Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winter Inspiration

I was trying to think of what would be a good wintertime quilt for a person who lives somewhere it doesn't snow. My first thought was a pine tree. They're easy to make and can be pretty all on their own. It's also an excellent block for a christmas quilt. So I've made a tree tutorial, it's now on my blog.

I think a quilt just like this would be lovely. The dots can be stars or snow, however you choose to look at it. Maybe the word "peace". That's a great word to do in all capital letters, including the A that's made like an H (no slants) if you've never tried the letters before.

By the way, if you've never done any free-piecing before, do realize there is a learning curve. It helps to do the same block over and over again a few times until you get the hang of it.

I could also throw some snowflakes (aka asterisks) into my scene. These are made with a 4" background and 1" strips. I think I'll add background fabric to the corners of the block in order to round off the snowflakes. I'd also do at least one more flake - four is an awkward number. Five would be better.

Here's another tree quilt for inspiration. This is Blue Spruce by Gwen Marston. She's my hero.

You can't get a more simply pieced quilt, it's definitely a showcase for her marvelous quilting. If you love hand quilting, I hope you've checked out a copy of Quilting with Style by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham. Holy Cow! The book is out of print and usually it costs an arm or a leg, but there's a glut of them right now at Fantastic prices. If you love hand quilting, go get a copy. I highly recommend it.

The other fun place to look for hand quilting inspiration is Joe Cunningham's Freehand Quilting.

Back to talking about trees... You can make them really scrappy. When you put a tree shape down on a background? Well you could layer a stack of four background blocks and then mix and match the resulting shapes.

And you know how you end up with a tree shape after you've cut out the background? Well change it somehow before you use it again. Make it skinnier or leaning to one side, make it shorter... You want all the blocks to be different. That's the advantage to free-piecing - if everything is different and a bit wonky, then nothing is wrong.

You could use just scrappy trees for a top, or add words. You could use the trees as alternate blocks between Hugs and Kisses 4-Patches (aka Xs and Os - see the Take the Leap Challenge for more info. Xs and Os are easy to make, that's why I recommend them). Or alternate blocks between houses or anything else you can think of.

If you're wondering how in the heck this class works, this is basically it. I give you tools in the tutorials and then I throw lots and lots of ideas at you. Pick something that you want to work on and start making blocks. If you're at all stuck or unsure of where to start, then write a post about what your ideas or inspirations are, and then we can all work together to get you started.

Did you see the wonderful JOY that Juliann made? Those are more great letters to practise with - they're easy and soooo happy.


KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

I don't recall ever seeing that GW quilt, but I LOVE it! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I have to second the Quilting with Style book. It's a must-have. I love your white trees on that blue fabric. It looks like you are well on your way to a gorgeous little winter quilt!

Helen in the UK said...

Love Gwen's quilt with the single tree. Very graphic with BEAUTIFUL quilting. Thanks for sharing :)

Diane said...

This has always been one of my favorite Gwen quilts--so simple, yet so elaboate at the same time.

Helen said...

The blue fabric is fabulous and the white looks great with it. The quilting on Gwen's quilt is wonderful. thanks.

Hedgehog said...

Tonya, too much on my plate to participate at thsi point, but I will lurk around here!! Just wanted to say hey - and that I LOVE these two blue and white winter quilts!

sophie said...

I bought the book, based on your recomendation and because I own and love GM's two Liberated books. It arrived today. I'm happy with my purchasse and also a little surprised because I expected to find the blue tree quilt in it. Where DID that photo come from?