Colour Post: The Glowing Effect

Starry Night — one of the world’s most well-known paintings — has been subsumed into the image bank of my mind and probably influenced the design of my hoop quilt design, Canned Pineapples. In this post, we’ll talk about how to choose colours to achieve this effect.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Night, by legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh, has inspired countless artists after him, such as musician Don McLean who wrote the song “Starry, Starry Night”. Besides the dynamic brush strokes that are Van Gogh’s signature technique, the emanating light around each star and the moon give the painting its mood.

Photo by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The 2019 Quilter’s Planner

The design was inspired by a summer’s night camping in upstate New York with my friends (amongst them my future husband — read the full story here). Fireflies — or lightning bugs, depending where you’re from — danced in the woods, glowing like I had never seen before. The quilt design takes a traditional pineapple quilt block and randomizes the colours of the radiating pieces a bit. The effect are glowing fireflies.

Pineapple quilt block, tiny sewing

Each pineapple block uses six colours to make the glow. All you really need is some scraps in the right colours. How do we choose the “right” colours?

Note that the colour code from the pattern is in parentheses below.

Because the pieces of the pineapple block are very small (approximately 1/4″ width), solid fabrics will show this effect best. Small-scale prints can also work well. The exception is the background fabric (N) — go as crazy as you want with that! 

Pineapple quilt block

Fireflies: Choose the colour of your firefly (YL). For simplicity, white works best. Yellow is a step up in difficulty, but you can use the colours in the pattern as a guide.

Background: Choose your background fabric (N). This can be a night colour like navy, a print with dots in your firefly colour or something that looks like a natural surrounding.

A navy, a Cotton + Steel sprinkle print, or a bold print like Anna Maria Horner’s “Imposter” from her Passionflower Collection (above).

In-between colours: Next, you will choose the four “in-between” colours (YM, YD, G, B). You will want to “bridge” your firefly colour to your background.

The simplest is using a white firefly. Find fabrics that form a tone gradient from white to the general colour of your background. Here, my background fabric is a blue-grey. I used a combination of solid scraps and a chopped up ombre similar to the blue-grey of my background. Use the swatch chart provided to keep track of your colour selection.

Fabric color selection, Canned Pineapples hoop quilt pattern
Bridging the white of the fireflies (lightest at left) to the blue-grey background.

If you’re using a yellow firefly, you will want to refer to the colour wheel. Identify your yellow and your general background colour and build a loose “bridge” between them.

CMY color wheel

This colour wheel comes as a free download if you’re a subscriber of my newsletter! Sign up here: https://3rdstoryworkshop.com/newsletter

That’s it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

X Sew-along: Week 1

Welcome to the Everyone’s Got An X Sew-along! We are gonna have a blast! Be sure to tag all your posts with #EveryonesGotAnX (either on Instagram or Facebook, or both!) – as this is how I will be selecting the weekly prize winners.

Aren’t signed up for the sew-along emails? Get all the updates here:

 
 
Photo by Deborah Wong.

Our normal week will run Monday to Monday – I’ll send you an email Monday morning to get you started on the week’s task. You can send me questions at any point in the week and I’ll have a Q&A video every Tuesday in our Facebook group. Feel free to post questions in the group as well and show us your progress! (If you’re not on Facebook, I’ll be posting the videos in a private YouTube and send you those links in the weekly email.)

This kick-off week is a bit extended to maximize your time to ponder and gather your materials. You’ll have a week plus a bit get your fabric ready.

Last month in Nashville, I visited Anna-Maria Horner’s brick-and-mortar shop, Craft South. I picked up the “Spinster” (seriously, that’s what it’s called) print from her latest fabric collection with Free Spirit Fabrics, entitled Tambourine. I’m trying to get in the habit of picking my backing fabric first, so that it doesn’t become an after-thought and really integrates into the design well.

I had already done a digital mockup of the quilt, so this was the perfect backing. A Pinterest search for colour palettes inspired me. Then I used ColorHex.com and the PreQuilt web app to digitally colour my selection and see if it all worked. Read all about the my process here and give it a try!

