Friday, January 29, 2016

PWS - Guest Designer Anne from Springleaf Studios Discusses Quilt Design

Topic II - Quilt Design - Guest Designer Post

As part of the Pattern Writing Blog Series, our guest designers will be posting some in-depth discussions on some of the different topics.

Today, we will be visiting Anne from Springleaf Studios for a discussion on designing starting with a design versus a fabric collection.  Please hop over to her blog for the post.

We have now finished up our Topic II on Quilt Design.  If you missed any of them, the posts for the topic were:

Monday:  My post discussing my process for quilt design and organization of new pattern ideas.

Wednesday:  Round table discussion with the guest designers on design inspiration

Thursday:  Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl's post on my post on her inspiration, approach, and philosophy of designing quilts.

Friday:  Anne from Springleaf Studios discussion on designing a quilt pattern starting from a design versus a fabric collection.

See you next week for Topic III, turning a quilt design into a pattern!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

PWS - Guest Designer Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl Discusses Inspiration

Topic II - Quilt Design - Guest Designer Post

As part of the Pattern Writing Blog Series, our guest designers will be posting some in-depth discussions on some of the different topics.

Today, please hope over to Yvonne's blog, Quilt Jetgirl for a discussion about design inspiration and her approach and philosophy of designing quilts.

Tomorrow, we will be visiting Anne from Springleaf Studios for a discussion on designing starting with a design versus a fabric collection.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

PWS - How to Write a Quilt Pattern - Roundtable Topic 2 - Quilt Design

Topic II - Quilt Design - Round Table Discussion

On Monday I covered Topic II of the Pattern Writing Series - Design, sharing my inspirations and process of coming up with and organizing quilt designs.  Coming up with designs is a highly individual process, so to gain other perspectives on the topic, our guest designers are going to share a little about what inspires their quilt designs and how they come up with new and exciting patterns.

I wanted to know how the designers came up with their pattern ideas, what inspired them. I also wanted to know what tools (computers or other tools) they used when coming up with a design.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl will be presenting a more in depth post tomorrow (Thursday, January 22st) about her inspiration process and Anne from Springleaf Studios will be posting on Friday January 23rd about the differences of starting the quilt pattern process from a design versus starting from a collection of fabrics.

Where do you find inspiration?

Anne of Springleaf Studios - Inspiration can come from anywhere. The trick is being open to the possibilities of what you see and the potential it holds for a design. You might see the same thing over and over and then suddenly see it in a new light which sparks an idea. I tend to look for inspiration in other textiles, graphic design, fine art, and nature. Plus, I simply play with shapes on my computer. A lot. Looking at other quilts can be very inspiring too, but I generally avoid that when I am designing a new pattern because I don’t want to be overly influenced by existing quilts. The more aware you become of your personal style, the less you will be inclined to borrow from others. Whatever you do, don’t copy. Be inspired and then find a way to translate the idea into something uniquely your own. 

Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts- I find inspiration in nature and modern minimalist artists like Charley Harper, Ed Emberly and Eleanor Grosch.

Soma of Whims and Fancies - Most of my pattern designs are initiated by my drawings and paintings. Inspiration for those comes pretty much from every aspect of life.

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl - I have been inspired by photography and specific design goals or challenges (Triangle Transparency was created based on my desire to use transparency play in a design), but I am mostly inspired by doodling.

What inspires everyone else here also resonated with me (nature, graphic design, architecture, modern art). There can be a lot of inspiration in the carpet of hotels / airports. It is also fun to check out Instagram hashtags like #QuiltInspiration. One thing that stands out to me is how often either secondary patterns / pattern repeats or stark asymmetry are what catches my eye, even if the final design I end up with does not use those techniques.

Amy of 13 Spools - I primarily find inspiration in architecture, furniture design, and modern art. When I’m not looking to these, I find inspiration in other quilts, woven blankets, and in a few of my favorite shapes - “flying kites” (a sharp version of a boomerang shape) and sharp, scalene triangles.

