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Entries in Quilts (15)

Thursday
May162013

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Four Square Quilt

I’m not a painter, but I have always imagined that quilt making is a lot like oil painting. Both involve a detailed setup and complex series of steps, yet both tap into a deep well of freedom and creativity.  My sewing projects tend towards the quick, easy and practical, but every once in a while I like to slow down and explore big gestures using the refined techniques of quilting.

This Simple Four Square Quilt crystallizes everything I love about quilt making! It uses traditional block patterns in a decidedly unorthodox way, exploring color and proportionality much like a striking modern painting. I used Robert Kaufman’s Architextures prints, whose simple mechanical drawings I love for their clean freshness. I anchored the prints with a cool gray solid, and for fun, added a hot pop of neon orange dots.

With a project like this, it is important to do all of the steps, from the cutting to the piecing to the pressing, with care. Savor this deliberate process; it is well worth the extra time! The finished quilt is truly something special, an heirloom that is modern, elegant and simply beautiful! --Molly

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Sunday
Apr292012

Molly's Sketchbook: Broken Dishes Baby Quilt

I have always loved to make baby gifts, imagining the baby-to-be and anticipating its arrival. Lately this has been particularly true because I myself am expecting my first baby (a girl) this June! After years of crafting gifts for the babies of dear friends and family, I relished the idea of making my own baby something extra special. Of course, a beautiful quilt would be just that!

Picking out the fabric proved to be much easier than I had imagined. I walked into the store one day and there was a stunning rainbow of Japanese yarn dyed linen blend solids, each lovelier than the next! I instantly fell in love and bought a piece of every single color.

Using the traditional “broken dishes” pattern, I approached my work with a sense of unhurried improvisation, putting the blocks next to one another randomly and then rearranging them as I saw fit. It felt more like flower arranging than sewing, and I loved seeing my quilt grow at about the same pace I did! Once the quilt top was finished, I decided that the slow process of hand quilting it would give me plenty of time to daydream about its recipient.  

It took me almost the whole length of my pregnancy to create this quilt, but if you’d like to make your own, it doesn’t have to be such a major commitment. Machine quilting and pin basting would go a lot quicker. But then again there is something lovely and very rewarding about not rushing certain projects. Kind of like growing a baby! 

ps- This quilt can be made in any color palate imaginable using any quiltweight fabric. Shot Cotton, and Kona Cotton have some gorgeous color options! Also, The pretty stuffed swan in the pictures above was made by the very talented Tamar Mogendorff, you can check out more of her work here.

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Thursday
Dec012011

Mini Quilt of the Month, December: Golden Wreath

December marks the end of our year long Mini Quilt of the Month series. It’s been such a fun and informative project for all of us here at The Purl Bee. We’ve learned how to machine appliqué a garden of vegetables, stitch together a bevy of yoyos, and even draft a quilt from an inspiring photograph.  It’s a little sad to see it end but I know we will be referencing many of these skills and techniques for a long time to come.

Since this is the final mini quilt we wanted to combine our favorite aspects of all of the previous project into one last effort. To that end we think December’s Golden Wreath Mini Quilt has it all: an unusual technique, a fun exploration of color, and a small approachable size! As an added plus, it’s a playful reinterpretation of Joelle’s Color Wheel Quilt from her now classic book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.

We used the golden “Sunbeam” spectrum bundle for this project because, in this blustery cold season, it reminded us of the warm colors of the hearth. However, you could make it in any color spectrum you like, from calming blues to Christmas reds! It’s straightforward and fun to sew even though it involves curved seams, which really aren’t as daunting as you might think.

Thanks and happy sewing!-- Molly

ps- If you’d like to take a look at all the other quilts in this series please click here.

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Monday
Jul042011

Mini Quilt of the Month, July: Flying Geese

It might seem counterintuitive, but summer is really a lovely time for making quilts. Working with crisp cool cotton and going at your own pace is a wonderfully relaxing warm weather pastime. When the weather heats up, it feels natural to work on patchwork projects in measured stages. One night you might cut the pieces, the next day perhaps you can sew a few of them together, a week later it's time to piece the blocks and so on. Summer just seems to demand this more relaxed approach, and we're happy to comply!

July's Mini Quilt is especially perfect for summer because of its small, do-able scale and bright, patriotic colors. It is made up entirely of Flying Geese blocks. The Flying Geese design is a beautiful traditional quilt pattern made up of centered triangles surrounded by two corner triangles. The evocative name comes from the center triangle's shape which ends up looking like a flock of geese flying in a V formation.

Every month this year we have been presenting a Mini Quilt of the Month, and this block and quilt are perfect examples of what the series is all about. (To see all the previous Mini Quilts click here.) When we started way back in January we wanted to present beautiful small scale projects that taught useful techniques. Flying Geese fit the bill since it involves some great skills and tricks, none of which are very hard, but all of which will serve you well as you move on to bigger and more complicated projects. Best of all we love that, although each block is so simple on its own, when you combine it with other blocks the optical fun really begins!

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Thursday
Jun092011

Mini Quilt of the Month, June: The Rainbow Quilt

If you have ever been to Purl Soho in New York City you have probably noticed how much we love to arrange things in rainbow order. Our yarns are stacked in their cubbies with oranges next to reds next to pinks next to purples and our solid fabrics are arranged along a giant wall sized rainbow spectrum. So as we were brainstorming about our Mini Quilt series we knew that one of the projects would have to reflect our rainbow obsession.

In case you haven't heard, every month this year we are presenting a mini quilt project. These small projects are the perfect way to learn a new skill and make something beautiful in the process. To see all of our Mini Quilts so far please click right here. This month's offering, the Rainbow Quilt, is more about celebrating and exploring color rather than learning a new technique. It's very simple to put together and would be a perfect first quilting project.

As we were thinking about how to design a rainbow inspired quilt we were drawn to the work of the painter Ellsworth Kelly. His stunning use of color and clean shapes helped inspire our eventual design. (Click here to see an example of Kelly's rainbow reminiscent paintings.)

The resulting quilt is one of our very favorite mini quilt projects to date. The colors quite simply glow against the white background fabric, and its happy colors and simple design make us smile each time we see it! It would look stunning as wall hanging or scaled up as a baby or even adult sized quilt.

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