I picked my solid fabrics for my X with the backing in mind. I went to my local independent fabric store and found what was closest to my mockup. Top to bottom: Kona Ice Peach, Kona Rose, Kona Plum, Free Spirit Solids Vino.

Have a question? Let me know and I’ll answer it on Tuesday!

Prize

On Monday, March 25, 2019, I will draw a name from the #EveryonesGotAnX hashtag, so don’t forget to tag all your progress posts with #EveryonesGotAnX (either on Instagram or Facebook, or both!). Make sure your account settings are set to “public” so that I can see them.

This week’s prize is sponsored by Bijou Lovely. A beautiful brick-and-mortar shop and workshop space located in Iron Mountain, MI, Bijou Lovely’s online shop is a delightful experience as well. Up for grabs is a $50 Bijou Lovely gift card! (I got some Rifle Paper fabrics and an enamel pin from there!). Thank you, Bijou Lovely

Colour Post: Transparency x Digital Tools

Digital tools are a great testing ground for quilt designs before you purchase or cut into any fabric. This post shows you how to use ColorHexa.com and PreQuilt to help you mentally mix colours. In Everyone’s Got an Xhow translucent coloured stripes will look like on top of your bar and background. If you are looking to accomplish a simpler — but equally stunning colour design — that uses translucent white stripes, check out this post.

The pattern uses four fabrics to achieve the look of translucent stripes over a coloured bar on a background. When we consider using coloured stripes, we are introducing an invisible 5th colour — just as we don’t use any white fabric to represent translucent white stripes.

From Emily Peterson Studio.

To start we choose three colours: A background, a bar and a translucent overlay, which I am calling Colour Z. Using the above palette as inspiration, here are my picks for the exercise. I made up the colour names; they do not correspond with any fabric lines — they are simply for my reference.

I recommend using Design SeedsColorPalettes.net, or Emily Peterson Studio as a sources of colour palette inspiration. The hexadecimal colour codes are right there for you to use. You can also find lots of inspiration on Pinterest – here’s my colour inspiration board. At the bottom of this post, I’ll give you some general tips on how to choose these three initial colours for pleasing results.

We can always estimate what “looks right” in terms of colour mixing – what that bright pink will look like on the turquoise background. But some of us don’t have the sharpest colour intuition. And those of us who do have good colour intuition will be surprised by the technically “true” answers to our colour mixing questions. Using ColorHexa.com, we are going to use two equations to find out what Fabrics B and D will look like:

  • Fabric A (Background) + Colour Z = Fabric B
  • Fabric C (Bar) + Colour Z = Fabric D

Head on over to ColorHexa.com. Enter the Background hex code + your Colour Z hex code. The tool will then spit out your mixed colour in hex code!

The result of mixing my turquoise background with the bright pink is a lavender. This will be the colour of Fabric B. I recommend you take a screenshot of the swatch so you have a visual reference. On a PC you will want to paste this in a Word document; on a Mac, you will save each of these images somewhere safe in your files.

Repeat the equation, this time with the Fabric C (Bar) hex code and the Colour Z hex code. This will be the colour of Fabric D. Again, take a screenshot for future reference.

The pure Colour Z on the left. Translucent Colour Z on top of the background/bar.

Digitally coloring in the X

After you have your four colour swatches (excluding invisible Colour Z), you can head to PreQuilt to see how these four colours (now without your initial invisible colour) look in the Everyone’s Got an X design! Here’s a video to walk you through how to digital colour your design by approximating fabric colours with your hex colours.

  • Click on “Design Now”
  • Hit the “Colour Book” tab
  • Hit the “Open Colour Tags” button
  • Select your preferred solids manufacturer under “Fabric Companies”
  • Select “A” which indicates Fabric A/Background and edit it by replacing the swatch with one that’s closest to your hex code colour
  • Repeat with the Fabrics B through D
  • See how it looks!