Christa of Christa Quilts - Contrary to what many others do, I'm always looking at social media to be inspired. Not to copy anyone else's designs of course, but to see what's trending. For example, when I was first getting my feet wet with modern quilting (back in 2012) I noticed that chevrons were really popular. So my first modern quilt was an original chevron design. The blocks themselves were made from basic half square triangles, but the coloring, size and arrangement were in my own unique style.

Other currently trending design elements are triangles and churn dashes, so I've got a few of those in progress, too! One thing I will do after I have come up with a design is to search google or pinterest to see if anyone else has designed something similar, before I publish mine. I believe there is a phenomenon out there called simultaneous discovery, but fortunately with quilting, it's vary rare that two similar designs are exactly the same!

What computer programs or other tools do you use to come up with a quilt design?

Christa of Christa Quilts - I design the majority of my quilts in Electric Quilt (EQ7). The only time I don’t is if it’s a very unique design that I can’t figure out how to draw electronically. Then I’ll use graph paper to work out the proportions and then re-draw it in EQ once I’m ready to finalize the design and add fabrics.

My favorite part about using the software is the fact that I can save a fabric image of any print I want to use, and import that into the program. This lets me know exactly how the quilt will look before I make the first fabric cut.

Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts - I initially use graph paper for designing quilts. Then I use EQ7 to allow for showing how that design would look using different fabric choices.

Soma of Whims and Fancies - Since I love to draw, I always have something with me that I can doodle on. Sometimes I sketch out ideas on my ipad. I also use Adobe Illustrator to draw on my computer.

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl - I use Inkscape, which is a free “professional quality vector graphics software which runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.” Right now the designs I come up with are probably 50% started by hand sketches and 50% started within Inkscape. My husband bought me a Rhodia dotPad for my birthday this year, and I like curling up with a pencil and seeing what happens. Many of my initial sketches morph when I start working on them on the computer.

Amy of 13 Spools - I solely use Adobe Illustrator to sketch my quilt designs. To create a printable pattern with instructions, I use Adobe InDesign to create a PDF document with the Illustrator sketches placed alongside the directions.

Anne of Springleaf Studios I used to do everything on grid paper. Now it’s almost exclusively done in Adobe Illustrator. While I love the idea of maintaining a single sketchbook, in reality I tend to jot ideas down all over the place and end up with lots of loose pieces of paper. I’m currently trying to get my older sketches into the computer where I can keep them more organized. Regardless of where an idea initially starts, I use the computer to fully develop the concept. The computer gives me the freedom to explore a wider range of possibilities. I am able to easily and quickly play with color and layout and find that this exploration results in a much better final design. The main downside is that the computer is not as organic as sketching. 

See you tomorrow for Yvonne's post :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

PWS - How to Write a Quilt Pattern - Topic 2 - Quilt Design and Inspiration

Topic II – Quilt Design and Inspiration

While the vast majority of this series will focus on how to get a quilt design from your head into a finished pattern, I would be remiss if I did not also touch on the creation process of the quilt design itself. 

To handle this topic (which in itself could be an entire series), I am going to share some basics on design inspiration and share where I pull inspiration from.  I will also share how I begin to develop the ideas into quilt designs. 

On Wednesday, our round table of pattern designers is going to share some thoughts about design inspirations, on Thursday Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl will be posting about her inspiration and design process, and then on Friday Anne from Springleaf Studios will be sharing her thoughts on starting a design from a pattern versus a fabric collection.

One thing I am not going to cover in this post is the question of how to tell whether or not your pattern is new, copied, or inspired by others.  There are many different blog posts regarding this important topic and as I am not an attorney, I will refrain from giving any legal advice regarding this issue.

A.    My Design Process

At any one time, I have a ton of quilt ideas going through my head, in notebooks, and saved in my computer.  Some are just a tiny kernel of an idea, like wanting to figure out a way to use some new fabric I picked up, while others are almost fully formed with block designs, sizes, and fabrics already picked out. 

