Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quilts of the Great Outdoors

We hope you enjoyed our 3-part series on Quilts of the Great Outdoors.  These images of bears, deer, salmon, moose and wolves remind us of the beautiful mountains and rivers of North America.  Here's the collection !

Above, Row 1: Calling Me Home by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needles; Winter Wolf by Toni Whitney at Bigfork Bay Cotton Company; Day on the River by Dana Verrengia at Wildfire Designs Alaska; On the Prowl by Toni Whitney at Bigfork Bay Cotton Company. Row 2: Raven Salmon by Lisa Moore at Abby's Reflections ; Fish On by Mary Stenros for Willow Bend Creations as seen at Northern Threads; Landscape Quilt  by Donna Cherry at Donna Cherry Designs. Row 3: Moose Junction by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needles; Metolius by Jean Wells at The Stitchin' Post; About Trout by Angie Steveson at Lunchbox Quilts ; True Nature by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needle Designs. Row 4: Out to Lunch by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needle Designs ; Autumn Lady design by Carl Brenders,  pattern by Bigfork Bay Cotton Company ; Northern Lights by Marie Noah at Northern Threads. Row 5: Cedar Plank Salmon by Lisa Moore at Abby's Reflections.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Great Outdoors Part 3

Take a mini-vacation with us today !  You'll find yourself surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and wildlife in these lovely quilts.

Calling Me Home, 57 x 60.5, by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needles

Teeming with animals in their natural habitat amidst scenic beauty,  Calling Me Home is comprised of 8 separate applique blocks.  You can choose individual block designs,  or you can purchase all of them for this glorious quilt. As always, McKenna's scenes are full of personality, ranging from capricious bear cubs, to dignified waterfowl, graceful deer, and leaping fish. This quilt was created with solid color and lightly patterned batiks from Hoffman California International, as are many quilts from Pine Needles.
On the Prowl,  28.5 x 28.5. by Toni Whitney at Bigfork Bay Cotton Company

According to the San Diego Zoo,  the mountain lion is also known as a cougar or puma; it inhabits the wilderness areas of western Canada, the western United States, and southern South America. This fabric kit contains the rich tawny beiges and golds  for constructing the mountain lion's face, along with the deep chocolate brown batiks for the borders.  The eye-catching, attractive pattern can be purchased by itself, or along with the fabric kit. In addition, the fabric kit and thread kit can be purchased separately if desired.

Fish On, 37.5 x28.5, by Willow Bend Creations at Northern Threads

Alaskan pattern designer Mary Stenros did a great job of creating this dramatic applique pattern showing an angler landing "the big one."  This pattern is advertised as being very "beginner friendly", even though it seems complex and detailed.  You trace the pattern onto fusible web material,  cut it out and attach it to the background fabric, then iron it onto the quilt. Here's a great way to put that pretty multi-colored batik fabric from your stash to perfect use.

Metolius, 40.5 x 70, by Jean Wells at The Stitchin' Post

Renowned designer, author, and teacher Jean Wells of The Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon, pays tribute to the trout of Metolius River, near her grandmother's home. Find the most dazzling royal blue, violet, orange, and gold fabrics that you can; and get to work on this cheerful creation.  You can purchase the entire quilt kit including directions,  or the individual pattern itself.  Either way, you'll have a wonderful time with this project.

Northern Lights, 33.5 x 24.5,  by Marie Noah at Northern Threads

A beautiful bargello patchwork background and fusible applique silhouettes highlight this picturesque work. The scene depicts the fascinating light show of the Aurora Borealis, which often occurs near earth's polar regions.  This wall hanging looks complex, but it's designed for basic sewers. It includes easy-to-follow directions for both piecing and applique. If you love mixed-techniques quilts, here's an enjoyable pattern for you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Great Outdoors, Part 2

Here's another look at quilts featuring the beautiful and noble creatures of North America's mountains and rivers. Enjoy !

Cedar Plank Salmon, 19 x 51, by Lisa Moore at Abby's Reflections

Lisa Moore is a retired electrical engineer who lives on beautiful Silver Bay in charming Sitka, Alaska. When not teaching quilting, she loves to go fishing, shrimping, and crabbing with her family. Lisa has designed this wall hanging quilt using beautiful ombre fabric, in which the center of the fabric is a lighter hue, giving a lovely monochromatic effect. The salmon fish are appliqued using the fusible web technique. You can purchase the entire kit with the fabric shown above, or you can purchase just the pattern by itself, both from Abby's Reflections in downtown Sitka.

Winter Wolf, 28 x 29.75,  by Toni Whitney at Bigfork Bay Cotton Company

Here's a fusible web applique project done in dramatic purples, blues, and gray tones, which complement the clear gold eyes of the wolf.  You can purchase the pattern by itself, or the entire kit including fabric and easy to follow directions, or just the fabric and a thread kit by itself. We can imagine this quilt on the wall of a den or family room, or even as the center of a large spread in a bedroom with a rustic theme.