Tips on choosing your initial colours

  • Using analogous colours — which are colours adjacent to each other on the colour wheel — will always give you a harmonious look.
  • Using a medium to light Background and Bar colour will allow your invisible colour to show through with more clarity.
  • Using a darker Background will give your invisible colour a muted look. Here, a very pure red shows up a muddy colour on a dark background, in contrast to its effect on the yellow bar.


Using these tools, I got some really interesting results that I would not have come up had I just relied on my own colour sense! Have fun with it!

P.S. Some other colour/solid fabric tools to check out are Anne Sullivan’s Palette Builder (Moda Bella Solids) and Steph Skardal’s Digital Swatchy Tool.

Colour Post: X, Transparency & Space

Everyone’s Got an X features transparency, with translucent “white” stripes overlaid on a coloured bar on a darker background. First up, a couple of definitions and then we’ll get to how we can achieve this effect in our own versions!

  • Transparent: allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.
  • Translucent: allowing light, but not detailed shapes, to pass through; semitransparent.

Translucency is a degree: 100% translucent is transparent. Any degree of translucency is semi-transparent (not fully transparent).

Everyone’s Got An X is composed of three layers:

  1. A background layer (Fabric A)
  2. An opaque coloured bar crossing from left to right/top to bottom (Fabric C)
  3. Four translucent white stripes crossing on top of the other two layers (Fabrics B and D)

This effect is achieved with just four different fabrics! The first version used a dark grey background layer (A) and a pink bar (C). The transparent white stripes are, in fact, not at all white! They are made with a lighter grey (B) and a pale pink (D).

Photo by Emma Poliquin.

The same reasoning was applied to this earthen tone version above. You may be able to see that the “white” stripes are a bit stronger —meaning they are more opaque and less transparent. This means that they are quite pale in tone, with a starker contrast from the colours “behind” them.

Pieced, quilted and bound by Anja Clyke. Photo by Emma Poliquin.

How about using prints? Here’s how I approached the fabric selection for the baby version above:

  • I determined the background fabric first.
  • Secondly, I picked a print from the same collection that contrasts the background. It reads as a blender (or “near-solid”).
  • Lastly, I picked solids for the stripes — one that looked white stripes obscuring the background and bar. 
Pieced and bound by Brenda Harvey. Photo by Emma Poliquin.

This green one — it looks straightforward enough, right? A monochromatic version. But look closely here: What is going on with the layers? If you think about it as we have with the other examples — background, then bar and then stripes — it doesn’t work. However reordering the layers makes the colours make sense: The base layer is the dark teal, then the transparent white stripes are placed on top of that and lastly a translucent green bar lays on the very top. Josef Albers book Interaction of Color talks about this as “space” — even though we are only working in two dimensions.

From Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color.

Playing with the dominance of one colour over the other, the blue looks like it’s on the top layer (top image) vs under the green (bottom image).
From Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color.

In the next post, I tackle coloured stripes in lieu of white stripes using digital tools to mock them up!

PreQuilt x 3rd Story

In the fall, I had the privilege of meeting up with Laura Henneberry in Toronto. Laura is half the mastermind behind PreQuilt, a web-based app that lets you pre-colour a quilt to test out ideas before you start cutting into fabric. The other half is her husband Gar Liu, who is the web developer. Together they developed this tool for quilters to be able to visualize their quilts without expensive software.

You can create a quilt from scratch using a library of blocks or use existing designer patterns and re-color them. I am so pleased that my design, Banner Year, is available for “pre-quilting’!

Abby Glassenburg of While She Naps wrote a piece about PreQuilt when they launched in the summer: “For designers, offering a pattern on the PreQuilt app gives their customers an obvious value-add – the ability to easily see how the finished quilt will look made in an infinite array of different colors. It’s often challenging for customers to visualize how a pattern will look in colors other than those pictured on the cover photo, but PreQuilt makes it easy and fun.”