Most times, my ideas take a while to go from ideation to actual design and they take many different twists and turns along the way, coming out very different than my initial idea.  Once in a while though, a quilt design will come to me almost complete and all I have to do is write the pattern and make the quilt as fast as I am able. (This rarely happens but when it does, it is awesome!)

I find design inspiration everywhere, from nature to architecture to even the tile pattern in my office bathroom.  I usually carry a small notebook or graph paper with me for jotting down sketches and ideas as well as my iPhone for snapping pictures.  I am particularly drawn to strong geometric patterns and my sketches, pictures, and ultimately my finished quilt patterns are indicative of this.

B.     Organizing My Designs – Creating a Design Library

As quickly as I can, I try to upload my ideas into my computer by scanning in sketches or redrawing sample block designs using a computer program and save them in a folder I have called "New Patterns".  For me, this seems to be the best way to capture all of the ideas and keep them safe and together as they percolate into quilt designs (I also have a bad habit of losing pieces of paper). 

I very rarely delete any quilt ideas or design beginnings I have, because quite often, I will look through my New Patterns folder, find a design idea I had forgotten about and continue playing with it until it develops into a viable quilt pattern.  My New Patterns folder is my design library and just like a library, I can “check out” an idea, work with a little, and then check it back in. 

I was asked how I keep all of my new pattern ideas organized within the folder, do I have subfolders, how do I name them, and how to I recall an idea I had in the past? 

I use a lot of subfolders within the New Patterns folder to keep the folder more organized and clean looking.  The subfolder names sometimes contain a possible quilt name, type of quilt block, name of the organization I am design for, and are usually pretty long and descriptive (so I can find them more easily in the future).  Another reason subfolders are good is that once an idea gets worked on a little it might have a picture or two, an EQ file, and possible some other files associated with it and being kept together in a single folder ensures no files get jumbled or lost. 

I will also totally admit to having subfolders that are simply called “Inspiring Pictures” and “No Name Ideas” where quilt designs and ideas that have no other place wind up.  There is no perfect organization system and I have found the search function within Windows Explorer very helpful to search for ideas by name, extension, type, and by date edited.  Once I decide that I am actively going to develop the design into a quilt pattern, I simply cut and paste the entire subfolder from my “New Patterns” folder to my “In-Progress Patterns” folder.

I think that the best way to start building your own design library is to just start collecting ideas and designs and then start building an organizational structure around them.  Your ideas do not have to be collected in a computer, having one main notebook or binder where you keep all of your ideas can work great too.  The important thing is collecting all of the ideas into one place and figuring out some way of keeping them organized. 

Take a few minutes a day to just doodle, sketch, and observe the world around you in a different manner.  Keep the designs and ideas in a central location and go through them often to see if any inspire you to continue playing with them.  There is a great Facebook group called “Quilt Design a Day” that offers design challenges, support, and community that can help you get started with different challenges and design activities.

Added:  Ruth from Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner has a great post of using OneNote to organize your quilting designs, you can check it out here.

C.    Designing With Limitations

So you are trying to come up with a new design and are staring at a blank sheet of paper.  Sometimes it is difficult to come up with a design when there are just so many different variables to play with such as shape, size, color, block type, value, foreground/background, etc.

When I get stuck, I actually give myself some design limitations such making a quilt using only 6 fat quarters, by using two different half square triangle based blocks, or by using the jelly roll that has been sitting in my stash for way, way too long.  By constraining some of the variables, it actually frees your mind to think outside the box and come up with some new designs.

D.   Starting a Pattern from a Design versus a Fabric Collection

I typically start my design using just a few solid colors (lights, mediums, and darks) and focus on the design elements first.  Once the design elements and blocks are set, I start playing around with colorations and different fabrics.  This route tends to be the easiest and most natural for me. 

Occasionally, when I am designing for a fabric company I start my design process with a fabric collection or precut size.  I find that this tends to be more difficult for me, but it can produce some interesting results (see Designing With Limitations above).  

Having a design and idea library is sometimes very helpful for me when designing around a particular a fabric collection.  I can go “shopping” in my new patterns library to see if I already have a design that might work with some tweaking for the particular fabric collection.

