Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bloooming beauties: Fun flower quilts

We love these fun and whimsical flower quilts, which have such a cheerful look about them. Enjoy !

Learn and Grow by Candace West and the Sugar Cube Quilters (Florida)


Candace says on  her website: "This quilt demonstrates the growth of the Sugar Cube Quilters in learning new techniques and skills from each other. Designed and machine quilted by Candace West of Floral City, Florida. Created by the Sugar Cube Quilters of Homosassa, Florida."

Close up, Learn and Grow by Candace West and the Sugar Cube Quilters


We really admire Candace's clever idea of creating flowers with star and pinwheel block patterns. The curved parallel lines of quilting give this quilt a casual, breezy, windswept atmosphere. A dragonfly, little birds, and tiny butterflies are all part of this happy outdoor scene.

Maisie's Garden by Brenda Schlechter (Largo, Florida)


Brenda writes of her original design, "Flowers always seem to symbolize joy and optimism to me. They start their growth in the cole, hard ground and grow strong and tall in spite of wind and rain.  Using bright colors and organic shapes, I create a vision of a simpler time, perhaps of childhood. "

Close up, Maisie's Garden by Brenda Schlechter


Brenda continues, "In this quilt, the vibrant background provides strong contrast with the flowers and the binding, drawing the viewer into the garden."  The neon violet flowers with the aqua green stems and hot pink background really create a stunning display  to catch and hold the viewer's eye in this intriguing work.

Sweet Blooms by Pat Kroth (Verona, Wisconsin)


Pat notes, "There is nothing I enjoy more than the burst of new blooms in spring after a long cold winter. A few candy wrapper "petals" on Sweet Blooms makes it even sweeter." 

Close up, Sweet Blooms by Pat Kroth


In this close-up, you can see how Pat created the stems and petals of the flowers with different  candy wrappers. The collage was covered with tulle, then quilted. Buttons embellish the center of the flowers, and the background is comprised of vibrant fabric scraps which match the candy wrapper scraps of the flowers. 

Garden Floral by Marianne Williamson (Miami, Florida)


Marianne notes, "This floral is soft and flowing with happy summer colors. The garden theme has been in my mind, and I am using this theme to show different moods, times of day, and seasons." 

Close up, Garden Floral by Marianne Williamson


Marianne's techniques include raw-edge applique, free-motion quilting, and fabric painting. Just like the Sweet Blooms quilt shown previously, this background is carefully pieced with fabric scraps, which really helps these raspberry and orange sherbet blossoms "pop" into the foreground.

Les Tournesols by Carole Pirruccello, Flying Needles Quilt Guild (California)


Les Tournesols is French for "the sunflowers", and Carole's done a lovely job of showcasing them against the backdrop of a white garden trellis or lattice. She states, " This wall hanging used fabrics from the 2011 River City Quilters' Guild Fabric Challenge.  Techniques include hand applique, machine piecing, and free motion quilting, with rayon and metallic threads." 

Close up, Les Tournesals by Carole Pirruccello


These fabrics are so bright and pretty, that they must have been a joy to work with. We especially like the gorgeous orange-yellow, burnt orange, and lime green of the sunflowers, which highlights Carole's excellent hand applique work so well.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the  2014 Road to California Quilt Show, the 2013 Flying Needles Quilters' Guild Show, and the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quilted in Honor

This is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., and we thought you might enjoy some inspiring red, white and blue quilts. The Quilted in Honor exhibit, which benefits Operation Homefront, features over 50 quilts by celebrity designers. Read on for details and links to designer patterns... some of them are free!

And The Flag Was Still There by Rob Appell (Morro Bay, California)


Depicting the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima in 1945, this original art quilt was designed by Rob Appell, who says: "When I was offered the opportunity to use my art to help provide assistance to those who have served our country in the armed forces, I decided to dive in headfirst... I was true to my soul in the creating of the quilt."  For information about Rob's quilts, see Rob Appell Designs.

Dawn’s Early Light, 59 x 71", by Doug Leko (Blaine, Minnesota)


"This quilt is dedicated to all the men and women who have served our country. Because of their service, we live in a free country."  As of this writing, you can download a free pattern for Dawn's Early Light. We love the gently waving quilting lines as shown below.


Honor, 66 x 82", by Kari Nichols (Centennial, Colorado)


This is such a clever bargello design for a flag. Kari Nichols says:  "[This quilt is] dedicated to my father, Louis Gowen, a Bronze Star recipient...  May the courage and sacrifice of all veterans and service members never be forgotten." As of this writing you can download a free pattern for Honor by Kari Nichols.

