Category Archives: Quilting

Playing for inspiration

Breaking a Creative Block

Last week I was working on a challenge quilt that was giving me trouble because I was way over thinking. I can almost hear some of you saying “Wow, that is not at all like you”. To which I reply, that there is no need for sarcasm.   So back to my point.  I started several times but rejected idea after idea for a variety of reasons – too complex, too simple, too uninspired (or uninspiring), too cliché (I know, what does that even mean?). My usual strategy of putting it aside and coming back to it wasn`t working but I was determined to finish the challenge by the quickly-looming deadline.

Applying learning

I finally decided that it was time to shake things up and try a different approach. The challenge assignment that I am completing is for an online course in Colour and Composition taught by Katie Pasquini Masopust.

As it happens, I took a workshop with Katie PM through the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild last spring. The workshop was called Watercolour to Quilt. Over two days, we experimented with a variety of watercolour techniques including blowing with straws, using bubbles, and painting small objects like sample cups as stamps. We then isolated a section of one of the watercolour pieces and used it as the basis for a quilt. It was lots of fun and also rather surprising. I do not count painting or drawing among my skills and was a little sceptical that I would be able to ‘paint’ a design but, in fact, all of the participants created unique and interesting quilt designs.

This seemed a good time for me to break out the paints and give it another go. Rather than randomly painting with all the colours of my limited palette, I decided that I would select a picture from my digital collection and use it to create a colour scheme. Rather than risk going down a rabbit hole of analysis for a picture selection, I created my own randomizer and chose a number to lead me to a folder in my pictures then looked at the number of pictures in the file and chose one for my colour scheme. Fortunately, I ended up with this picture as my inspiration.   I say fortunately because I love the colours here.

My initial colour inspiration
My initial colour inspiration

Playing for inspiration

I spent maybe an hour playing with paint then isolated a section of one of the pictures and used it as inspiration. In the end, I chose not to turn the design into an exact pattern but to use it more for a general guideline.

As I mentioned, I have a limited selection of watercolour paints.  I chose green and red and made tints of colour to try to come close to what was in the chosen picture.  When they dried, I identified the slightly modified results in my Joen Wolfrem colour tool (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY7qF9tOCeU) and identified them as blue green and blue red.  This happens to be a complementary colour scheme of two colours opposite each other on a colour wheel (in this case, a 24-segment colour wheel).

This is my resulting quilt.  It is not exactly the original colour scheme but the influence is there for sure.

Finished quilt.  The challenge was to include  lost-and-found lines and engaged edges
Finished quilt. The challenge was to include lost-and-found lines and engaged edges

Finding new ideas

If you haven’t tried some creative play, I highly recommend it.  This activity was a change for me and took me out of my head.  The experiment resulted in a quilt that was a very different style for me. I am very happy with the results.

Have you tried playing to break a creative block? What did you do? We’d love to read your stories and/or see your resulting creations so please share.

Patchwork Stories

My Patchwork Story

I have mixed feelings towards making patchwork quilts.  I enjoy the history and tradition of the art and it does appeal to my perfectionist tendencies.  Ironically, these are the same things that can contribute to my more ambivalent feelings toward this type of work.  Sometimes the number of traditional patterns generated makes it feel harder to do something new or unique.  This, of course, is not true as talented designers are constantly created new approaches and new variations. Continue reading Patchwork Stories

Tech Tuesday – Longarm Quilting

Introducing Songbird Quilter

The Eastern Shore has a great new service for quilters.  Wendy Pehrsson has opened Songbird Quilter in Lawrencetown. Songbird offers longarm instruction and rental services to help people finish their quilts without the expense of purchasing a longarm.   After a short orientation session, quilters can rent Wendy’s machine by the hour  to complete projects at a very reasonable rates.

Continue reading Tech Tuesday – Longarm Quilting

Tech Talk: Machine Embroidery

The topic of today’s technology in art creation post is machine embroidery. Some people have pretty strong opinions about the look of machine embroidery and I didn’t use to be much of a fan myself.  However, when I decided to invest in a new machine and started researching options, I became more interested and I purchased a quilting / embroidery machine.  The embroidery offered opportunity to create patterns, customize gifts, and add simple designs for quilting on finished projects. Continue reading Tech Talk: Machine Embroidery

Tech Tuesday: Basic Photo Editing

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Increasingly my quilting preference is realistic art quilts from photos.  Photography has been a hobby since I bought my first SLR camera in high school. We don’t need to discuss how many years ago that was. I have progressed from that first camera, a well-loved and well used K-100 Pentax work horse, through a series of digital cameras Continue reading Tech Tuesday: Basic Photo Editing

WIP: Fabric Dyeing

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

With the snow fast disappearing, I decided that I’d better get in another session of snow dyeing before I lost the chance for the season. I had intended to get into the city to pick up some more supplies but didn’t get the chance so I had to work with what I had around because the weather forecast was calling for more rain. I decided to experiment with what I had around the house. Continue reading WIP: Fabric Dyeing

WIP: Quilting with Kits

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Weekly Work in Progress

For this week’s work in progress, I have chosen a quilt called Holly Lane, from The Quilt Company.

Image of the completed Holly Lane quilt, using the kit.

I have had this one packed away for some time.  I took it out to cut and complete for Christmas 2017 but I completed only one block before I had to put it aside to meet demands of client work and gifts.

I decided at that time that this would be a perfect project to work on during the cold winter months Continue reading WIP: Quilting with Kits