PreQuilt offers solid colour palettes from major fabric manufacturers like American Made Brand, Kona, RJR, Michael Miller, Moda, Riley Blake,  AGF, and Free Spirit. Choose your favourite or explore a manufacturer that’s new to you — or mix it up! As a web-based app, you don’t have to download anything — you can simply play around on the site and save an image of your quilt design when you are happy with it. Here’s a clip of how I played with it:

Patterns are currently available from designers such as Laura Henneberry herself (Commonwealth Quilts), Rebecca Burnett, Rachel Hauser (Stitched in Color) and Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) — with more designer collaborations coming soon. When you purchase the pattern through the PreQuilt shop, we share the proceeds. Give it a go and have fun!

Laura and Gar’s quilt design Vocal as it appears in the PreQuilt app

In Search of Botanical

If you ask anybody who knows me even a little bit, they’ll tell you, “Andrea doesn’t do floral.” I don’t wear flowers. I don’t plant or grow flowers because they always die on me. I don’t have any floral prints in any of my home decor. I don’t draw flowers unless I can’t think of anything to draw. But when you put a challenge in front of me, my response will usually be, “Challenge Accepted.”

This quilt is titled In Search of Botanical and marks the beginning of my quest to find my own version of floral. It’s my entry into QuiltCon 2019’s Two-Color Quilt Challenge. It hasn’t been accepted yet, but whether or not that happens is irrelevant to the work itself!

So back to flowers: Don’t get me wrong, I like flowers. Like a bouquet of flowers. And I appreciate flowers — I see their beauty and their appeal. But I don’t often find floral prints that really feel like “me.” There are artists that do work that really appeals to me — Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., Leah Duncan, Brie Harrison and Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou. Many other artists can also be found in Uppercase’s Encyclopedia of Inspiration “Botanica”. And so I set out to find my own style.

Many people say that copying is a form of flattery. Others consider it an infringement of copyright. To me, it’s a way of learning. From a cultural perspective, I’ve had a glimpse at how a Chinese art teacher approaches learning versus how we learn art in a Canadian public school. (Disclaimer: Times have changed, so I’m sure that both have evolved substantially since my experience.) A Western mindset prizes freedom of expression and creativity so a class’ works will look very different across the board. A Chinese approach focuses on technique first then expression later so a class might have works that look very similar to start. I tend towards the latter in my own practice — give me the tools to express myself so that when I have something to say, I can say it accurately and eloquently.

So I started with these inspirational artists and looked at motifs that I liked. I drew them to figure out if I could “make them mine.” As I went along, I continued to layer inspiration and constraints that influenced the design:

  • QuiltCon’s Two-Color Quilt Challenge: Prints may be used as long as they consist of ONLY two colors. Thread color and binding needs to match the two colors in the quilt. Backing can be any color. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2018. 
  • I was also inspired by an article on gilded artwork and illuminated manuscripts in Uppercase Magazine Issue #38 and went in search of gold metallic fabric and finally found some at The Quilted Castle. It’s from a holiday collection by Windham Fabrics from a few years back.
  • I had a couple of Riley Blake fat quarters in my studio with white and gold metallic and put them into the mix.
  • Learning a new skill. I wanted to try my hand at needle-turn applique since Carolyn Friedlander/Leah Duncan’s Wildabon quilt was a large influence.

A test block based on Suzy Quilt’s Aria quilt pattern.

Let’s talk timeline. (Laughs out loud).

  • July: I was inspired and got my fabrics.
  • August: I tried my hand at needle-turn appliqué and tested a block based on Suzy Quilts’ free pattern Aria.
  • Beginning of October: I whipped up the design in Adobe Illustrator in a couple of hours one evening in August or September.r
  • Mid-October: Started it  on a day trip to Lunenburg for the CCF conference. I got… 3 petals done.

  • November 18: Watched two CreativeBug classes by Carolyn Friedlander on how to do needle-turn applique.
  • November 21: Packed it up and travelled to Montreal/Ottawa for some teaching.
  • November 22-28: Plane rides, train rides, hotel rooms – needle-turning and hand stitching.
  • November 29: Basted, quilted, bound.
  • November 30: Photographed and submitted to QuiltCon.

I really like the medium contrast of these two colours. I like that they’re both “neutral”-“ish”. The gold fabric is basically a cotton completely covered in gold metallic ink. It’s heavy and stiff and feels almost like plastic. It was nice in that the edges didn’t fray as I was turning them under but it was a bit hard jabbing my needle in.