Stars and Stripes Forever, 62 x 70", by Ricky Tims, quilted by Cyndi McChesney


Ricky Tims says:  "When first asked to design a quilt for the Quilted in Honor project, I wanted to honor the brave men and women who serve our country and the world by creating a quilt that symbolized our flag and what it stands for."

The pattern for Stars and Stripes Forever is available for $5.00 at C&T Publishing. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern benefit Quilted In Honor, a fund-raising initiative for Operation Homefront. The blocks are paper pieced, and the project is suitable for most advanced beginner quilters.


Stars and Stripes, 63 x 63", designed and quilted by Jackie Robinson, pieced by Marilyn Eider (Eureka, Montana)


Jackie Robinson says:  "John Philip Sousa knew how to write the music that makes patriotism ring in our souls. This quilt is dedicated to the memory of our fallen soldiers. The protection of the Stars and Stripes was in their hearts."  As of this writing, you can download a free pattern for Stars & Stripes.

Patriotic Stars II, 36 x 36", by Sarah Vedeler (Scottsdale, Arizona)


Sarah Vedeler says:  "This quilt was made in honor of all who have served, all who are currently serving and all who will serve in the future."  As of this writing, the pattern for Patriotic Stars II by Sarah Vedeler can be purchased for $5.00 at the Pattern Spot; all proceeds benefit Quilted In Honor


The stars are nestled in between log cabin blocks.  Log cabin paper piecing templates for the 7.5" blocks are available for free download at Sarah Vedeler Designs.  In the above photo you can see Sarah's decorative machine embroidery designs on the stars.  Sarah Vedeler has created an extensive embroidery design collection to work with her GO! Stars dies at Accuquilt.  An example is shown below.

Embroidered star by Sarah Vedeler for Accuquilt GO!

Image credits:  Photos of quilts were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2014 AQS Quilt Week-Phoenix and the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival.  You can see more free Quilted in Honor patterns at Island Batik. The exhibit may be coming to a quilt show near you... check out the exhibit schedule here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blooming Beauties: Artistic flower quilts

Here's Part 2 of some of the most fabulous floral quilts we've seen at recent quilt shows (also see Part 1). For some real life "eye candy", click on the links of the flower names included below.  They will bring you to actual photos of the glorious blossoms depicted here.

Spring Storm, approx 29 x 33", by Kathleen Hughes (Wisconsin), shown at the  2013 Houston International Quilt Festival


Kathleen notes, "Tulips are tossed by a gusty spring wind in this tribute to our front garden. All the walkers who pass by our yard look forward to seeing our tulips display, which tells them that spring has arrived."  Through the use of bold fabric shapes, Kathleen has done an excellent job of exemplifying the tulips that make the upper Midwest states of Michigan and Wisconsin a tulip paradise each spring, like the displays of tulips in the Netherlands, Europe.

Close up, Spring Storm by Kathleen Hughes


Notice how clearly you can see the lines of the flowers, done in warm colors of apricot, rose, and butterscotch, against the cool gray colors of the sky. Kathleen's  techniques include raw-edge applique, fabric painting, and free-motion quilting.

Two Tulips by Luella Morgenthaler (Colorado), shown at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival


Luella writes, "I wanted to see if I could achieve a watercolor look in a quilt. I liked the quilt version because it gave a second dimension to the art work." Luella's design source is the parrot tulip plant, which produces tulip petals that are flat instead of curved, with ruffled edges.

Close up, Two Tulips by Luella Morgenthaler


Luella achieved these spectacular results through the use of fabric painting, with appliqued accents. The parallel machine quilting lines give an elegant, textured effect to this work which features soft, eye-catching warm hues.

Milkweed and Hummingbirds, 33 x 49", by Sara Sharp  (Texas), shown at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival


Sara writes, "I knew to watch for monarch butterflies that are attracted to this milkweed plant, but I was surprised and delighted to discover that hummingbirds are attracted to them as well. The vibrant yellow, orange, and red buds and flowers made a wonderful contrast with the colors of the hummingbirds."

Close up, Milkweed and Hummingbirds by Sara Sharp


Sara based her original design on photos of milkweed flowers and hummingbirds. Her techniques include fabric painting, thread painting, digital photo printing, free-motion quilting, and fused applique.

Close up, Milkweed and Hummingbirds by Sara Sharp


Notice the darling thread-painted hummingbird as she floats from flower to flower among the dappled leaves. Sara has made excellent use of detailed colors and patterns in depicting the hummingbird's body and wings.

