Category Archives: Inspiration

Archicoop! Quilt Top

Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander is the first line of fabric where I needed every.single.piece.  So wasn’t I a lucky duck to get a 1/2 yard bundle of the entire line for Christmas?! (Thanks, hubs!)


The colors shout “Spring!” and ever since I saw Rossie’s Pebble Quilt, I’ve been hankering to make an egg blanket.

The pattern on this fabric is so geometric and linear, could it work for this design?  I needed to do a Photoshop mock-up!  (Check out this STUPID EASY tutorial for how to make something like this – I was shocked at the ease!)


I looked good to me, so I went ahead and started making my egg blocks using Rossie’s Applique tutorial.  If you’ve seen the Famous Porthole Quilt by Lucie Summers I think this is the method!


I verged from Rossie’s tutorial in a couple of places.  For one, I didn’t trim the seam allowances before flipping the facing to the back.  I found that the facing would flip easier if I had more fabric to convince it to go with the flow.  And instead of top-stitching the layers together, I opted to pull out my fabric glue stick and do the Six Minute Circle method.    Just a couple dabs of water-soluble glue on the flipped fabric and stick it to your egg.  Then you sew along the same line from when you sewed your flipping fabric into place.  Essentially, you are sewing the seam allowance from the foreground piece to the egg background piece.  Go slow.  You can do it.


No top-stitching! No hand-sewing!

After I sewed my facing to the egg fabric, I clipped the seam allowances.


Pretty quilt top!  Ready for backing and batting and basting and quilting and binding.


Filed under Fabric, Inspiration, Techniques, Tutorial

Modern Art Lessons – Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau


As Impressionism and Post-Impressionism guided painters towards more abstract shapes and away from the glorification of the past, another movement was well underway.  The Arts and Crafts movement is dated from the 1860s – 1910.   As galleries and exhibitions continued to value the ornate and ostentatious, artisans started looking for ways to increase the beauty of a home with simple, purposeful, and well-crafted items.   Here materials mattered, and function mattered, and ornaments were secondary or viewed as unnecessary.   There was a reliance on bold colors and vivid patterns that were exciting without being over-decorated.

Library table, 1904William Lightfoot Price

Library table, 1904
William Lightfoot Price

The handicraft gained appreciation as a reaction against the over-mechanized, industrialized tones of the time.  One person creating one good from start to finish was rare in a world where factory lines assembled endless bits of products.

During this movement, we see a trend occurring in the world of painting during 1890 – 1905 that has been classified as “Art Nouveau.”  In these paintings we see artists using organic, flowing lines based on what they saw in nature, but creating this style with bold lines and shapes.

See the works of: Gustav Klimt

Rossie NouveauSee more of Rossie’s quilt here…

Jenna Nouveau

Look at these paintings and see how they are filled with modern quilting patterns.  With the wabi-sabi crosses, squares and triangles, certainly we can link our quilting movement to this era in history.

After learning more about the Arts and Crafts movement, I had greater appreciation for this quote from the Modern Quilt Guild:

“Modern quilts and quilters… make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts”

Indeed, our projects are not overly ornate.  Whereas many art-quilts may employ beading, wires, and glue as decoration, the Modern Quilt is meant to be comforting.  Even if hung on a wall as decoration, these blankets are made to warm a space (literally and figuratively).  There is a respect given to the “homey” nature of the quilt, rather than an undervaluing.  And certainly any quilter can appreciate the valuing of the individually created versus mass produced.   The admiration of the individual is especially evident in the world of modern quilting, as improvisational piecing and free-form design means more blankets are made without patterns and can therefore never be precisely recreated.


Filed under Inspiration

Modern Art Lessons – Post-Impressionism


The Post-Impressionists emerged in the 1880s and lasted primarily throughout the 1910s.  Can rebels rebel from the rebels?  Of course!  They do all the time and such was the case with the Post-Impressionists.

"Moulin Rouge: La Goulue" - 1891Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

“Moulin Rouge: La Goulue” – 1891
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Post-Impressionists reacted against the “en plein air” naturalism of Impressionism, and wanted to explore the use of abstract form and pattern – relying less on nature and more on the personal experiences of the self.   A style emerged from this unofficial group of painters showcasing more saturated, simple colors and more abstract forms.

