Modern vs Traditional Quilts

I have been thinking a lot about different styles of quilts these days and even what “style” I may fit into. What got me started on thinking about this is the quilt that I am currently working on which I can’t show as of yet. The quilt I am working on is so very different than the Light Within quilt I just finished and yet I love both quilt designs equally.

The truth is that I don’t have any one style that I like better than any other. I will say that if the quilt design is more traditional I would rather have it scrappy than just made of two or three fabrics and not all one designers fabric either. If a quilt calls for 2 metres of a light background fabric, say white or cream, and I only have 4 half metre cuts in my stash then I will use what I have and make the background scrappy. As long as the value is the same, and the whites or creams are similar then it will look great. I also don’t like ‘mushy’ quilts. What do I mean by that? I mean quilts that are made with fabrics all of the same medium value! I know some people like that but personally I just find them boring and completely lifeless. See an example of what I mean below

In my opinion (and this is just my opinion) the pictured quilt is lifeless, the colours are similar, the value (the light or dark of the colour) are the same and even the print is all small. Yes some fabrics are slightly darker than others but still this is basically boring.

Too cute for words! This sweet baby quilt was pieced together with the gorgious fabric collection called Social Club designed by The Comstocks:




Look how much more exciting this simple quilt is on the left. You have navy as your deep dark, you have contrast in colour, value and size of print. It turns this simple quilt into something that is fun and exciting.


My mother is an artist and the one thing she taught me is that you always have to have a deep dark in your design somewhere. Well I think that holds true for very traditional quilts but maybe not so much for more modern designs which are more about design and colour contrast. Deep dark colours don’t have to be black take a look at these wonderful rich colours below.

All of these colours could be used as a deep dark in a traditional quilt design. Aren’t they wonderful. Look how rich they are. I love the movement these fabrics have as well, notice the lines running through the fabrics and the slightly lighter value change in the Teal Blue.

Now you pair these fabrics up with other fabrics in either the same colour but different value (lighter) or maybe the Crimson with some lighter green fabrics and throw in some different scale prints and you will have a great start to an exiting quilt design.

Which brings me back to what type or style of quilt design I like. I really like scrap quilts, I love the variety and the way the fabric colour and value makes the design really work. I love the quilting being done in the negative space on more modern quilts, I love spiky star designs for that matter I love star quilts period. I love landscape quilts and well I guess there is not much in quilting I don’t like except the mushy lifeless quilts.

What kinds of quilt designs do you like?

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.

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Inspiration Journal

The Light Within Quilt Design

The Light Within-3

Well the quilt got finished and presented to it’s new owner. I am so thrilled with how this turned out that I am in the middle of writing a pattern for this one as I want to make this one again. I will post the pattern for free here once it has been completed.

The quilt design process started as I needed a quilt for someone who is facing surgery, not life threatening but never fun. The person happened to be a male and so you then have the question about what kinds of designs are good for men etc. I knew it would be scrappy as I have bins overflowing with scraps. I use Bonnie Hunter’s scrap system but have modified it to my space and the way I work. So one sunny afternoon I dragged a chair into the sunshine and sat down with a mountain of books and magazines to try and get some inspiration. I saw a few things but nothing that ‘spoke’ to me.Then I saw a pattern that used 2.5 inch strips but in bricks of 5 inches long. That intrigued me as I had a whole bin of 2.5 inch strips that were all different lengths. The pattern was quite random with colours all over the place, which didn’t really work for me so I decided to go with more of a central focus with bands of colour.

The Light Within-5

Here is what the quilt finally morphed into. Like I said, I really love how it turned out. Kinda like a trip around the world except using the 2.5 x 5 inch ‘brinks’ instead of the squares usually used. As mentioned in a previous post it is larger than I had anticipated, I was going for a lap quilt when I started however it turned into a twin size. It is not as large as I thought it would be when it was still laid out on the floor though so that is good.

The back of the quilt is so much fun there is Star Wars and owl fabric and no this quilt was not for a child but he is a huge Star Wars fan. A friend had a piece of Star Wars fabric that she donated for the cause.

For the quilting design I chose a simple leaf pattern. I know leaves again however I enjoy quilting leaves and do quilt many other designs but leaves are so organic and look especially lovely quilted as an overall design. Leaves are symbolic of nature as are the owls and the symbolism works for who the quilt was created for.

On this quilt I wanted the thread to be more in the background especially in the high contrast of the white and yellow areas. I debated about using ‘invisible’ thread but decided against it. I decided to go with Superior Threads So Fine 50 colour 448 Olive and I used Aurfil cotton 50 number 5016 in the bobbin. The thread blended beautifully with the darker colours and didn’t ‘scream’ on the contrasting fabrics so I think it worked well.