Cactus Fireworks, 34 x 43", by Vicki Bohnhoff (Anthem, Arizona), shown at the 2014 AQS Quilt Week


A native of Argentina, the Argentine Giant is a relatively low-growing cactus in the Cereus family that puts out plate-sized flowers.  Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cactuses in the world, its flowers last for only a day. It has been propagated in Arizona, where this 2014 AQS Quilt Week was held. Vicki says: "The Sonoran Desert’s Argentine Giant is interpreted in raw-edge applique using hand-dyed fabrics and silks." The gold fabric frames the quilt just like a painting.

Close up, Cactus Fireworks by Vicki Bohnhoff


Here you can see Vicki's raw-edge applique done in several shades of pink, along with delicate bead work in the center. She says, "The tactile experience and drama [of the flower] is heightened with beading."

Wisteria, 35 x 54", by Megan Byrne (Wembley, Western Australia),  shown at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival


The Wisteria vine with its ethereal, almost fluffy lavender and blue-violet blossoms, is dazzling to behold each springtime. Megan notes, "Plants awaken in the spring and share their beauty as the cold of winter starts to disappear. Wisteria brings drama to my front veranda. The gnarled and twisted trunk suddenly bursts with new growth. The texture of the the red bricks heightens the delicious softness of the cascading blossoms and helps dispel the last of the winter chill. Green leaves will shelter and shade the birdbath, as spring brings visitors to my garden."

Close up, Wisteria by Megan Byrne


Speaking of visitors to the garden, take a look at the colorfully sewn and quilted green and yellow-orange butterfly hovering near the blossoms. Megan has made outstanding use of contrasting colors, as the blues and greens stand out so well against the contrasting orange-red wall bricks. Her techniques include, piecing, plus raw-edge applique and free-motion quilting. Megan has created a pattern for her Wisteria applique wall quilt; the pattern can be purchased at Craftsy 

Star, 32 x 46", by Caryl Schuetz, quilted by Cathy Franks (Indianapolis, Indiana), shown at the 2014 AQS Quilt Week



The stargazer lily is the most famous plant in the genus Lilium.  The quilt was made from Caryl Schuetz’s photo of her star lily plant, which a cousin gave to her.  That was the last time Caryl saw her cousin, who passed away.  The quilt was created in her memory.

Star by Caryl Schuetz, quilted by Cathy Franks


The tropical, exotic look of this stunning lily is enhanced by the sophisticated dark background and the swirled longarm quilting pattern of Cathy Franks.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.  If you love flower quilts, you can see more than 300 inspiring quilts on our Flower Quilt board at Pinterest.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cutting down the tall poppies

According to Wikipedia, Tall Poppy Syndrome describes a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. If a person has low status themselves, or is lacking in self-esteem, they are more likely to want to see "tall poppies" cut down.  Some people may take an active part in the process as a form of bullying. Helen Godden has created a brilliant, award-winning quilt that focuses attention on Tall Poppy Syndrome. 

Cutting Down the Tall Poppies by Helen Godden (Latham, Australian Capital Territory, Australia)


Helen Godden says, "My Australian culture includes a tradition that we are not so proud of. The art of  Cutting Down the Tall Poppies can be seen in all levels of society from politics to the school yard and even quilt groups!” On her blog post she explains, "The viewer does not see [the poppy cutters] at first, as you look at the pretty poppies and then you see them and think... hang on a minute, what is going on... the little pint- sized figures are sawing and cutting and snipping and axing and chain sawing and digging and even using TNT to Cut Down the Tall Poppies."

close up, Cutting Down the Tall Poppies by Helen Godden


The close up photos show Helen Godden's gorgeous free motion quilting. Cutting Down the Tall Poppies was one of 22 quilts selected from around the world for the 2013 Traditions Quilt Competition at the Houston International Quilt Festival. It won a 2nd place ribbon and a $1000 prize. 


The tall poppies were painted in pretty pastel shades on a graded jade green backdrop. The quilting on the flowers themselves is intricate, with the stamens on the orange flower, above,  detailed in black thread.


In the above photo, can you see the quilting in the lower left corner that looks like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? Each section between the flower stems was quilted in a different, unique design.


We weren't aware of the term Tall Poppy Syndrome until we saw Helen's quilt, but we sure do recognize the phenomenon. Tall Poppy Syndrome is associated with  envy and resentment.  A closely related term is schadenfreude, which means to gloat at another person's bad luck.   See the fascinating article called Tall poppies, deservingness and schadenfreude and The national hazard of workplace bullying:  implications of an Australian study.  Americans are not immune, as discussed in Sorrow So Sweet: A Guilty Pleasure In Another's Woe (New York Times).