The popularity of the camera was a participating factor in the push towards abstract art.  In 1900 Kodak created the Brownie, an affordable box camera that could be easily operated. Now many people could own a camera and quickly create accurate portraits with a snapshot, but a painter had the infinity of imagination to represent personal emotions.

See the works of: Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh

Paul Cezanne - Study of Trees, 1904

Paul Cézanne – Study of Trees, 1904

Looking at this painting, I definitely see a Modern Quilt.   The colors are more isolated from each other, there is space to breathe in the composition, and in a sense it appears to be just a glimpse of what we can imagine is a never-ending vision.   This painting goes beyond the canvas borders.

Is there a sense within the Modern Quilting community that, when looking at the precision of traditional quilts, there‘s a bit of “I can’t do that” or maybe “I could, but I don’t want to!”  That’s what comes to mind when I think of the inundation of portrait photography versus abstract art.  Maybe there’s a part of “I can’t compete, so why play” that leads to abandoning elaborately pieced, meticulously joined traditional quilts in favor or pursuing the loose nature of improvisational piecing, or large-scale piecing.  Moreover, I believe there’s a grander sense of “that’s been done – let’s try something new!”

Key Sources:,,


Filed under Inspiration

Modern Art Lessons – Impressionism

In today’s Lessons in Modern Art for the Modern Quilter, we’ll look at those who could be called the founders of the Modern Art movement, the Impressionists!


For context, here’s what most prestigious paintings looked like pre-Impressionism.  These are representations of Classicism, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism:

Molière - Nicolas Mignard (1658)

Molière – Nicolas Mignard (1658)

"Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris" - Angelica Kauffmann - 1790

“Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris” – Angelica Kauffmann – 1790

Eugène Delacroix, Death of Sardanapalus, 1827,

Eugène Delacroix, Death of Sardanapalus, 1827,

From the 1870s – 1890s there was a longing to break from the traditions imposed by academic artists.  The academics valued meticulous details and thought works must looked polished without any visibility of brushstrokes.

The Impressionists sought a new way to paint that would better reflect the “now,” rather than idolize historical moments, figures, or religious icons.  This was a time after great social upheaval (especially in France) and there was an emphasis on the new, modern way of life.

Impressionists looked to capture a moment on their paintings – the brush strokes were hurried and remained visible in the final product.  The traditionalists at the time thought their worked looked unfinished and were insulted. Another drastic change was the color pallet used by the Impressionists – light, airy colors were valued above the dark rich tones of traditional artists.

These new painters embracing this radical style found it very difficult to be accepted by art galleries.  Rejected by the prestigious art houses of the time, the Impressionists had to find their own ways to exhibit their work.

See the works of: Monet, Manet, Degas

Monet - "Westminster Bridge" - 1871

Monet – “Westminster Bridge” – 1871

Look at the use of “negative” light-colored space in this painting by Claude Monet, and the unbalanced composition of the docks.  The imprecision with how he depicted the boats in the water – there is a freedom from accuracy in favor of emotion.

Can we, as Modern Quilters, relate to this desire to step-away from traditional notions of quilting techniques and the traditional quilt composition?  When I think of traditional quilts, I see the meticulous piecing, and this is juxtaposed to the loose compositions of modern quilts.  The nature of repeated block patterned quilts can create a dark, rich tone to a traditional quilt whereas the use of sashing and negative space in modern quilts creates a lighter pallet.  And what can be said about reaching out to the blogosphere in order to find a community willing to embrace the experimentation of modern quilting?  Although traditional quilt guilds may not have “rejected” members for embracing a Modern style, there is comfort in finding a group of like-minded artists rather than remaining an outlier – for many of us this meant turning to the Internet and forming our own Modern Quilt Guilds.

Key Sources: and


Filed under Inspiration

Mary Blair Tree Quilt

I’ve been eyeing this tree from my sons’ “I Can Fly” book for a while!  It’s an illustration by Mary Blair.


