Aurifil Designer for January 2015

I have the privilege of being one of the Aurifil 2015 Designers.  S0 – what is this?  Well Aurifil Thread has asked twelve designers to work up a block and project for the month we are assigned.  January’s designer is


Aurifil Jan 2015 Designer of the Month Gudrun Erla

Here is her great project – the instructions can be found in Pat Sloan’s blog post interview.

2015 jan mini by gudrun erla


Make your own version of the project and post it on the Aurifil Flickr Page and be eligible to win a great prize of some Aurifil Thread!   I am thinking this might look great with the colors reversed – what do you think?

Here are the other great designers who will be featured:

Pop on over to the Aurifil Site and register to win a great prize.

I hope you enjoy the Aurifil Designer event for 2015 and I hope you will come back and visit my blog to get some new ideas and tips along the way.

Design Muse Thursday – Amish Inspiration

I am a book collector – I enjoy collecting books with quilts in them, new quilts, old quilts – QUILTS.  Why – I get inspiration from them.  I like to look at older quilts for ideas of how people ages ago designed and made quilts, I like to see what people are doing today,  I like to look at color combinations to inform my color sense and to give me ideas, I look, I soak in what I see.  Do I make many patterns that I might find in books – I must confess – not really, and if I do I usually tweak them a bit.  But they help to train my eye to see.

I enjoy Amish and Mennonite Quilts for their boldness and subtlety of color.  One of my favorite – as you can tell by the battered cover – books is  – Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest by Janneken Smucker, Patricia Cox Crews and Linda Welters.

In this book there is a quilt that is from Indiana and dates from between 1930-1950 (It is featured on p. 90)
34″ x 30.5″ from Indiana – c. 1930-1950

I was drawn to this quilt by the simplicity of its design. Blocks that are made up of black squares alternated with colored squares – 5 across by 6 down.  But – me being me I couldn’t just make one just like it – I had to do something different.  So I started with posing the question to myself “What if……” and let myself daydream.

  • What if they had brighter colors to use?
  • What if they used other colors than black for the alternating squares?
  • What if they played around with what was a light value and what was a dark value?
  • What if……
After I had some ideas in my head I went to EQ7 and started playing around with some quilt designs. I had fun seeing what happened when different shades of gray and black were put next to the same color. I discovered that the blacks and grays did change how the red looked or how the purple looked basically how any color looked. It changed what read as the light color and what read as the dark color.
Here are two different versions of the quilt – same blocks – just different border colors. Notice that not all the “dark” colors for placement in the overall pattern are always the black or the gray.  Sometimes the colors actually read as “dark”. (all these designs were created in EQ7)
Here is a version of the quilt with a gray border and black sashing strips.
What would happen if I swapped out the dark borders for white.
What would happen if I got rid of all the black and grays and just had the colored blocks float on white?  I really like how the colors float on the white background.
I finally made the quilt – the version with the Black border using Kona Solids from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It appears in the March/April 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting. 
photo courtesy of McCall’s Quilting
photo courtesy of McCall’s Quilting
Old ideas can be made new – just grab some books for inspiration, find a place and create a space where you can ask your own questions. Ask yourself “What would happen if…..”  Not all your answers might work, but some will, and you will also learn from the ones that don’t work.  Then grab some fabric and allow yourself the FREEDOM TO PLAY!!!!
McCall’s has a great offer on a kit for this quilt – grab it now while it lasts and slice up some strips, and have fun playing and creating your own block combinations.
So when you look at the original quilt and ask the question “What if I….” what would some of your ideas be????

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Something Old Becomes Something New

I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Sabrina Gschwandtner last evening at The American Folk Art Museum in NYC.  (In moving from NYC this is one place I really miss).  Their current show alt_quilts  is a show by three artists who use recycled materials to create artwork inspired by quilts.  While some of the artworks are not technically quilts (three layers of fabric that are stitched together) – they are quilt inspired.

Quilters are always on the prowl for ways to reinterpret traditional quilt patterns, looking for ways to “switch things up”.  These three artists have taken quilting and quilting patterns as their stepping stone and have truly remade it.  Their work is amazing and Stacy C. Hollander (the curator of the show) did an amazing job in pairing their creations with classic quilts from the museums permanent collection.

Luke Haynes takes recycled clothing and uses this fabric in his quilt creations. His artwork is technically a quilt.   He also plays around with traditional quilt designs as backgrounds for his quilts.

Stephen Sollins takes traditional quilt patterns and uses recycled mail to recreate them.   Here he took a quilt from the museum’s collection and recreated it.

original quilt from the museum collection
Stephen’s recreation of the quilt in recycled mail

The museum paired his hexagon quilt with a masterful hexagon quilt from their collection.

hexagon quilt from the museum’s collection
hexagon quilt from the museum collection
Quilt made from paper

Sabrina Gschwandtner uses old 16mm film in the creation of her artworks.  The films all deal with textiles in some way or another.  The linear nature of the film translates well into the classic long cabin block. I also love how there is subtle value shifts within the various darks and lights.

one of Sabrina’s long cabins inspired creations
Log Cabin quilt from the museum collection

And again Stacey did a wonderful job with pairing the work with a wonderful log cabin.

