"green is not just a colour"

Shark Fin Block Tutorial Live!

The Shark Fin Block Tutorial is here!

So glad to have this done and ready for all your ocean loving delights. Let's celebrate these apex predators. Because, after all, who wouldn't want to sleep under a Shiver of Sharks?

Shiver of Sharks Shark Fin Block

The block is super easy - only 3 seams. Yes, two of them are slight curves. Don't let that stop you. The curves are so gentle that they sew up wonderfully. The video tutorial walks you through cutting and sewing these curves.

This is improv sewing so each block is unique. You can square them up to the same size in the end, or embrace the unique qualities of each block. I do recommend not laying them out in a straight line, however, with all the shark bodies lined up though. The effect won't be as strong. I made my quilt in columns, not rows, to manage that. By changing the colour of the background and spending time on final layout I was able to get the ombre effect you see in the finished quilt.

I promise you that these are addictive. I doubt you will be able to make only one. Although, a really big single fin would also make a cool quilt. Hmm...

They only take a few minutes to make, so you will have a healthy Shiver in no time! 

Summer Play - Improvisational Piecing With Solids

Improv Piecing Solid Fabrics Cirrus Solids Robert Kaufman

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. We sew when we can.

The Improv triangle work started as a class sample. Then I liked it so much I kept playing. Still, I play. I set some parameters for the play. This is always a good thing to do, especially if you find Improv Piecing overwhelming. These are mine:

  • Two colour blocks, high contrast in value.
  • Only solids.
  • Fundamental construction revolves around the techniques I share in my Improv Triangles class.

I've invested in some more solids because my stash is minimal in that department. These are all a combination of Cloud 9 organic Cirrus Solids (so seriously dreamy) and Kona cottons. I work only 2 colours/1 block at a time. No rhyme or reason to my choices other than I think those two fabrics look fun together. 

Kids started summer vacation over the weekend. And we were going hard with activities until that Friday night. We are all totally pooped. The sum total of the sewing I've done (minus the quarter circles that got me on a tangent) in the last month is right there on my design wall. Hand sewing my Euroa quilt while still on pool decks and soccer pitches, and little Morning Make triangle bits slowly, ever so slowly adding up. Whether it is after dinner frisbee tossing or sewing triangles together, I'm having fun with this summer playtime.


Improv Triangles with Cirrus Solids from Cloud Nine and Kona Cotton

A certain Britney Spears song is running through my head right now.

I was on a finishing quick. Trying to turn blocks in to quilt tops, basting a few quilts, and making more blocks for others. No real reason other than a desire to have things move around on the list and maybe get a finish or two. Then this happened...

You see, I was prepping for a class. Wanting to augment my existing class samples I decided to try something else. I did that one thing, shared it on Instagram, someone commented on it, that led to another idea, and I went ahead and played. So bits of that piece on the bottom left became an attempt at shark fins on the top. But I couldn't quite get the shark fins to look right so I kept trying. Frankly, then, they started to resemble orcas more than sharks. It was at that point that I got the idea for a whole pod of orcas/sharks. 

That bit on the bottom left also greatly intrigued me. I decided to pick two other high contrast solids and play some more. The blocks are made up on different sorts of improv triangles (that's what my class was on that day). I am completely in love with the interesting shapes that come from sewing the different components together. Positive and negative space at work.

So I did what any respectable quilter would do when faced with two fun ideas would do - I went shopping. My solids stash is actually quite minimal. I picked up a whole bunch of blues to add to the pod and add variation to the ocean background. Then I snagged a bunch of random coloured solids. 

These are both excellent Morning Make projects so they will certainly be in the rotation. Let's see what I can finish before the fabric arrives.

Mountain Meadows Quilt Top

This is Mountain Meadows. A loverly quilt top finally finished. I had to go in the Way, Way Back machine to figure out when I started it. My initial sketch and images were made 3 years ago. And I collected the fabric over 2 years ago to make a few blocks. Then it sat and sat and sat. We had the great fortune of a handful of mountain trips this spring and summer and the original inspiration of the mountain meadows was on my mind.


The Modern Quilt Guild

asked me to do a Webinar this quilt popped into my head. Pulling it out and working on it helped me formulate the presentation: Improv With Intention. So I worked hard to get it done in time for the Webinar. It was well worth the effort.

(It measures roughly 55'' x 75''.)

These were my original inspiration images. Hikes in the mountains on sunny days. Meadows filled with small, colourful flowers. Expanses of grass and weeds and plants in varying shades of green. Vistas so beautiful but little tiny bits of life stealing attention. Just how to capture that in a quilt?

In the Webinar I discuss the process of making the quilt - from inspiration to the final top. It isn't as straightforward as one might think. If you are a Modern Quilt Guild Member you can access the Webinar for free now, even if you didn't join me last week. To access it make sure you log in and join the Community site. Then click under Resources and there it is. Not only do you get to see more images and learn about my process, you get to hear my awesome Canadian accent.

It was actually quite appropriate that this quilt was revealed through The Modern Quilt Guild. All of the green fabric in this quilt was generously given to me by quilters, readers of this blog. I knew I wanted green solid scraps and I had absolutely no green solids. To buy them all would have been impossible. So, thanks to the internet I just asked if anyone was willing to share, and boy did you! Packages arrived for weeks and I had a lot of fun sorting through and organizing by value. Some of you sent pieces larger than 1/2 yard cuts! It was so generous and shows exactly how the spirit and kindness of quilters, not to mention the creativity, is fuelled on line. Exactly what comes to mind, for me, when I think of the Modern Quilt Guild.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. I truly appreciate it.