Moose Junction, 29.5 x 38.5, by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needles

According to the Pine Needles website, Moose Junction is one of artist McKenna Ryan's all time favorite patterns in over ten years of quilt designing. This quilt has so much interesting animal life : flying geese silhouetted against the night sky, mountain goats, moose, bears, and fish. It's a real potpourri, done in an eye-pleasing, symmetrical arrangement.

Landscape Quilt, 40 x 30, by Donna Cherry at Donna Cherry Designs

Quilt artist Donna Cherry offers an innovative approach to assembling a landscape quilt: a mix-and-match assortment of backgrounds, mid-grounds, foreground, and detail addition, so that you can create a very custom-looking design. For example, in this quilt, Donna has chosen the background pattern of High Desert Cascades, the mid-ground pattern of River View, the foreground pattern of Serenity Rock, and detail addition of the Mule Buck. You can choose from a variety of patterns to create your own lovely custom look. In addition, Donna's "Getting Started" booklet and her 'Surface Embellishments" DVD are also available for purchase at Donna Cherry Designs.

Day on the River, 26 x24, by Dana Verrengia at Wildfire Designs Alaska

Pattern designer Dana Verrengia writes,  "Brown bears fish the Kenai and Russian Rivers in Cooper Landing, Alaska every summer to fatten up on salmon as they swim upstream to spawn. If you spend a day along these rivers you're likely to share your fishing hole with one of these powerful creatures."
Here, we see him hungrily eyeing a tasty-looking morsel. Hues of sage green, blue, gray, and orange  comprise this attractive quilt. They surround the handsome bear, who could be appliqued in any variety of earth tones or neutral hues to match your décor.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Great Outdoors: Mountain Wildlife and Fish Quilts

Summer is the perfect time for hiking, backpacking, and camping in the great outdoors. If you're out and about in the mountains of North America, you might see some of these magnificent creatures !

Autumn Lady, 32 x 25.5, design by Carl Brenders,  pattern by Bigfork Bay Cotton Company

Autumn Lady is based on a painting by famed naturalist Carl Brenders, which shows a little doe almost hidden among the gold, orange, and brown leaves, as the season changes from summer to fall. This pattern contains complete instructions, and full size layout guide, and pattern pieces which are already reversed for quick applique.  You can purchase just the wall hanging pattern by itself, or just the fabric kit by itself, or the pattern and the fabric kit together.  With its elegant earth tones,  Autumn Lady is a formal, sophisticated  pattern which we think would look good in any room in the home.

About Trout,  30 x 50, by Angie Steveson at Lunchbox Quilts

Here's a wonderful embroidery machine project which can decorate your wall or be made larger to cover your bed. Brightly colored, cheerful  trout are embellished with intricate details.  The pattern comes with its own CD which contains five trout appliques separated into five parts and five fly designs for the border ( see close-up below). Directions for a 30 x 50 wall hanging or a 57 x 76 quilt are also included.

These delicately embroidered flies resemble the carefully hand-made artificial flies that fly fishers use when casting their lines across a lake or river to catch fish.  They decorate the outer border of this quilt.

Out to Lunch, 25 x20, by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needle Designs

A family of lively bears frolic in a lovely meadow, in search of berries and other goodies to eat.  You can purchase this pattern separately or as part of a fabric kit at  Keepsake Quilting. The kit comes with precut fusible-backed applique shapes, as well as directions and batik fabric for the top and binding. We especially like the beautiful white wildflowers, known as "cottongrass", which gracefully decorate the right hand border.

Raven Salmon, 38 x 30, by Lisa Moore at  Abby's Reflections

Abby's Reflections  is a pretty shop in the picturesque town of Sitka, Alaska, the great northern state where fish and wildlife abound. Pattern designer Lisa Moore worked with the talented wood carver Tommy Joseph from the Native American Tlingit tribe to create this intriguing applique pattern, done with iron-on fusible web. (Check out what appears to be a face nestled between the two fish).    You can purchase the pattern by itself, or you can purchase the entire quilt kit with the fabric included. 

True Nature, 66.5 x 82.5, by McKenna Ryan at Pine Needle Designs

Look at all the animals in this glorious applique landscape block quilt !  There's bears, moose, fish, bighorn sheep,  mountain goats, and a soaring eagle. You can buy each of these six blocks separately, or you can purchase the entire set as a package.  McKenna Ryan created this quilt using the "Natural Instinct" line from Hoffman Fabrics. She notes,  "[They were]... designed especially to capture the wonder of those intricate textures, grand landscapes and the wildlife that inhabits them. Each block seemed to journey further into the back country, going beyond boundaries and untouched by the influence of [humans]. Near the end, as I was hand stitching the binding... I realized the true nature of art is the journey we take creating it."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vintage Quilts

We've been wanting to share some photos of vintage quilts which were exhibited at quilt shows in California and Arizona. Here are some lovely hexagon quilts, a Dresden Plate and a Touching Stars quilt, all from the early 20th century.