Do not feel that you are stuck going exclusively in one direction.  You could start with a design and then as you add fabrics, you could decide to go back and tweak the design.  My designs very rarely are linear and straight forward, they are usually iterative and go through many changes before I reach the final design.

Anne from Springleaf Studios will be discussing this topic in more depth in her post this Friday (January 29th).

E.     Computer Programs for Quilt Design Ideation

I want to quickly dispel a thought that I have heard over and over again: you do not need Electric Quilt (EQ7) or any other fancy computer design software to develop or create quilt designs.  I will admit that EQ7 does make scaling blocks and trying out different color schemes and fabric in a quilt design quick and easy, but all you need is a pencil and some paper and a good idea.  

If you want to play around with quilt designs digitally, there are computer programs that you probably already have on your computer, like Microsoft Paint or Microsoft PowerPoint, which work surprising well.  There are also numerous web-based quilt design programs that work quite well (some are free and some are for pay).

I hope that I have inspired you to start jotting down some new quilt designs, I will see you back on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for more discussions about quilt design and inspiration!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pattern Series Workshop - Round Table - Panel Introduction

There is no one "right" way to write a quilt pattern, so to help give other perspectives and ways of writing quilt patterns a number of wonderful guest pattern designers will be joining me for round table discussions and additional posts.

With me will be (in alphabetical order) Amy of 13 Spools, Anne of Springleaf Studios, Christa of Christa Quilts, Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, Soma of Whims and Fancies, and Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl.

Here is a little about each designer...

My name is Amy Garro and I’m a stay at home mom and quilter. I graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 with a Theology degree and do some light writing, but for the most part, I fill my time with giggles and stitches. My three sons (Charlie, Johnny, and Gus) are all under four. They keep me busy, but my husband (John) does a great job making sure I have some crafty time.

I started crafting at age 4 and sewing at age 7. I mostly sewed garments, but jumped fully into quilting in 2011 and haven’t looked back since! I love both modern and traditional quilts, but focus on designing and creating modern quilts. My style is structured, striking, mathematical, and geometric. I lean heavily on the use of strong lines when creating compositions, and draw inspiration from architecture. I have book entitled PaperPieced Modern, patterns available in my Craftsy and Etsy shops, and a new block club called the Tribal Block Club.

Hi, I'm Anne Deister of SpringLeaf Studios. I have a degree in graphic design and worked for many years doing corporate design. After having my second child, I left to be a stay-at-home mom, doing some design work from home. During that time, I also sewed for my children and home and eventually started quilting. 

I was drawn to quilting as a means of pairing my design skills with the fabrics and colors I love to create beautiful things. My passion is mixing bright prints and colors in relatively simple ways to produce bold graphic compositions. My work comes from a place of graphic design first with a foundation in traditional quilt making. In my patterns, I love exploring how the repetition of a unique block, plus simple shifts in the placement of color, can produce a wide variety of different designs, all within a single quilt pattern. 

In addition to block based patterns, I also enjoy designing quilts from what I call a whole composition approach where the entire quilt is my canvas as opposed to the individual block. This approach often employs asymmetrical design, negative space, and use of an alternative grid which are more commonly seen in modern quilts.

Discovering the online quilting community a few years ago led to starting my blog, SpringLeaf Studios, and eventually publishing quilt patterns so I could share my design explorations with other quilters. My hope is they will take a pattern and make it their own. SpringLeaf Studios patterns are currently available through Etsy and Craftsy

Christa Watson of is a quiltmaker, pattern designer, quilting instructor, and author of two books: Machine Quilting With Style, and The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. After making quilts and searching for her “artistic voice” for nearly two decades, she finally found it within the modern quilting community.

