Tag Archives: quilts

Colour Theory – Part One


I don’t know about you but when I started quilting, I had very little confidence about my colour choices in quilting.  Kind of surprising since I have loved fashion all my life.  My favourite colour is turquoise and I gravitate towards it every time when looking at fabric.

Initially, I asked quilt shop staff to help me pick things out or I would rely on a prepackaged set of fat quarters. What I have learned over time is that there are no rules about combining colours but there are guidelines.  What has more impact is the value of the fabric, which will be the subject of another blog post in the future.

Over time, I began to develop my own sense of colour, sometimes relying on a focus fabric to help me, or instinct, and other times using a very helpful tool called the Colour Wheel.

This is what it looks like and you can find it on many sites online.

These are the 12 pure colours, of which there are 3 primary, 3 secondary and 6 tertiary.

The 3 primary colours – blue, red and yellow – are the basis for all other colours.  They are equidistant on the colour wheel.

The 3 secondary colours – green, orange & violet – are created when equal amounts of the primary colours are mixed together.  Blue + yellow = green;  yellow + red = orange; and blue + red = violet.

That leaves us with the 6 tertiary colours – yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet and blue-green.  Their names come from the colours that sit on each side of them on the colour wheel.

If you add black to any of these colours, they get darker and are Shades of the original colour.

If you add grey to any colour, it becomes less intense and is called a Tone.

If white is added to a colour, it becomes lighter and is a Tint.

Shades, Tones and Tints will be the subject of a future post but the next one will be about Colour Dominance.

Be not afraid of colour.


Up From Here…..to there


Remember the original Up From Here block?  24 and a half inches square?  and I had 2 of them and just enough fabric left to fool around a bit with?

Here’s the original block:


Here’s what I did with it:


I think that will be it, though.  No borders – I think that would detract from the design.

Process Notes:

  • it was pretty easy to fool around with this block design – the measurements were already there for me and all I had to do was figure out how to apply them using the fabric I had left
  • I only had to pick out 3 small seams…
  • I love this fabric line! –  Paris & Company – glad I have about a fat quarter left of each fabric so I can make another project with them – or maybe I will piece them together somehow for the backing

If you like the block, here’s the link to the PDF file again:


Machine Sashiko – Can This Piece be Saved?



         The art that is Sashiko is incredibly beautiful and traditionally done by hand.

This Japanese kimono at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is from the Meiji period (1868–1912).  It is Indigo-dyed plain-weave cotton, quilted and embroidered with white cotton thread.  Stunning!

I prefer to work by machine and decided to follow a pattern (Crane 1) from the book Sensational Sashiko by Sharon Pederson.  I chose non- traditional colours for a fresh look and basically I like the piece but there is a small problem.  Can you see it?  It is glaring to me.



Can you see it now?  LOL

I washed the piece which I don’t usually do with my art pieces and there it is:  right smack on the beak – some residue from the PERMANENT red marker I used for the freezer paper applique process.

I just don’t know what to do with it.  Any suggestions?

P.S.  The bleach pen (starts with a T) did not work. 😦

Modern Log Cabins – the process


I enrolled in the Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 Class (great class and free too!) and the May block was a Modern Log Cabin – one of many versions out there.  Here’s my block and some comments on the process I followed to get there.


Things I did do:

  • fussy cut the centre
  • looked for colours that I felt matched
  • squared up the block between frames
  • pressed each seam
  • used scissors & a rotary cutter
  • used old style prints AND modern solids
  • pieced everything by machine
  • had a focal point (the deer)
  • used a non-traditional colour palette
  • changed the format of the original block into a frame, instead of an L (per the Craftsy pattern)

Things I did not do:

  • use pins
  • use high contrast (not strictly light paired with dark)
  • centre the fussy cut centre block
  • worry about 1/4 ” seams
  • worry about the width of the strips
  • worry about perfection
  • are we seeing a pattern here about not worrying….LOL

This is not the only way you could modernize the log cabin block.  I followed the directions in the Craftsy class (http://www.craftsy.com/).  It was very improvisational and some people might not like that aspect but I did.  It made me  a little more free with my own design choices and stepping outside your comfortable box is always a good thing, in my mind.

Modern Log Cabins – first, some history…


Most quilters are familiar with the traditional log cabin block – it is the most recognized block and its origins are often associated with the American Pioneers.  However similar designs have been found on ancient mummies and in English quilts predating 1830.


Strips of fabric were hand pieced around a central square, usually with one half dark strips and one half light.

A red centre symbolized the hearth of the home; yellow, a welcoming light in the window; and a black centre in a quilt hanging on a clothesline is believed to have meant a stop for the Underground Railroad.

How has this block become “Modern”?

see my next post: Modern Log Cabins – the process.

Etoile de Provence


Why is it …that sometimes when you just throw something together, it turns out better than something that you plan and plan???

That’s what happened today with this little quilt:  I just picked up some scraps of fabric I didn’t really like and,  as an experiment, made this Giant Star Block.

I just loved how it turned out – reminds me of France.

giant star block

Bubble Tea Anyone?


I decided to work some circles into a simple patchwork layout this weekend, just to challenge myself.  It really didn’t appeal to me.

The fabric choices came easily:  I picked out some fabric with polka dots and pieced them all together.  The lime green, yellow and coral seemed made for each other!

One big circle in embroidery stitches, a few little coral circles and some free motion work to highlight the circles: voila!

First choice for a name was Bubblicious but my little sis suggested Bubble Tea and I love the Bubble Tea so..

sweet shades of lime and coral

I’m officially an artist, people…


I’m sew excited! I sold my first art quilt today on Ebay so I’m officially a starving artist!  I recommend that you put in your orders/commissions now before my prices skyrocket!

here is the piece I sold:

completed July 2012


I don’t do “random”…


I’m following a blog called Christa Quilts – and she’s doing a quilt-along right now – so in an effort to use up some of my fabric, I joined it. (BTW according to my poll, I am a perfectly normal quilter, not a hoarder – so there!)

Here’s what I had to do this morning: take 40 pieces of fabric, cut them in half and match them up in pairs. So for the mathematically challenged, that’s matching up 80 pieces of fabric.

I placed half of them on my ironing board and table and tried to do it randomly:  my fingers kept putting pairs together… and my brain kept saying “oh no, that doesn’t go”, forcing my fingers to move them around until they matched.

Then I sewed the strips together, pressed them & cut them into blocks and finally lay them out in neat orderly piles of coloured blocks – much happier camper now!

strips matched up and ready to be sewn

nice orderly piles of coloured blocks

And according to one poll I did recently, 86% of my readers prefer to work in a logical orderly fashion, so I am not alone 🙂