The show is up through January 5, 2014.  If you are in NYC make sure you stop by the see the show.

As quilters we can gain inspiration from what these people have done and translate it to our own art. For me what do I take away?

  • From Luke – maybe I should save some of my old clothes and make a quilt with them or even use the fabric in a quilt with fabric I purchase for quilting.
  • From Stephen – Explore the use of fabrics that are very close in value to create subtle contrast but still let the pattern be seen.
  • From Sabrina – explore sharp contacts in values (light/dark) but within those values play around with values close together to add variety and interest.

So are you starting to get ideas?  Want a few more – hop on the blog hop for Classic Modern Quilts and see how ten designers took traditional quilt blocks and gave the blocks their own twist.  And – enter the blog hop contest and possibly get a free copy of the book. Visit Heather Kojan’s blog today  (my entry will be tomorrow!) and make sure you visit the other posts from earlier this week.

Let the hop begin!

The Classic Modern Quilt Blog Hop has begun. This is an opportunity to see how ten designers took ten different blocks and had some creative fun and in the process find some ideas for your own quilting inspiration!

Check out Lisa Calle’s post about the inspiration behind her quilt Spring Storms.  Visit her blog Vintage Modern Quilts   

And when you visit her blog – make sure you see what you might win!  A copy of the book and an original quilt designed and created by Lisa! (Those are two different give-aways – SWEET!)

Tomorrow is Lynne Goldsworthy’s blog post – and a chance to win more prizes!!!!  Get those fingers clicking and hop on over to Lisa’s Blog

Nov. 12: Lynne Goldsworthy,
Nov. 13: Lauren Hunt,
Nov. 14: Heather Kojan,  
Nov. 15: John Kubiniec,
Nov. 18: Adrianne Ove,
Nov. 19: Trisch Price,
Nov. 20: Tammie Schaffer,  Tia Curtis,
Nov. 21: Amy Smart,
Nov. 22: Susan Strong,

You might just be the lucky follower who wins a special prize!

MQX Quilt Festival – New England 2013

I had the opportunity to teach at the MQX Quilt Festival – New England 2013 in Manchester, NH.  There was a lot of great energy at the conference and the students in all of my classes were great.  

As a faculty member I was asked to award a “Faculty Ribbon” to one of the quilts in the show.  There were a lot of wonderful quilts that were entered but one of them popped out of the crowd.  That one is Roy G. Biv’s Dresden by Maddie Kertay of Chattanooga, TN.   

This is what she said about the quilt on the card that accompanied the quilt in the show:

  • Roy G. Biv is a love story … one created from whole cloth, colored thread and inktense pencil work. A freehand flight of fancy straight from the fanciful core of my brain 100% hand-guided machine quilting. 

It is a whole cloth quilt (white fabric on the front, black on the back).  Various colored threads were used to create the complex design.  

Everywhere you looked there seemed to be something else to draw you into the design. 

I asked Maddie a few questions about her the quilt.  It is always interesting to see how other people create.   Check out more of Maddie’s work at Bad Ass Quilters Society.

How did you come up with the idea for this quilt?

  • Roy started as a doodle in my design note book.  I have always been an ADD girl so doodling helps me concentrate when listening.

Did you sketch out all of the quilting designs before you started – or did it evolve as you went along?

  • I marked the center and bisecting lines on the fabric before putting it on the machine but after that I was flying by the seat of my pants. The more I doodled with thread the more I thought of my life …. my luck in having an amazing husband …. Out of there grew the tree with the initials and the hearts for each of our six kids.  The dove has to do with the loss of our son Gabriel and a story that goes with that. But over all this a quilt of joy and a celebration of thread on fabric and what it can do
How did (if you did) mark the design on the quilt.
  • I used blue pen for the few bisecting lines…nothing more … thus the “was she dropping acid when she quilted that”  comment I once heard!
How long did it take to quilt the quilt?
  • There are about 30 hours of quilting in the top.
What type(s) of thread did you use?
  • The top was a celebration of thread. I used Glide and Magna Glide bobbins.
What kind of longarm machine did you quilt it on?
How long have you been longarm quilting?
  • I got my machine knowing nothing 3 years ago and had no lessons. I was a lucky girl to by an HQ Story girl just weeks after getting my machine.
      (Here is Maddie’s – MY HQ STORY)
Is there anything else you want to say about the quilt or your approach to quilting in general?
  • My quilting is about expression not perfection. I think that there is room for many different ways to think about quilting. Mind you some of these do not gel all that well with the quilt-show establishment!
I hope you have enjoyed this little journey into the creation of Roy G. Biv’s Dresden.