Helen Godden is an ambassador/educator for Handi Quilter.  She says:  "I came into this quilting world with no previous sewing experience or restrictive rules and that seems to have been to my advantage... I have received awards both nationally and internationally and am enjoying teaching and sharing my ideas with others. Doing my own thing and taking my own path works for me. I like to leap outside the square and love inspiring others to step into new territory. I teach Free Motion Machine Quilting and Liberate Quilters from the Ditch and open their eyes to endless possibilities." Helen offers quilt patterns and books on free motion quilting. For more poppies, see Helen Godden's Tall Poppies wall hanging pattern.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Free pattern day: Patriotic and flag quilts

Memorial Day, Flag Day, and America's Independence Day are just around the corner.  Red, white and blue quilts, wall hangings, flags, pillows and table toppers... here are 50+ free patterns!  (Note:  This post was updated on May 25, 2017).
Scroll down the page until you see the quilt you like, then click on the colored letters of the link to the pattern.


Fantastic Fireworks table topper, 30 x 30", free pattern by Heidi Pridemore at The Whimsical Workshop (PDF download)


Red, White & Blue Patriotic Quilt, 48 x 56", free pattern at Fabric Editions



Grand Old Flag, 54 x 36", free quilt pattern by Stephanie Sheridan for Windham Fabrics



Made in the USA, 70 x 50", free pattern at Benartex (PDF download)



Patriotic Stars quilt, 84 x 84", free pattern at Riley Blake Designs (PDF download)



American Dream quilt, 66  x 66", free pattern by Diane Nagle for Benartex (PDF download)



A Star Spangled Quilt, free pattern by Elizabeth Cecchettini for Babylock



Hometown USA, 32 x 36", free wall quilt pattern by Cheryl Almgren Taylor for McCall's Quilting


Patriotic Quilt, 90 x 90", tutorial by Courtney at Make All Things New


Stars and Stripes forever, 67 x 81", free pattern by Wendy Sheppard for Hoffman Fabrics


Patriotic Primer quilt, 56 x 72", free pattern by Color Principle for Henry Glass Fabrics (PDF download)


Twinkle, 20 x 20", free wall quilt pattern at Riley Blake Designs (PDF download)


Betsy's Baskets quilt, 55 x 55", by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics


Broad Stripes Bright Stars quilt, 76 x 76", free pattern at Robert Kaufman Fabrics


Ribbon Star quilt, 56 x 56", free Quilted in Honor pattern at Island Batik (PDF download)


Flying Free wall hanging, ~17 x 21", design by Laurie Simpson, free wall hanging pattern at All People Quilt


Sparklers mini quilt, 16 x 19”, free pattern by Becky Jorgenson for Moda Bakeshop


Family Pride mini quilt, ~18 x 21”, free pattern by Julie Bragg for McCall’s Quilting


Grateful Hearts quilt, 52 x 52", free pattern by Debby Kratovil


Red, White and Bluetiful quilt, 44” square, inspired by designers Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken of Jo’s Country Junction , free pattern at All People Quilt


Americana quilt, 73 x 90", free pattern at Robert Kaufman Fabrics 


American Glory quilt tutorial by Stefanie Roman for Moda Bakeshop


Cottage Charm lap quilt, ~58 x 70”, free pattern by Karin Janssen-Potter for McCall’s Quilting


One Nation quilt, 69 x 81”, free pattern by Toby Lischko for P&B Textiles (PDF download)


Military Nine Patch quilt, 59 x 74”or 74 x 89”, free pattern by Cindy Carter at Carter Quilter


Fourth of July quilt, 60 x 72”, free pattern by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville


Honor quilt, ~66 x 82”, free pattern by Kari Nichols for Quilted in Honor at Island Batik


Your Heart Touches Ours quilt, 4 sizes, free pattern by Alexandra Henry for Quilted in Honor at Pellon


May She Wave quilt, 55 x 66”, free pattern by Karon Trybom for Quilted in Honor at Island Batik


Patriotic throw quilt pattern, 50 x 66", Quilting the Quilt tutorial and free pattern by Dawn Cavanagh for Fons and Porter



Nautical Stars quilt, ~46” square, inspired by designer Nancy Rink for All People Quilt


Show Your Pride wall quilt,  54"x 54", by Cheryl Almgren Taylor, free pattern at McCall's Quilting


Dawn's Early Light, 59 x 71", by Doug Leko, free pattern for Quilted in Honor at Island Batik