The Light Within-10

The person who received the quilt appeared to be thrilled so that is always a good sign. As for the scrap bin…. It is still overflowing so I guess I may need to make one of these quilts for me now.

When life gives you scraps make a quilt!

Happy qulting


Well it’s time to write another blog post and this week I don’t have that much to say. I am working on two projects, one which I just finished however I can’t show either of them as yet. I can tell you about one of them on Monday, after the quilt has been presented.

So if you work from home, have not much going on except projects that you can’t share then what do you write about?

So I guess I will talk about THREAD! Now quilters are known to have a good size fabric stash, although there are quilters out there that actually don’t have a stash they actually only buy fabric for one project at a time and they don’t even save the scraps (more scraps for me) however some of us have a stash of wonderful threads as well.

Thread, it comes very thin right up to very thick thread that you have to couch down or use in the bobbin. It comes sparkly, shiny or invisible. For anyone who loves to embellish their quilts, quilt quilts or do fibre art it is another item to collect. So for me as well as having a fabric stash and book stash I have a fairly extensive thread stash as well.

Here is a small sampling of some of my many different types of thread I have in my stash  um ‘collection’. I have mentioned in my previous posts I really like to use Superior Threads King Tut thread on quilts that don’t have a really defined block and have lots of different fabrics in them. The King Tut is a thicker thread (40 wt) that is usually variegated so it is a fun thread to use for those types of quilt tops. My ‘collection’ includes one spool of every colour, oh except the newest ones I still have to get those.

When I used to teach Beginner machine quilting I soon realized that although there is a lot of information on the internet regarding thread and thread types, there is still a lot of misunderstandings about thread. Isn’t thread something to sew seams with, isn’t it just all the same? Well, no actually there is a lot of differences in thread.

For instance, I piece my quilts with Aurifil thread in a 50 wt cotton in a neutral colour. Now a lot of quilters use Mettler thread and it says the same thing, 50 wt cotton on the spool. Since it says the same thing you would think it would sew up the same wouldn’t you? Not so, the Aurifil is actually thinner. I tried to get a picture to prove it but couldn’t get a good enough one so you will have to compare it for yourself. When you are trying to get that perfect 1/4 inch seam the Aurifil thread is better suited for that as it takes up less space in the seam allowance.

This applies to threads for the actual quilting, not all threads are created equal. Wonderfil has some luscious looking threads however I find that their metallic thread can be prone to twisting up on itself. This means the thread breaks every few inches and on a longarm it can be frustrating and disastrous.  On the other hand I have used Superior Threads Metallic threads for quilting on both my domestic and longarm machines with no issues whatsoever. Once I had a spool of metallic thread from Superior that was wound on the spool incorrectly and it wouldn’t come off properly. I sent a picture of the issue to Superior Threads in Utah and they sent me a brand new spool free of charge and an apology. I have to say I love Superior Threads for the thread, customer service and education (value) they provide on their website, but that is another story.

Regarding the above Wonderfil threads has a thread called Silco which is a 35 wt cotton thread in variegated colours. I do own several spools of this thread however, I find the tension slips on it. I find this when I quilt on both my domestic machine and on the longarm. You can be quilting along fine and then suddenly you have these loops. I simply don’t find that happening on other brands of threads I use.

That all said I have used Wonderfil DecoBob a 80 wt polyester (very thin thread) and the 100 wt polyester Invisafil thread on all my machines without any issues whatsoever.

As you may have noticed by now I am partial to Superior Threads and own a lot of their thread but I do have another favourite which I absolutely love to quilt with and that is Fil-Tec Glide thread! It really does ‘glide’ through the machine and is simply a beautiful thread to work with. Unfortunately it is another thread I have to mail order so I only have a few colours of it.

When I want the quilting to be more subtle and play more of a background role I chose either the Aurifil 50 wt cotton or the Superior Threads Sew Fine 50 wt Polyester thread in a colour that blends.  I have a spool in every colour of the Sew Fine 50. Got to love the thread of the month clubs especially as when I joined there was free shipping to Canada. Not sure if that deal is still going on as I don’t belong to the clubs anymore.


Well it turns out I had more to say about thread than I thought and I haven’t really even touched the surface so I guess now I will have something to write about next week while I continue working on the project I can’t show.

My soul is fed by needle and thread.

Happy Quilting




Playful I Spy Baby Quilt

Happy Canada Day! We have had such beautiful weather here in Victoria and today it decided to try to rain. Wouldn’t you know it! The day that everyone is supposed to be outside picnicking and celebrating. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I just finished quilting a really cute and playful I Spy baby quilt for a client. When the client made the quilt she didn’t have a recipient in mind but as it so happens life has now provided a home for the quilt and I’m sure that whomever gets this quilt will be overjoyed.