So my final verdict? I loved the process of making this quilt top, but I really dislike the quilting that I did with gold thread. Overall, I am so happy that I made this quilt on a weird timeline and will certainly be doing more needle-turn appliqué in the future. We’ll see what the jury has to say, I guess!

***UPDATE*** This quilt did not get accepted to QuiltCon 2019, but I am nevertheless glad that I ventured into the world of needle-turn appliqué.

The back of the quilt top before the basting stitches were removed.

Front of the quilt top before the basting stitches were removed.

Part 1: What Does Community Mean to You?

Through the Our Song, Your Reflection project, I wanted to share stories of how community has helped, influenced, transformed the work and lives of quilters/artists/businesspeople. I invited a few people to make star blocks, specific to the #oursongquilt design or their own take on it, and tell us a bit about what their community means to them. I’m so inspired! I will be assembling these blocks into a collaborative quilt later this summer.

From Alyce Blyth of Blossom Heart Quilts: “I know that for me, the quilting community means everything! It’s brought me lifelong friendships with other creatives who understand this passion to create, and as an introvert, having such a meaningful way to connect with other people has opened up the world to me.”

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When Andrea of @3rdstoryworkshop asked me to be involved in her new project, I was thrilled! I was (and still am) rather obsessed with her Elsewhere Bee quilt, so I'm honoured to be included in her new collaborative project with songwriter @themeaghansmith and make this block for #oursongquilt. ✨ The project celebrates community and the passions that connect us. I know that for me, the quilting community means everything! It's brought me lifelong friendships with other creatives who understand this passion to create, and as an introvert, having such a meaningful way to connect with other people has opened up the world to me! 💫 To find out all about this amazing project that involves a quilt (swipe to see the quilt!!), pattern, a song, and swag (hello, enamel pin!) and more, check out the link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile.

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From Stacey O’Malley of SLOstudio:  “I started making quilts in 2014, when I had moved far away from family and friends. Finding the quilting community – both online and in real life through guilds – has brought me many friends, inspiration and motivation – the community has been a network of support and encouragement for sure!”

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I made this ✨ star block to participate in a new project that Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop launched last week – the #oursongquilt which celebrates our community. 💖 . . I started making quilts in 2014, when I had moved far away from family and friends. Finding the quilting community – both online and in real life through guilds – has brought me many friends, inspiration and motivation – the community has been a network of support and encouragement for sure! Thank you ☺️💖! . . . Andrea collaborated with songwriter @themeaghansmith to create the #oursongquilt ➡️ swipe for the pic of the beautiful lone star swan quilt! You can pre-order the quilt pattern, hear the song and share your story in the music video through this project! Check out the link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile for all the details. #quilting

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From my local pal and fabric designer, Julia Wentzell of Briar Hill Designs: “This project is about having a community/tribe/chosen family, where we feel like we belong, and we all lift one another.”

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✨✨What does having community mean to you? Two friends of mine have collaborated on a special project! I met Andrea through the @_maritimemqg and we easily became friends. @themeaghansmith and I have been friends for 20 years, and I’ve always admired her big heart and incredible songwriting skills. They’ve collaborated on a project where Andrea’s quilt and Meaghan’s song speak of the same message- Having a community/tribe/chosen family, where we feel like we belong, and we all lift one another. Except for my University days which, (I’ve said this before) was like a fairy tale, I’ve spent most of 3 decades sewing solo. Choosing to join the Maritime MQG, teaching @patchhalifax and sewing with friends @seam_work have been such a delight for me. Being with people with the same passion makes easy friends, (friends who totally feel your pain when you need to use a stitch ripper, or the joy of perfect points, #amiright ?) That’s what the message of Andrea’s quilt, and Meaghan’s song are -seeing your reflection in the light of another. Check out @3rdstoryworkshop feed for more info. 💛 #oursongquilt #igquiltcommunity #quiltyfriends #quiltyfriendsarethebest #quilt #quiltblock #community #shininglikeastar

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From local business owner and quilting teacher Adrienne Klenck of Seam Work: “As I taught others to make quilts I saw that I have a strength that I did not know I had — I’m a good teacher! In classes I started to see my passion for making and what it does for me (it soothes my depressed mind in more ways than I can count) in the reflection of others and it made my heart sing.”