Blooming Star quilt, 72 x 96", free pattern by Little Miss Shabby (PDF download)


Stars and Stripes quilt, 50 x 62", free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for P&B Textiles


Flag of Valor pattern, 53 x 65", free pattern by Polly Minick and Laurie Simpson for Moda Fabrics


American Pinwheels Quilt tutorial by Crystal Hendrix for Moda Bakeshop


July Star Blocks tutorial by Allison Harris at Cluck Cluck Sew


Nine Patch Stars and Stripes, free pattern by Kathy Lichtendahl for The National Quilting Association (NQA)


A Cry for Freedom, Ohio Stars and Rails quilt, free pattern by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville


Flag Fanfare Quilt, free pattern and tutorial by Retta Warehime at TLC Home (the PDF templates can be downloaded here)


Stars and Stripes Quilt, 64" square, free pattern by Staci Harpole, fabric by Pat Sloan (PDF download)


America Lives On quilt, 48 x 56", free pattern by Larene Smith for Windham Fabrics


Stars of Valor quilt, 57 x 65”, free pattern by Patti Carey for Northcott


A Real Firecracker quilt, 70 x 70", free pattern by Diane Volk Harris for Quiltmaker


Star Spangled Sky quilt by Jo's Country Junction for Moda Bakeshop


Flag quilt, 40 x 26", free Yankee Doodle quilt project at Wilmington Prints


Zigzag Flag, ~45" x 45", free Yankee Doodle quilt project at Wilmington Prints

 

American Flag, free pattern in 14 sizes by Sheri Rector at Rainbow Moon Treasures (this pattern is made with squares ranging from 0.25" to 3.25")


Stars of Mine mini flag quilt, 16 1/2" x 21", free pattern at McCall's Quilting


Flag Map Mug Rug, free paper piecing pattern by Caroline at Trillium Design


American Flag Wall Hanging tutorial at Jill Made It


Fourth of July wall hanging, free pattern at Sew Bitter Sweet Designs


Vintage View quilt,  78 x 86", free pattern at McCalls Quilting


Show Your Colors, 32 x 21", free pattern with prairie points by Susan K. Cleveland at Pieces Be With You (PDF download)


Betsy Ross Flag quilt, free pattern by Stephanie Kepecs at Sewing with Nancy


Firework Flag, 18 x 18", free pattern by Gigi Khalsa at Quilters Newsletter


American Beauty quilt, free pattern by Leslie Sonkin for Windham Fabrics


Long May She Wave mini quilt tutorial at Mel's Own Place


Freedom Flags quilt, 73 x 91”, free pattern at Stitches and Sew Forth


Flags Forever Wave easy wall quilt, 38 x 38”, free pattern by Jean K. Smith and Sue Pickering for Windham Fabrics


Parade Day Sew Along quilt, ~40 x 40”, tutorial by Melissa at Cornbread and Beans Quilting


Uncle Sam's Quilt by Andie Johnson for Moda Bakeshop



For Love of Country, ~63 x 66", free Quilted in Honor pattern by Jacquie Gering for Island Batik (PDF download)


Yankee Doodle table topper, 40 x 40", free pattern at Wilmington Prints


Yankee Doodle table runner, 80 x 20", free pattern at Wilmington Prints


Picnic Under the Stars placemats, 18 x 13", free pattern at Windham Fabrics


Peaks and Valleys table runner, tutorial by Melissa Corry for Camelot Fabrics


Patriotic Table Runner tutorial at Bits of Everything


Quilted Fireworks Table Runner, free pattern by Calli at Make It Do


Salute to Stars, free table runner pattern at All People Quilt

  
Patriotic Hexagons table runner, free pattern by Sherri McConnell at All People Quilt


Patriotic table runner tutorial by Sheila Reinke for Olfa


Stars and Stripes table runner by Jen Daly as seen at Quilters Newsletter


American Flag Quilt table runner, free pattern by Beth Lancaster at Moonlight Quilts


Garden Stars and Stripes table runner tutorial by Tracey Jacobsen for Moda Bakeshop


American Anthem Table Setting, free pattern at Studio E Fabrics


Star Fringe Pillow, free pattern by The Sewing Loft


Patriotic Star Pillow by Kimberly Walus at bitty bits and pieces



Image credits:  All images are copyrighted by their owners. Please respect their generosity in sharing their free patterns, and the restrictions they have placed on the use of these designs. Complete information can be found at the designers' websites provided in the links.  If any links are broken, we'd love to know; email us at quiltinspiration {at} gmail {dot} com.
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