Donna Baby Quilt-1

Isn’t this just too cute. I love the fun fabrics used in this one.

Donna Baby Quilt-2

Here is a better look at some of the fabrics. For a quilting design I chose a loop-de-loop with a star as some of the fabrics had stars in it and other fabrics, like the honey bee fabric, had loops so it seemed a good choice. Beside it’s fun and I thought in keeping with the nature of the quilt itself.

I find I always question the thread colour on quilts like this though do you? You don’t want to use an invisible thread on a baby quilt or I should say I don’t want to use one yet you have a very strong contrast in values playing out that you have to work with. In this case that wonderful medium green playing along side all of those different playful fabrics some darker than the green and some a lot lighter.

I tried a lot of different choices and now as I am writing this I realize I should have photographed those choices to show you the different ones I tried so I will have to remember to do this next time. I’m still learning with this blogging thing. Anyhow, I tried lots of different choices, I tried a thread that would blend with 80% of the different prints but was WAY too light for the green borders etc. In the end I decided that I would stick with a variegated King Tut thread from Superior Threads. The King Tut is thicker than some of the choices I tried but I love it for baby quilts as it is a fun thread that keeps with the playful theme of some of these types of quilts. I found that 923 Fahl Green was the best match and I decided the thread should really blend with the borders and sashing because the whole idea (at least in my mind, hopefully the client will agree with me) the blocks should be the ones that stood out. The Fahl Green is a nice medium green and I found that it did in fact blend nicely with the majority of the different fabrics and seemed to play nice with the fabrics it contrasted with without taking over the show too much. I used Superior Threads Bottom Line 645 Bright Green in the bobbin. You can’t really see the stitching in the back as the print is so busy. You can’t tell from this photo but the print is a really fun cat print.

Donna Baby Quilt-3

I mentioned on a previous post how neat and precise the seams are on the back of this particular clients quilt. I have included a picture here. The back of the quilt top is almost as beautiful as the front!!

Donna Baby Quilt-6

Well back to sewing my strips onto the brink quilt I have in progress. Only 8 more strips to sew on before I can show you the finished quilt top.

Quilting is sharing yourself with other. Don’t you just love this quote.

Happy Quilting


“Under the Needle” Quilters Style

Well haven’t got up to too much this past weekend. The weather has turned sunny and warm here in Victoria but other than working and sewing not much else is going on. My partner and I were invited to a pot luck by a neighbour on Saturday night. At the townhouse complex where I live there is a clubhouse that can be rented for a very reasonable rate. My neighbour is a member in a band that plays songs from the 50’s and 60’s. I helped make the banner for the band called Trilogy. It was a lot of fun singing along to all of the old songs I remembered as a child. Of course I remembered afterward that I didn’t take any pictures. There were people there who took some videos so I will see if I can’t get hold of some pictures and video to post here.

I am currently making a quilt for someone who has to undergo an operation due to cancer. It started out as a lap quilt but it kinda grew. Now I think it will be almost a bed quilt when it is done. I got my inspiration from a quilt in a book that was scrappy and used 2.5 inch strips cut into 5 inch logs. I have so many scraps so I thought this was a good idea. I didn’t totally like the design of the quilt in the book just the “brink” idea so I changed it up and started designing on my design wall.

The Light Within-1

Not sure why I didn’t stop there but I wanted more colour so I continued. Before I knew it I had to move the quilt from the design wall to the design floor. I am happy with the way the quilt is progressing but it is now pretty much queen sized. Oh well. To top it all off, even though I used many scraps I still have a ton of 2.5 inch strips left!!

I worked on it until late last night (that is about 10:00 pm for me these days) and was up early this morning trying to get things to a place where I could get the top and strips up off the floor but at the same time not lose all of the hard work I did with the colour placement.

The Light Within-2

Here is a shot of the quilt top with the brinks sewn into rows which I completed last night. As you can see there is not a lot of room to walk around this sucker so I needed it up off the floor so I could walk in my studio. As mentioned it kinda grew but I am liking how this is turning out. Not sure if the person I was making this for could use a bed quilt or if I should make another quilt that is more of a lap size. We’ll see how this turns out and how time permits. I wanted a project that was fast and easy and used up my scraps. Well, this was fairly easy, used up my scraps but fast…not so much. It takes awhile to see 33 2.5 inch rows  that are 82 inches long together even with all of the seams being offset. Thank goodness they are!!

Behind every quilter there is a huge pile of fabric!

Happy Quilting