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Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter Meaghan Smith, have collaborated on a project that celebrates community and the passions that connect us. Our Song, Your reflection has really got me thinking about community. I used to be a solitary sewer but that all changed five years ago. I started the @_maritimemqg and then started teaching @patchhalifax All of a sudden I had found my people! My new community was made of up strong and inspiring men and women who all spoke my language, the language of making and doing for others. This was inspiring enough, but then something else happened, as I taught others to make quilts I saw that I have a strength that I did not know I had, I’m a good teacher! In classes I stared to see my passion for making and what it does for me (it sooths my depressed mind in more ways than I can count) in the reflection of others and it made my heart sing. That song gave me the courage to open Seam Work with the dream of making that generous community even just a little bit bigger! Check out @3rdstoryworkshop feed for more info. 💛 #oursongquilt #igquiltcommunity #quiltyfriends #quiltyfriendsarethebest #quilt #quiltblock #community #shininglikeastar

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From Kitty Wilkin (a.k.a. NIght Quilter): “What would life be without the ability to create beauty, inspire others, collaborate to help make the world a more beautiful, peaceful, and nurturing place for all, and to share in the wonder and beauty of the natural world with like-minded people!?”

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60/100 of #100daysofsewsmaller for #the100dayproject is a miniaturized #oursongquilt block, along with its regular sized friend. A while back, Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop asked if I would want to participate in a project celebrating our community of makers, and of course my answer was a resounding yes! ✨I'm grateful to have found this wonderful community of quilters, since living in rural Maine, there aren't any guilds that meet near enough to me to make it possible for me to attend as a mom of little ones. When I began my blog NightQuilter and later joined Instagram, I was newly a mom of 2 (and now 3!) and the few minutes I spent quilting and creating each day helped feed my creative soul and keep me sane. Being able to connect with other quilters was such a lifeline in those wee hours of the sleepless nights, and now I consider many of those early quilty connections my dearest friends. What would life be without the ability to create beauty, inspire others, collaborate to help make the world a more beautiful, peaceful, and nurturing place for all, and to share in the wonder and beauty of the natural world with like-minded people!? I'm so happy to have found my tribe, and I'm happy to help spread the word about this project that celebrates community and the passions that connect us.💕 . A collaboration between Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter @themeaghansmith, #oursongquilt celebrates just that–community and the passions that connect us. You can get the song, pre-order the quilt pattern and fabric kit, get limited-edition swag (enamel pin!), and share your community's story in the music video through this project! Link in @3rdstoryworkshop ‘s profile. 💕 . Swipe to see the full quilt created by Andrea, and visit the link in @3rdstoryworkshop 's profile to find out more!✨ . I love this photo of big and little… the large 2”x6” Our Song Quilt star block with the shrunken 1 1/4” block paired with the big and little spools of @aurifilthread (1148-Light Jade) that perfectly match the Capri Kona cotton by @robertkaufman I used for the blocks. 😍💎✨ . #sewsmaller #the100dayproject2018 #quiltingcommunity #aurifilthread #matchymatchy #bigandlittle

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Our Song, Your Reflection

I have teamed up with award-winning songwriter and musician Meaghan Smith to create Our Song, Your Reflectiona celebration of community through music and quilting. The project gets to the core of what makes us tick as creatives — connecting people and connecting with people through our art. The project is structured as a crowdfunding campaign that invites contributors to be a part of the “Your Reflection” music video, to increase offerings associated with the release of the song and the quilt pattern, and to celebrate the “us” in our communities.

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Banner Year: Colour Considerations

Banner Year is the first 3rd Story Workshop pattern that is traditionally pieced, and not paper pieced! This is a beginner-friendly pattern that comes together quickly and fits a nursery, pre-teen or teen’s room or a living room depending on the colour palette you choose. The pattern comes with instruction with a “spectrum” colour option and a “scrappy” option. The spectrum is a rainbow with rows in different hues, as shown below.

