Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Big Top Quilt ~ Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration Challenge

Big Top Quilt ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

Yay! I am finally posting finished pictures, inspiration, pattern and voting details for my Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration Challenge quilt! Last July, I was contacted by Free Spirit Fabrics and asked if I wanted to participate in a Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration Challenge. The rules were…

Make a 60 x 60 inch quilt with Denyse Schmidts’s Modern Solids Collection. In the spirit of Denyse’s book “Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration”, the design should be inspired by – or be your own interpretation of – a traditional quilt pattern.

Big Top Quilt ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

Well if you know me, you know I love Denyse Schmidt, I love solids, and I love modern traditionalism! So it was a no brainer. I sat down with my favorite block anthology books, including Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. For those of you that are not familiar with this book, it is completely awesome. It is a hand drawn collection of hundreds (thousands?) of historic quilt blocks and their source. There are no directions for making the blocks, simply drawings of the blocks themselves.

I really was taken with Nancy Cabot’s Spring and Fall quilt block (block 216.27 in this photo).

Big Top Quilt Inspiration ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

I liked that it had the basic shape of flying geese blocks, not a 12″ square. I also liked that it included some unexpected details with the tiny half square triangles inside. They were a bit too much detail for my personal taste though – but I really wanted to incorporate that concept somehow. I went about “modernizing” the block by taking that space and changing it to chunks of solid color.

Big Top Quilt ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

I selected colors for each block from the Modern Solids fat quarter box color families, giving them a really nice, dynamic look. For the quilt top layout, I alternated the direction of the blocks throughout the quilt, and incorporated a lot of negative space. I think it really keeps your focus on the design, without it getting too cluttered.

Big Top Quilt ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’ve made a quilt pattern for this design, so far available only as a PDF download. I named it “Big Top” because they remind me of little tents. :) You can find the pattern in my shop.

Big Top Quilt ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

And now for voting details! You can vote for your favorite quilt now through October 14th in a few places:

FreeSpirit Facebook Album
FreeSpirit Blog
FreeSpirit Pinterest Board

I’ve said before, this was a VERY friendly challenge. All of us participating know and respect each other. Everyone’s quilts are so great! So go over and pick your favorite quilt that embodies the “Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration” goal. But trust me, it will be very hard to pick a favorite!

October 9, 2014   32 Comments

Playful Petals

Playful Petals Mini Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Today I’m thrilled to be the next stop on Corey Yoder of Little Miss Shabby’s blog tour celebrating her new book, Playful Petals. I first “met” (virtually of course!) Corey in my very first online quilting bee back in 2009. I was pretty new to quilting and I couldn’t believe I was invited to be in a bee. It didn’t take me long to realize Corey was amazing. I mean, REALLY, SUPER talented. Everything she made was to the highest quality. I could have been intimidated. Honestly, I was. But I also was motivated to try harder and do my best. I tell you this story because when I found out Corey had a book coming out, there was NO doubt in my mind it would be the highest quality designs and patterns. I was not disappointed.

Playful Petals by Corey Yoder : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Ok, another revelation. I didn’t know Petals were a thing. :) I’ve seen the shape before, and I’ve appliquéd a bit, but the entire Petal premise of this book was new to me. I love trying new things so this has been exciting.

Playful Petals is a collection of 9 quilt projects and 9 “mini” projects that accompany each quilt (think pillows), all of which use appliquéd Petals in different ways. Corey starts out the book with some really great information on appliqué basics (a must read), piecing, fabric, and finishing. (about 30 pages) The book then moves on to the projects.

Playful Petals Starflower : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I really loved so many of the patterns in this book. I decided to make the mini version of the Starflower Quilt. Here’s the full version:

Playful Petals Starflower : Fresh Lemons Quilts

And here’s the mini version:

Playful Petals Starflower Mini Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Rather than make a pillow, I decided on a mini quilt to begin a mini quilt wall in my sewing room. That is, if my daughter doesn’t see it and snatch it for her dolls first. I followed Corey’s appliqué instructions in the book and easily put my quilt top together.

Playful Petals Starflower  Mini Quilt: Fresh Lemons Quilts

I stitched a blanket stitch around the petals (stitch #720 on my Bernina 750QE). I am the s-l-o-w-e-s-t blanket stitch stitcher in town. I used some of that new Aurifil Thread from the Favorite Things box!

Playful Petals Starflower Mini Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I quilted a free motion meandering in the white background space. I love the texture it gave the quilt, combined with the appliqué. I quilted straight lines, 1/4″ apart in the outer wide turquoise border. I finished it off with a light gray plus print for the binding, from Cotton + Steel. I love how it turned out! Big thanks to Corey for once again motivating me to try something new. :)

Playful Petals Blog Hop by Corey Yoder : Fresh Lemons Quilts

You can keep up with more projects from Playful Petals on the below blogs:

September 15: Amy @ Stitchery Dickery Dock
September 16: Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 17: Jessica @ Quilty Habit
September 18: Faith @ Fresh Lemons Quilts – Me!
September 19: Amy @ Diary of a Quilter
September 22: Sherri @ A Quilting Life
September 23: Amber @ Gigi’s Thimble
September 24: Lori @ Bee in My Bonnet
September 25: Amanda @ Crazy Mom Quilts
September 26: Lee @ Freshly Pieced

The blog tour will end with a giveaway on Corey’s blog, Little Miss Shabby.

