Tuesday, October 28, 2014


jill here….On our way to Houston…

Recently, Iowa State University hosted Tibetan Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery where they created the art form "Mandalas".  I had never seen or heard of this so it was an adventure in a beautiful product with a very interesting and intricate process.  Patience is the key!

There are several official steps in creating this art form.  An opening ceremony followed by the "drawing of the lines" starts the 4 day process.

Once the lines are drawn, the colored grains of sand are distributed with the tube tools shown on the left side of the photograph.  Each grain of sand is tapped out with a minute vibration into a colorful design.  The lines are carefully defined, working from the center out.  As you can see, the monks have to maintain this bending position, rotating and resting with the group.  They did rest at night, thank goodness.

These are the tools of their art.

Aren't the colors just beautiful?

A friend shared this photo of the completed Mandala.

Once the Mandala was completed, there was a closing ceremony and dispersal of the sand.  The final product, although short lived, illustrates that these designs don't last forever and we need to appreciate them in their brief time.  

Until next Tuesday….

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simple Baby Quilt top completed

Marny here…the Simple Baby Quilt top is complete!  
To follow how it was made, click on the label "Simple Baby Quilt" in the label column and all the posts will appear. 
(10/7/14, 10/14/14, 10/21/14 with a bit of relevant information on 9/9/14)
The strip set segments stacked with giraffe background on either side.

Testing how the column of segments would look like with a "spacer" of color before the giraffe background begins.  Seems like a good idea.

1 ½'' x 48 ½'' strips of dark pink added.

Giraffe background added.
Left side strip is 8 ½'' x 48 ½'' and the right side strip is 20 ½" x 48 ½''.
I cut these length of fabric to avoid piecing.
The 8 ½'' background strip +  20 ½'' center column + 20 ½''  background strip = 48 ½'' (when sewn together)
This makes the Simple Baby Quilt a 48 ½'' x 48 ½'' square.  
To Review
Ingredients for the Simple Baby Quilt from Modern Quilt Relish
4 fat quartersCut a 6 ½'', 3 ½'', 2 ½'' and a 1 ½'' strip from each. They can be cut either along the 21'' length or the 18'' width. HERE are the directions for the strip sets.

Vertical spacer fabric (dark pink here): use 4 ½'' so ⅙ yard or ¼ yard. Cut 3 strips 1 ½'' x wof. Piece into 2 spacer strips 1 ½" x 48 ½".

Nondirectional background: 1 ⅞ yard.  2 strips 6 ½'' x wof and cut them at the fold for strip sets. (You'll actually use a total of this 13'' + 48 ½", start with 1 ⅞ yards so you have plenty for length of fabric cuts described.) Cut an 8 ½" x 48 ½" length of fabric strip and a 20 ½" x 48 ½" length of fabric strip.  
The term nondirectional means that the print works when seen from any direction and therefore can easily be used in strip sets and background pieces without regard for orientation.
Perfect for a baby or toddler in your life!

Till Tuesday!!! Quilt Festival here we come!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Simple Baby Quilt continued

Marny here…the Simple Baby Quilt is well underway now. (Worded another way, the quilt top is still not completed.)
On a positive note, the blocks and the arrangement have been decided upon since last week's post!

Strip Set Ingredients for the Simple Baby Quilt from Modern Quilt Relish

4 fat quartersCut a 6 ½'', 3 ½'', 2 ½'' and a 1 ½'' strip from each. They can be cut either along the 21'' length or the 18'' width. 

Nondirectional background:  2 strips 6 ½'' x wof and cut them at the fold for strip sets. (You'll actually use a total of this 13'' + 48'', so start with 1 ⅞ yards.) The term nondirectional means that the print works when seen from any direction and therefore can easily be used in strip sets and background pieces without regard for orientation.)

Sew a 6 ½'' strip of background to the color strips in this order; 6 ½'' to the 1 ½'' to the 2 ½'' to the 3 ½''. Following the picture is easier than following the words! Refer to the Table Runner Tutorial and the
Simple Baby Quilt Challenges post for more instruction.

Cut two 6 ½'' wide strips from each strip set. It is helpful to align the horizontal lines on the ruler along seam lines to keep cuts square.

Alternating the 6 ½'' strips from the strip sets with the background to the left and then to the right.
Creating blocks from placing strip sets in pairs

Pairs rearranged to have the yellows more centralized. My eye liked this better.
Till Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Simple baby quilt challenges…

Marny here…choosing fabric is fun. And you think I would have known better than to make such a classic mistake. Let me share my tale. 
Remember the 1 hue 4 fat quarter table runner tutorial from a couple of weeks ago? Jill hinted it could make a nice quilt with background added.  Next thing I know I want to use the idea behind the table runner to make a simple visual statement in a toddler or baby quilt.    

Here are the fabrics I chose Day 1. An adorable giraffe print for the background, and 3 colors found in the print + a cute dot. The dot was chosen because 4 fat quarters were needed for the blocks and adding one more solid seemed jumpy. So far I see two mistakes. Stay with me now… 

The giraffe print is part of Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie fabric for Robert Kaufman. Love it!

The dot is a Kensington for Quilting Treasures fabric.