 

Quilt by Adrienne Klenck of Seam Work.

Here are some other colour options to consider:

First up is a staggered rainbow. It takes all the same fabric selection and block construction as the original “spectrum” option and rearranges the colours for a diagonal colour arrangement. It’s just as orderly but gives is a different sort of pizzazz. Here it’s shown in with neutral backgrounds to let the happy colours shine in all their glory.

For the lap size (shown at left): Take one banner from each colour grouping for each row, starting with the following colours:

  • Row 1: Pink
  • Rows 2 & 3: Yellow
  • Rows 4 & 5: Teal
  • Rows 6 & 7: Purple

For the twin size (shown at right): Take five (5) pairs of banners from each colour grouping for each row. Each row will start with a different colour, as in the original pattern.

Above, we have some monochromatic schemes with dark backgrounds. The blue lap sized pictured at left has all banners in each row using the same fabrics for the banners. The dark green to the left has is more randomized. It could be a scrappy selection of fabrics all in the same hue/colour.

Here, we see a neutral and monochromatic colour scheme to the left. Each banner is constructed with the same fabrics all the way through. To the right, we see a monochromatic and scrappy selection with a neutral background. Here’s what that could looks like in a finished quilt:

Is there a sports fan in your life? There is certainly a couple that live in my house. Using a complementary background colour with a monochromatic set of banners makes them look like pennants.

You can see how Banner Year could be really sophisticated or fitting for a fun kid’s room. It represent different things depending on your fabric selections. Play around with some fabrics from your stash and have fun with it!

Banner Year in V & Co. Ombre Confetti. The instructions for this baby quilt in these fabrics is included in the pattern as a special insert.

Icebergs and Narwhals

I had the opportunity to develop another pattern from a commission (first one was the Sleepy Fox pattern) and this time, I went underwater. When my son’s preschool teacher approached me about making a wall hanging for the classroom, I had in mind to try this business model again.

The teacher had travelled up north to Nunavut in recent years and teaches a unit on the Arctic in the winter months. I had also spotted a small print of a Lawren Harris painting in her classroom. He was a member of the famous Group of Seven, who all had their own takes on Canadian landscapes. His icebergs are powerful and peaceful at the same time.

Mountain Forms, an iconic 1926 Rocky Mountain canvas by Group of Seven founder Lawren Harris (Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

Using a similar improvisational technique to the series of pin cushions I did last summer, I constructed the icebergs with loose overall dimensions in mind. A gradation of white/baby blue/pale aqua formed the icebergs above water and deeper blues formed the underwater portions. I elongated the darker ones because most of the mass of icebergs resides beneath the surface. (Lessons learned from the Titanic, right? “Iceberg AHEAD!”)

I developed the narwhal patterns simultaneously and had my faithful testers working on the narwhal blocks while I designed the baby quilt. Narwhals usually congregate in groups, so I made one of each of the Dancing Narwhal patterns. And for the third, I made a tuskless version to represent a female and used a mirror image of the pattern simply by printing it out flipped. Most printers have the ability to do this, if you can find the function in your print settings.

Instead of making the full 16″ x 16″ blocks, I omitted the extra background rectangles for the two male narwhals, and finagled a funny Y-seam to insert the female into the group. It did pucker a bit but nothing that a little quilting over couldn’t fix.

SInce the spring, I have been working on free-motion quilting cloud motifs (sketches here and another experiment here). I quilted them over the icebergs and sky in a pale grey thread.

The underwater currents went edge-to-edge and I found a rhythm of spirals and echoing after a few rows. The 80-20 (80% cotton, 20% polyester) batting I used is loftier (“puffier”) than a 100% cotton. In combination with the lighter weight shot cotton that I used for the water, it added so much extra texture to the water.

You can find the Dancing Narwhal patterns here; each comes with a tuskless option, making them female narwhals or like their cousin, the beluga. Check out some other versions of the patterns on Instagram.