All Those Baskets by Virginia Eccles, exhibited by Olivia Loop, Flying Needles Quilters' Guild

This is a beautiful version of a Flower Garden Basket design.  There are 39 baskets, and each one is made with nearly 100 hexagons, set within a field of white.   Olivia Loop says: “This quilt was made by my great grandmother. My dad remembers that this was a very special quilt because my great grandmother bought brand new fabric to make it.”

close up, All Those Baskets, exhibited by Olivia Loop

In this close up photo you can see that the flowers, baskets and basket handles are all created with hexagons.   The quilter chose a harmonious color scheme of purple, blue and green.  This quilt was exhibited at the 2013 Flying Needles Quilters’ Guild show.

Great Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt, exhibited by Mary Fish, Flying Needles Quilters' Guild 

Mary Fish exhibited this perfect quilt at the 2012 Flying Needles Quilters' Guild show. She says: “My only memory of my great grandmother was from a visit to Toronto, Canada, when I was five years old. She was surrounded by many tiny pieces of fabric, and her hands never stopped sewing them together during the whole visit.”

Dresden Plate Quilt, 37 x 54", 1928.  Pieced by Edith and Ray Dixon, exhibited by Delva Kremer, River City Quilters' Guild

Delva Kremer says: “My grandma and uncle sewed this twenty-square quilt top in 1928.   I quilted two lap robes from it for my mother and her sister.” We love the colorful and slightly wonky blocks which are set on a bright lavender background.

close up, Dresden Plate Quilt exhibited by Delva Kremer

In the close up photo you can see some of the fantastic 1920's fabrics that were used by the quilters, including the black polka dots and orange art deco circles.  This quilt was exhibited at the 2012 River City Quilters’ Guild show, Sacramento, California.

Touching Stars quilt, collection of Gail van HorsenCertified Quilt Appraiser

The Star of Bethlehem and Lone Star are well-known quilt designs. As explained by Kimberly Wulfert, this same pattern, when made much smaller so that many stars cover the surface of the quilt, is known by other names such as Blazing Stars; when these points are touching, it is called Touching Stars.  This quilt has two rows of 3 stars in each row.

close up, Touching Stars Quilt, exhibited by Gail van Horsen

Gail van Horsen is an AQS certified quilt appraiser and a member of board of directors of the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.

Image credits:  All photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Let Freedom Ring

Independence Day in the U.S. is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Our Fourth of July celebrations have deep roots in the American tradition of political freedom. Here are some historical and modern red, white and blue quilts that symbolize the freedoms we cherish as our heritage and right.

Freedom Quilt, 74 x 68, by Jessie B. Telfair, 1983, from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum

This is one of several freedom quilts made by Jessie Telfair (b. 1913-d. 1986).   The powerful invocation of one word, “freedom,” is repeated here as a symbol of struggle for voting rights embodied in the Civil Rights Movement.  To read about the quilt, see the American Folk Art Museum webpage.

Attic windows - a Soldier's Quilt, 42 x 56, by Darlene Douglass at Douglass Arts

The magnificent "Attic Windows - A Soldier’s Quilt" was machine pieced by Darlene Douglass and quilted by Sandy Henricks of Sun City Quilters.  The quilt was presented to a wounded soldier at Ft. Hood, Texas, in April 2008.

Flag Quilt, 77 1/4 x 78 3/4, ca. 1898, by Mary C. Baxter, from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum

According to oral tradition, the Flag Quilt was made at the time of the Spanish-American War in 1898.   All of the flags and the shield in the center of the quilt have thirteen stars, a reference to the thirteen original colonies. For more information, see this American Folk Art Museum webpage.   The quilt graced the cover of the 1986 book, All Flags Flying: American Patriotic Quilts as Expressions of Liberty.
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.  ~ William Faulkner

God Bless the USA, 53 x 38", by Pam Smith, Contra Costa County Quilt Guild, Pleasant Hill, California

The quilter, Pam Smith, explains her lovely work:  "I wanted to quilt the words of the refrain to 'God Bless the USA' by Lee Greenwood... After some practice I found that quilting words was much easier than regular designs.”

Last but not least, there are many free patterns for red, white and blue quilts that may inspire you.  Please check out our 2013 Free Pattern Day for Patriotic Quilts:

Image and song credits:  Photos of the Freedom Quilt, Attic Windows - A Soldier's Quilt, and The Flag Quilt are shown with permission.   Photos of 'God Bless the USA' were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the Contra Costa County Quilt Show, California, April, 2012.
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