Meet Lorna McMahon, modern quilter, pattern designer and the author of the Sew Fresh Quilts blog. Lorna's use of eye-catching colour and minimalist design has taken modern quilting in an entirely new direction, as traditional piecing methods are used to create a menagerie of animals and entirely new blocks. A few of her signature items are her “Elephant Parade” and “Dog Gone Cute” quilt patterns, which are offered as free quilt alongs. On her website you can learn from her creative processes as she shares her love of quilting, tips and clever tutorials. Lorna's patterns are available on her PayHip shop and Etsy shop.

I am a software engineer by trade. Aside from math and science, I have loved painting and photography since I was a child. I started quilting in 2012. Within a couple months of that, I started writing quilt patterns. Soma blogs at Whims and Fancies and her patterns are available through her Etsy and Craftsy shops.

An intuitive introvert who is passionate about hometown and online quilting community, I believe that quilts can cover the world with care and love. I use my blogging platform to cultivate a community with which I share my passion for quilt making and quilt pattern design. Yvonne blogs at Quilting Jetgirl and her patterns are available through her EtsyPayhip, and Craftsy shops.

I hope that you are as excited for this series to start as I am! The next post will be on Monday, January 25th all about quilt design and inspiration!

Monday, January 18, 2016

PWS - How to Write a Quilt Pattern - Topic 1 - Intro

Topic 1 – Series Introduction

A.   Welcome

I would like to take this first post to welcome you to the Pattern Writing Blog Series!  This will be quilt pattern writing 101 and the goal for this series is to teach you the tools and give you the confidence write your own quilt pattern. 

Note: If you are signed up to receive posts from this blog (Bloglovin, E-mail, Feedly) you will receive each post related to this series.  Each post will also be linked to in the Pattern Writing Blog Series tab above so that you can easily find and reference individual topic posts anytime.

B.   About Myself

My name is Cheryl and I am a chemical engineer who now works as a patent agent.  My job requires me to take PhD level science, break it down, and describe it to a patent examiner who may or may not be familiar with the subject manner.  I use my engineering and technical writing skills to create quilt patterns that are clear, concise, and useful.

Back when my daughter was a toddler and I decided to make her a quilt for her new bed even though I had no idea how to make one.  I bought some basic supplies, learned everything I could about sewing and quilting on the internet, dove into the project … and have not stopped quilting since.   When making one of my first quilts, I altered the pattern completely, changing the number of blocks and cutting instructions to use different precuts.  I found that I really enjoyed the process of figuring out the pattern and instructions and thus started my journey as a pattern designer.

I sold my first quilt pattern in the Fall of 2012.  Since then I have released over 30 free and for sale block and quilt patterns.  My patterns are available (including free and for purchase) digitally via Craftsy and Etsy and in printed form via Etsy and wholesale direct to shops and distributors.  My patterns (free and for sale) have been downloaded over 13,000 times from Craftsy.

My first quilt pattern took me over five months to write, test, rewrite, have tested, and finally get the courage to post.  When I was writing my first pattern, I could not find any good resources to help me figure out the “right” way to write a quilt pattern.  I hope that this series provides new aspiring quilt pattern designers some helpful information and encouragement.

C.   Aim of the Series

When you first started quilting, you probably used a pattern from another quilter.  As you became more proficient, you might have started changing up the sizes or tweaking other aspects of the patterns you were using coming up with your quilt design ideas.  You may have written notes on the pattern in case you ever wanted to recreate the pattern.  Maybe you started to think about taking your quilt designs and writing them into quilt patterns and publish them (free or for sale). 

If you are at the point where you want to possibly publish your patterns (or simply want to record them better for your own use), then this is the series for you!

I believe that there is no “right” way to write a quilt pattern, we each have our own preferences, ways of understanding instructions and explaining things.  This series’ objective is to take you step by step from a design concept to a published pattern giving you the skills, tools, and confidence to write your own pattern your own way. 

D.   Series Topics

The series is going to be broken into ten topics, about one topic per week, with all posts either posted to this blog or linked from this blog to other blogs (all posts will be linked within the Pattern Writing BlogSeries tab above). 