So I decided to make an applique quilt based on this image!  I used my inside-out applique method (might have a Craftsy video class for this in the works – stay tuned) so it has the look of needle-turn.   I could have cut out the extra layers under the appliques to have a flatter appearance to the quilt top – but I love the quasi-Trapunto effect!



Woodgrain quilting inspired by Angela Walters.  (Great book!)


Cute leaves.


Happy curved free motion rainbow type quilting.

The colors for the illustration were so captivating.  Red, True Yellow, White, and Bright Pink… should those work together so happily?   At first I chickened out from using such a bright Pepto Pink, and I originally bought Kona Melon.  But that didn’t work – even though I thought the more orangey pink would be visually pleasing it.was.not.  So back to the store, and hello Kona Bubblegum!  I love it.  It’s bright and fabulous and enticing and confusing.

Look at this backing fabric – pretty perfect.


This little lady is entered into QuiltCon for the applique category.  Wish her luck!


Filed under Fabric, Inspiration, Quilting

Cloud Quilt

I’ve been doodling clouds for a while now, dreaming of quilt designs.  Finally, after reading Cloud Atlas, I grabbed all of my blues, whites, and greys, and started sewing!

I was very inspired by these images…

Cloud Song quilt from Little Bits Quilting Bee

I opted for going with my gut and pieced the blanket in an improvisational manner.  Once I had my twelve clouds, I added a border (with a little flashy detail).

I backed the quilt with this fabric, which is such a sweet match.

And then I started quilting!  Inside the clouds I added little white-threaded quilting clouds.

In the blue I just went with a meandering breeze.

I’m entering this quilt in the QuiltCon Improvisation category.  Wish me luck!



Filed under Inspiration, Quilting

Round Robin

I’ve never done a quilting bee before, so I’m very excited that the Ann Arbor Modern Quilting Guild has decided to start a Round Robin!

Photo courtesy of Rossie –

I made the block on the left and included some more of the Silent Cinema (grey pattern) and the Kona Snow fabrics.  Rossie added some modern touches, much to my delight! I’m hoping it’ll end up having the look of a modern medallion quilt, rather than a sampler, but I know it’ll be great no matter what.

My block was inspired by this quilt.

This is the block I got in the first round:

Isn’t the center swirl lovely?  Kourtney made that out of 1.5″ finished squares!  So precise and beautiful movement.  I just added the green border and the next border of white with pink corners.  I wanted to frame the swirl and then give the next person some negative space as a clean slate ready for her additions.

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Filed under A2MQG, Challenges, Fabric, Inspiration, Quilting

Annie’s Tiles

I’m so excited to show you all my latest queen-sized quilt.  It’s called “Annie’s Tiles.”

Read on for the whole story behind this blanket…

Continue reading


Filed under Fabric, Inspiration, Quilting

Sugar Mountain – A Modern Mini Challenge Quilt

Here is my entry for the Modern Mini Challenge hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts!

I call it “Sugar Mountain” after the Neil Young song (my 3-year old’s favorite).

The color units are pieced together to make a single mountain-range unit, which was then hand appliqued to a white background.  The bottom white strip was machine pieced.

I quilted clouds in the sky and rolling fog for the bottom of the mountains.  I added a little echo hand-quilting to the mountains in clear thread.

It measures 30″ x 9″.

This was such a fun challenge – I saw the logo for WAMU (which hosts the Diane Rehm show) and was instantly inspired.  I drafted this pattern and am so pleased with the results.

What a great skill-builder to combine machine piecing and hand applique, as well as machine and hand quilting!

This quilt uses almost the entire line of Moda Crossweaves, Kona Snow, Kona Curry, and Free Spirit Gold.


Filed under Challenges, Inspiration, Quilting

Tangerine Tango

The color of the year is Tangerine Tango, according to Pantone.

In celebration of inspiration, there’s a Tangerine Tango Quilt Competition gearing up on flickr.  I really love participating in quilt challenges, and I’m intrigued by this bright orange shade, so I’ve decided to participate!  Wish me luck.

For now I can tell you the quilt will be called “Patti Page”…


Filed under Challenges, Fabric, Inspiration, Quilting