September 18, 2014   10 Comments

Travel Home

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My first back-to-school finish! It only took almost 2 years. I’m so happy today to share with you my finished Arkansas Traveler quilt. I decided to rename it though, since really the blocks have been changed from the original Arkansas Traveler quilt block. I chose “Travel Home” because this quilt is destined to live at home with me, on my couch.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This quilt is the product of a lot of different inspiration sources combined. First, I’ve always been in love with historic two color quilts ~ red and white quilts, blue and white quilts, black and white quilts. There’s just something so striking about them.

Second, around two years ago I discovered Folk Fibers. I am really in awe of their quilts, the process that goes into making them, and then of course the natural colors.

And finally, last year I made an Arkansas Traveler quilt as a wedding gift and it was hard to give up! I knew I wanted to make some version of it again, this time for keeps.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

When I started designing the Travel Home Quilt ever so long ago, I knew I wanted it to have the same overall look as my first Arkansas Traveler quilt. I liked the chain effect…but I didn’t really want to make a quilt that large again. Honestly, for lounging under the couch I just don’t need something bed sized. If I kept the blocks at 12″ finished squares, I would need to make another large quilt to create a nice looking design. I ended up shrinking the blocks to 8″ finished squares. That allowed me to have the chained look, but a smaller quilt. This one finished at 56″ x 72″.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Another change I made to the Arkansas Traveler block was to eliminate the 4 diamonds that made up each quadrant of the block. Instead, I used just one fabric for that space. I did this for a couple of reasons. I did really love the effect of the 4 diamonds in my original quilt (gave a sort of shimmering effect). But since I was doing cream/black prints on this quilt, I thought it would be overly busy and/or not very noticeable. Second, as I shrunk the blocks, the diamonds also shrunk so I though one fabric was plenty for these spots.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Nevermind my son running around like crazy!

The backing is a print from Melody Miller’s Mustang collection for Cotton + Steel. It’s quite different from the front, but I think complimentary. I quilted free motion meandering with a dark blue thread over the blue portions of the quilt, leaving the cream diamonds unquilted. I really wanted this quilt to have a nice, cozy drape after washing and it does! Now let’s see what I can finished next. :)

September 4, 2014   43 Comments

Kits + Quilting

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

With the kids in school, it’s been a remarkably productive couple of days over here. The house is clean, dinner has been planned ahead each night, I’ve actually gone to the gym (shocking!!) and I’ve even spent busy chunks of time in my sewing room.

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This week I also received a great package in the mail. Last week I ordered Moda Fabric’s Modern Building Blocks pattern and kit. I remember seeing this quilt at market and it was one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks moments for me. I love Moda’s Bella Solids and the colors in this quilt, along with the layout of the blocks, really spoke to me. I cannot wait to make this (even if it will have to wait in line a bit until I’m done with other commitments).

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Also, I love the packaging of this kit. I was joking on Instagram that whoever came up with it deserves a promotion! Wouldn’t this make a beautiful birthday or Christmas gift for a quilter? (Husbands…hint hint!)

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The inside has all the fabrics, layout and assembly directions, as well as this handy set of double sided cards with all the block patterns.

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

You can buy this kit at a few of my sponsors:

Pink Chalk Fabrics (pattern only, no fabric)
The Loopy Ewe (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern – PREORDER if link above sold out)
Fat Quarter Shop (pattern only, no fabric)
Lark Cottons

So, besides drooling over this kit for the last few days, I’ve also been working on my sadly neglected Arkansas Traveler quilt! I basted it yesterday while watching Call the Midwife on Netflix. Wow, what a great show (even if it does make me cry at every episode!).

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I started quilting in the blue fabric areas using a coordinating blue thread I had on hand – Aurifil’s Color Me Happy by V & Co’s set. It’s #2775 in a 50wt (orange spool). I’m still debating whether or not to quilt the cream fabrics (with an off white thread) or leave them unquilted, giving it a slightly poofy look.

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m using my Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) which I just realized I’ve been using for 5 years! Obviously I’ve had a lot of time to practice with it. I’ve had some people ask for tips on using it.

• I don’t go too slow or too fast. I try to find a nice, middle of the road speed and stick to it. It might help to get some music (not too crazy now!) with a consistent rhythm and play that while you sew, to get in a nice groove.

• I use Bernina’s single hole stitch plate when stitching straight lines.

• For a while I found that when I was stopping stitching (like to remove a pin), I was taking my foot off the pedal while still moving the fabric slightly. Not good, this leads to messed up stitches. Stop completely before taking your foot off the pedal. When you stop moving the fabric, the stitching will stop as well. (At least does when I use BSR 2).

• If you are feeling like your fabric is getting stuck and you have to pull it (leading to messed up stitches), lessen your pressure foot setting. I’ve had to do this with some fabrics that just didn’t seem to slide well under my foot. Other’s swear by using something called the Supreme Slider on their machine. I don’t have one though.

• And then just practice, practice, practice. When I first sat down to use the BSR I thought I would turn my machine on and suddenly my quilting would be perfect. Um, it wasn’t. lol I needed to still practice. If you still aren’t getting the results you think you should be getting, ask if you can bring your machine into your dealer and have them watch you quilt on your machine. I’m sure they will have tips as well.

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m halfway finished with the blue and about to go upstairs and get cracking again. I can’t wait to (finally!) share this completed quilt with you soon!

August 27, 2014   30 Comments