Topic I – Series Introduction
Topic II – Quilt Design
Topic III – Adapting a Quilt Design into a Pattern
Topic IV – General Pattern Guidelines
Topic V – Quilt Math
Topic VI – Computer Programs for Illustration and Pattern Design
Topic VII – Illustrations and Text
Topic VIII – Testing
Topic IX – Publishing
Topic X – Wrap Up

E.   Posting Schedule

Most weekly topics will contain a series of posts:

Monday - a post from me going into depth on the weekly topic illustrating the topic using a sample quilt pattern.

Wednesday - a round table discussion on the topic by our panel of pattern designers.

Tuesday, Thursday, and/or Friday – some weeks will contain an extra post or two related to an aspect or experience with the topic by one of the pattern designers.

The complete listing of scheduled posts can be found in the Pattern Writing Blog Series tab above.

F.  Guest Designers

The designers who were generous to help me with this series are (in alphabetical order) Amy of 13 SpoolsAnne of Springleaf StudiosChrista of Christa QuiltsLorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, Soma of Whims and Fancies, and Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl.  We will be getting to know the guest designers more this Wednesday, when there will be a post to introduce each designer in more detail. 

G.   Sample Quilt Pattern

In order to make this series more useful and less abstract I will be taking you through the development of a complete sample quilt pattern to illustrate all of the different ideas and concepts of the series.  At the end of the series, this sample quilt pattern will be available as a free baby-sized quilt pattern available for download from Craftsy.  The sample quilt pattern is called Ninja Bears and is a relatively simple pattern based on the traditional Friendship Star block.

H.   Giveaway

Each of the wonderful designers has agreed to donate one (1) digital quilt pattern as a prize at the end of the series so there will be 7 winners in total to celebrate the completion of the series.

I.   Questions?

If you have questions now, or at any point throughout the series, simply leave the question in the comment section of the post or e-mail me directly at cheryljbrickey (at) gmail (dot) com and I will try my best to answer your questions.  If we have a large number of questions for any particular topic, I (and the guest pattern designers) will respond to them in a new post so the answers will be available to everyone.

J.   Thanks

As we get started with the series, I would like to offer special thanks to Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for helping me refine the scope, content, and plan for the series and to Paige at Quilted Blooms for proofreading, editing, checking quilt math, being a sound board, and about a million other things to help me get this series complete.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mini Mini from Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl

I want to show you my first mini, mini quilt I received from Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl, I love it!

Yvonne recently started a Quilting Jetgirl Patreon page and had asked me to give her proposal a read through before it went live. Patreon is way of having pledged monthly continued support. I mentioned that I would be interested in supporting her blog, but I really disliked monthly bills (just another thing to keep track of and make sure I enter it into my financial software). Yvonne created some Etsy listings for one time support and I was happy to be the first purchaser :)

As part of the etsy support purchase, I got the mini mini quilt.  Yvonne had asked what I would like in a mini mini and after telling her that I love everything she makes I told her that my favorite color was blue and that I loved her free motion quilting.

What do you think?  I think that she nailed it, I love this mini mini (it is my first one) and it is going on my wall by my sewing machine so I can see it each time I sew!

Thanks Yvonne!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Use Your Illusion - Allison Sews' Version

In the middle of December, I got an e-mail from Allison of Allison Sews asking for permission to enter her version of my quilt pattern Use Your Illusion into QuiltCon West.  She sent me a picture of her amazing quilt and in addition to telling her she definitely had my permission to enter the quilt, I asked and received her permission to show off her version on my blog.

I was intrigued by Allison's version as I had never really thought of about making the pattern with different colors.  My original version (which was the Pattern of the Month for March 2015 for the Modern Quilt Guild) which will be hanging in the Pattern of the Month exhibit at QuiltCon West was made using just two colors: black and white.