Prewashing fabrics in a mild soap is required for baby quilts. Baby skin is too sensitive to expose to the fixatives and dyes used in fabric. 

Numbers doodled trying to make the best use of fat quarters and end up with a baby sized project and have a nice proportion of colors to boot! Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we don't want the blocks too big or too small, we want them just right! 

Good the washing process is complete! Warm fabric from the dryer is pressed.

Next it was cut into strips and arranged into piles. Note, the four fat quarters were the dot and the solid pink, orange and yellow.
I knew I was heading down the wrong path from the start, but sometimes, while convoluted, the wrong path becomes the right path so I just blasted away.

Here are the two problems.  

  • The dot, while very cute, did not work within the blocks on the giraffe background. The dot areas bled into the giraffes without an edge since they shared the common denominator of white in their backgrounds.  This isn't always a bad thing but here it didn't work. 
  • AND, the giraffe print itself is too competitive with the blocks.  The scale of the actual giraffes competes with the scales of the strips chosen and it seemed like blocks screamed "look at me" and giraffes screamed "no, look at me".
So what to use instead of the dot in the blocks? What is missing? A range of values is the answer of course. 
A dark has made it into the mix.
Here are the strips cut and ready to make new blocks. 

I'll share more in my next post! Adding a dark value and using the dot in a new role lead to a cute and simple baby quilt, I am just sure of it! 

Fingers crossed…till Tuesday…

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quilt Week Des Moines

Marny here…happy, busy week! Big hurdles and big fun!  

Tomorrow, we're checking off a huge deadline for our upcoming book with Stash!

Wednesday, October 1st - Saturday, October 4th is AQS Quilt Week in Des Moines. Visiting the show as an onlooker rather than a vendor will be both relaxing and inspiring.   

And we received our booth assignment for Quilt Festival in Houston at the end of October. It is our first Festival. Generally we vend at the wholesale Quilt Market. Everyone tells us we shouldn't miss the retail Festival and this just seemed like the right year to try it. We hope to see lots of you in booth 1813!  Introduce yourselves, we'd love to meet you. We'll have more on our plans for Festival over the next few weeks. Click on the Festival badge in the right column of our blog and explore all the opportunities Festival presents. 

If you are going to be in Houston please comment or email us to let us know!!

Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Current Color Cues

jill here...Last week's project sent me on a hunt for "paint sample swatches".  My interior design background has led me there before, a lot like eye candy in a fabric store.  The paint companies do a  great job of presentation; ideas abound if you're looking for inspiration that can be translated easily into quilt colors! Or even paint for your walls, imagine that!

Valspar ads are prevalent  on TV.  In addition to the color presentation, the actual page layout contains elements that are a basis for good design.

Color print combinations set the palette.  Choosing the right proportion is another step.

This color scheme offers good advice on proportion using the interior design formula of 60/30/10.

This little folder gives you multiple possibilities and then allows you to choose and paste on the right hand side (good for those of us with indecision or a short memory).  Notice there are 3, 4 or 5 option groupings.  The one option that has five,  utilizes different values, not adding additional colors.

 This is the booklet that I really love.  It's Sherwin Williams' and I love their paint to boot!

 It labels the schemes and offers additions to the basic plan. In the above vignette, a variety of neutrals are displayed with an accent.  Notice that there is a light, medium and dark with a pop of color for the accent.  It's a formula for success.

And just when you think the complementary scheme of yellow/purple would not be current, they show just the right tones and proportions to make them a successful interior palette.  Have you heard the expression that a little yellow goes along way?  They have "neutralized" it with the purple and neutral values for a pleasing balance.

Undertones of colors can make all the difference.  These pages illustrate the differences between the warm and the cool.

So the next time you're looking for inspiration, check out the paint store. With the vast selection of solid fabrics available, a modern scheme is right at your fingertips!

'till next Tuesday (we're beginning to sound like Mr Rogers!)....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Little Gift Boxes

jill here....I love Pinterest!  I found this cute little homemade gift box idea from a site:   If I could create a screen shot, I'd send that but I'm already behind.  You can go to Pinterest and search it for yourself. It's a cute tutorial.

At any rate, it was created with paint selection squares or whatever you call them.  I love those too!  It's really a fun way to see what color schemes are current and lots of other popular combinations someone can try.

They didn't have a five inch squares so I had to cut the larger one down to 4'' and the smaller one to 3".

I marked the backside 1'' in from all sides on the larger, 1/2'' from the sides of the smaller and folded. My edges were not a crisp as I would have liked but it was a test so I moved on.

 This is a view from the inside.  The directions have you cut a small amount out at the corners to allow for a better fold, not so much bulk.   The two loose ends, on each side, were taped with double sided tape to the sides of the box to form a bottom and a lid.

 This is the side view, standing on end, with the lid on.

 The box on top was my first try and the sides of the lid were too shallow (they were only 1/4'').

These are the two experimental boxes that would work great for that special little charm.  The lines that separate the values of color add an interesting element.  Even the printed names are fun.

This was another box the that was made from a heavy gift paper...not quite heavy enough but still cute.

Enjoy a beautiful almost fall day ....'till next Tuesday!