pride Quilt Quilts for Pulse




Euroa Quilt - An Adventure in English Paper Piecing

Euroa Quilt English Paper Piecing Original

Behold the exciting beginnings of my first English Paper Pieced Quilt! Inspired by a tile floor I saw last year in Australia. It is a running joke among quilters that we take pictures of tiles because they are so inspiring. But I've never actually made a quilt that literal in its interpretation. I am now though.

Because I finished the Park Quilt I felt totally justified in starting this one. Despite my over 40 quilts under construction I've found that I can't have more than 2-3 in the hand work stage. It simply takes up too much time and head space to be fighting among handwork projects. But with my big applique project done I could move on to this one.

Euroa Tile Inspiration for Quilt
Maze and Vale dropcloth

While the inspiration for the pattern itself came from the tile floor, the colour scheme was lifted from another Australian influence. We visited Leslie Keating from Maze and Vale while in Melbourne. Our screen printing lesson was incredible, and her fabrics are dreamy. What I truly loved (aside from the light in her studio and her lovely presence) was the drop cloth on her work table. Periodically she has to switch it out. The old one then gets sold as bits of fabric or dropcloth art. This was the piece I got from her in the sale. Originally I thought I would stitch it up as a whole cloth piece, but once I started down this quilt's path it became integral to the entire thing. It dictated the colours and I am cutting it up, bit by bit, to be included in the quilt.

To start the quilt I drew out the single block pattern in Illustrator. Knowing that I don't work small (when it comes to the size of quilts) I wanted to be able to ensure consistency of the pattern and to make multiples in one go. I am doing English Paper Piecing with my templates, so I print out 4 little blocks at a time on a sheet of cardstock. I could have easily done this with foundation paper piecing on my machine. The pattern works either way. 

Scraps for the Euroa Quilt

The next step was actually picking the fabric. Into the stash I dove! I picked out light and medium greys, a few teals and mints, the two mustard fabrics I had, some light pinks, and various creamy low volume prints. I decided to skip the black and whites, preferring to focus on grey. After I made the first couple of blocks I decided it needed more depth in fabric choices so I did a little bit of shopping. Some more mustards and more white/grey prints. The block results in some interesting secondary patterns. Playing with value or colour can drastically change the way this looks. I decided, however, to keep with the original influence and go completely scrappy.

I have a feeling this messy stack will be sitting on my cutting table for the next year or so.

My plan/goal is to make this quilt 80'' x 80''. I just don't like small quilts. Each mini block is 4'' x 4''. That means I will need 400 of them! I make them 4 at a time. Then make 4 of those and sew them together, calling those a mega block. So I will need 400 mini blocks, or 100 blocks, or 25 mega blocks. Whew. It's scary when you write it out that way. One block at a time. Like any journey that starts with the first step.

English paper Piecing Prep for Euroa Quilt

From start to finish for one block is probably about 2 hours of work. That includes the printing, cutting of the template, picking fabric and prepping blocks, thread basting, then sewing it all together. So far I have never just sat and done that start to finish. This is my one the go/summer sitting/TV watching project so it gets done is spurts and with interruptions. That's the point of a hand sewing project like this after all. 

I am pretty much brand new to English Paper Piecing and jumped in with my own pattern. It suits me just fine. I've poked my fingers and am developing callouses. I am still searching for my favourite needle (small enough but strong enough not to bend). And so far I haven't removed any papers. I'm kind of nervous about that step for some reason. It's fine for now, I have plenty of paper and there is no rush. 

This isn't the first quilt made from this inspiration. Lori made this incredible version after I posted the tile floor while on my trip last year. I posted the photo then went out of wifi range for a few hours. When I logged back in she'd already posted a block she'd made! Her finished mini quilt is awesome! Since I started the project I've had numerous requests for the pattern so I am prepping that to go live in the next couple of weeks. Watch for it. In the meantime, slow down and sew. 

UPDATE: The Euroa Templates are now available.