Allison made the quilt as a bee quilt in the Do Good Stitches group. She describes the group as "The Emerge circle of Do Good Stitches is made up of quilters and stitchers spread throughout the US. Our group happens to all be members of the MQG also so we had easy access to this pattern. Each month, the quilters take turns deciding on a design and color scheme for that month's quilt. The other members make blocks and send them to the quilter for assembly, quilting, and finishing. Our quilts are then donated to teens in need via Youth Emergency Services in Omaha, NE. You can follow along with us and see the other quilts we are making on Flickr at or #emergecircledogood on Instagram."
I asked Allison how she came up with such an interesting color scheme, I never would have thought to combine lavendar with the reds and blacks and oranges but it works so well.  Allison told me that she was inspired by this Design Seeds picture.

Isn't the quilting awesome too?  The spirals are a great accompaniment to the design.  Great News - Allison's version of Use Your Illusion, which she has called Emerging Illusion was juried into QuiltCon West!  You can see both versions hanging in the show!

Thank you so much Allison for allowing me to showcase your wonderful quilt on my blog!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ocean Bricks - Make Modern Issue 9

Today I am so excited to show you one of my secret quilt finishes from late year! The quilt is called Ocean Bricks and it appears in Make Modern Issue 9.

Ocean Bricks is a great first quilt pattern to try improvisational (also called improv) curved piecing. Improv curves are very forgiving and give a distinct look to the quilt while looking more difficult than they really are.  The blocks are staggered so there are almost no seams to match in the quilt :)

Ocean Bricks has a value gradient down the length of the quilt to mimic the sea getting darker as you go deeper into the ocean. For my version of Ocean Bricks, I used Kona Cotton Solids from the Grecian Waters colorway by Robert Kaufman. The quilt is baby sized, finishing up at 38½” x 42½”.

For the quilting, I used gently curved, overlapping horizontal lines using light to dark thread colors to blend in with the fabric colors. I created the binding using leftovers from the quilt top fabrics so that the binding mimicked the gradient of the quilt top.

I love the Make Modern magazine, the magazine is so full of great quilts and inspiration. There are 14 projects in this issue as well as other features and articles. Check out Make Modern Issue 9!

I am linking up to Link a Finish Friday, Whoop Whoop Friday, Thank Goodness Its Finished Friday, Finish It Up Friday, Fabric Frenzy Friday, and Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Midnight Mystery - January Instructions - Quilt Top Assembly

Welcome to the 8th month of instructions for the Midnight Mystery Quilt!  Just as a reminder, there will not be any instructions posted next month (February).

The big reveal will be held on Thursday March 10th!  

To be eligible to win one of the many, many prizes, you will need to e-mail me a picture of your quilt top or completed quilt along with your name and state (or country) by March 8th.  I will collect all of the images and post them together to celebrate the Midnight Mystery quilt!!  (Feel free to share your quilt tops and quilt before then on any social media, no need to keep them secret)

You could easily start the quilt now and have the top or full quilt completed in two months, so if you have not started and like the design, consider joining in!

The previous instructions can be found here:
(all links and other information can also be found in the Mystery Quilts tab above)

And now onto the final is how the blocks will be assembled into the quilt top.  (I have seen from Facebook that a few people have already figured the layout out.)  

One of the nice things about using these really big blocks is that there are only 10 to piece together so sewing them into your quilt top should be pretty quick.

Assemble the quilt top using 8 full blocks (24 ½” x 24 ½) and 2 half blocks (24 ½” x 12 ½”).

Arrange blocks according to the following diagram.  Sew blocks into columns, then sew columns together for the quilt top, pressing all seams open.  The quilt top should measure approximately 72 ½” x 72 ½”.

Binding (straight grain):  5/8 yard
Backing (with a 4” overhang): 4 1/2 yards
Batting (with a 4” overhang): 80” x 80”

1.   Make the quilt backing:
Cut the backing fabric into 2 pieces (81” x WOF) and sew the pieces together along their selvage edges.    
2.   Layer the quilt top, batting, and backing.   Baste and quilt as desired.  

3.   Cut the binding fabric into 8 strips 2 1/2” x WOF.  Sew together the strips end-to-end to make the binding.  Bind and enjoy your quilt.  Thanks for joining the Midnight Mystery quilt-a-long! 

Many thanks to our wonderful Midnight Mystery sponsors!