Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Value in color schemes for quilts

This blog is going to be a very short one. I just found out that they have finished the video of my ideas on color schemes for LibraryYOU at the Escondido Public Library. It's kind of fun and there's a lot of other interesting videos at this same site so check it out and let me know what you think of it. 

Value in color schemes

This is a shot of some watercolor quilts I did a while back but they give you a very good idea of my ideas about color schemes, especially when it comes to value in quilts. Value is the difference between light and dark and that can be very important in creating a vibrant lively quilt with lots of movement in it.

There are lots of ways of telling the value of a particular fabric. One of the easier ways is to use a value finder which you can buy at almost any fabric store. It's rectangular piece of red plastic you look through at your fabrics and it can tell you right away if it's light or dark. The one on the left is called a "Ruby beholder" the other is a piece of plastic I got at a quilt show.  Both each work well.

This is what you see, before and after through the red plastic.

 You can tell the value of a fabric easier when the color is  'not in the way'. 

So be sure to pick different values for your quilts and Happy Quilting. 


Monday, March 12, 2012

Finished quilts

I finished off a lot of quilts this past week, (well 6 to be exact).  It is very easy for me to start on a new quilt top before I complete the current top.  So I got to work and although I planned, in my mind, a number of new quilts, I was able to finish my  top stash.
First I finished the Irish Chain :

Then I added boarders to the Autumn Virginia Reel, which I know made it look much better.

Next came the Medallion (the center is a Feathered Star) quilt and the Half Log Cabin, check out the back side of them.
The back of this one, the Half Log Cabin, shows one of my favorite things to do to back a quilt.  I use up as much of the left over scraps from the front as possible.  Sometimes I also use fabric from other quilts if I like the way the color goes with the top. Which is how I backed the Medallion and the Country Lanes quilts.
The last one I worked on was another Virginia Reel, which I made using the colors from the blueberry photo in Souplantation.

So this is what I did this past week, backing, tying, quilting, and binding these quilts.  It was fun and very satisfying when I finished them.  They are all for sale so get in touch with me at or reply to this blog. Also check out my website:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Make a quilt top in an afternoon or Irish Chain quickly

First pick a quilt pattern, an easy one if you want it done in an afternoon.   In honor of St. Pat we are doing Irish chain, pictured above.  This is an old well used lap size quilt, but it shows the pattern well and because I made this one opposite to the usual color placement (light for dark, dark for light) it gives you something to think about.

Next go to your stash...or fabric store and pick out some fabric you like.  For this Irish Chain (IC) I keep to one color and I made sure to pick fabric in the light and dark categories for good contrast. You can pick just 2 fabrics as I did in the blue one above, or since I wanted to use up some scraps and small cuts of fabric I picked a variety of prints.
I picked a number of prints and then thinned them down to the few light and dark ones I wanted to use.

I cut a number of strips of light and dark at exactly 3 inches.  Be very careful your cutting is straight and 3 inches.  If not your block will not end up square and corners won't match.

Next cut 8 inch strips, from only your light fabric, then sub-cut them into 8 inch squares.  You will need 18 plain light squares for the lap size quilt.

Now start sewing your 3 inch strips together along the long edges, light to dark.

Make sure your seems are just 2 or 3 threads less than a 1/4 inch.  This is important again so that your blocks come out the right size and fit together easily.

Add another dark strip on the opposite side of two of these original strip sets.

And add a light strip on the opposite side of two of the original strips.

Press all seems to the dark side ( I had a quilt instructor once called it Darth Vader ironing).
Cut the long sets into smaller strips exactly 3 inches wide.

You will need 34 of these:

You will need 17 of these:

Now sew them together so they look like this:
You should have 17 of these. They are called 9 patch blocks.

Now you will begin to sew the solid squares to the nine patch blocks so you have 4 long strips that look like this:
Note this strip begins and ends with a solid block.

Next sew 3 long strips that look like this:

This strip begins and ends with a 9 patch block.

Next sew your long strips together so they look like this:

You can see that I started and ended with the strip that has the solid square first.

You have made a quilt top, and all in one afternoon.

Some notes to consider...
I will be adding a border to my top to make it look more finished and to be a little bigger.  I am going to use a medium green for this.  Also you can switch the light and dark values in your quilt as I did in the blue one shown at first.  It is very nice as well.  You may also note that in the blue quilt, my light color was a very large print.  Don't be afraid to use large prints in quilts, especially simple ones such as Irish Chain or trip around the world.  Large prints can give a nice lacy effect to the blocks.  I think the important thing in picking out fabrics for an Irish Chain is that you have good contrast between your fabrics no matter from what part of the color wheel you pick.  Happy quilting.