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. 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!



  1. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    Love this beautiful and interesting Big Top!!

  2. Reply

    M-R @ Quilt Matters

    October 9, 2014

    I absolutely adore your quilt, Faith! Wow! That’s a stunner! Congratulations!

  3. Reply

    Sharon Lichter

    October 9, 2014

    I love your imagination. Such a beautiful quilt.

  4. Reply

    Kathy Guenther

    October 9, 2014

    Absolutely stunning. Love it. Have to make it.

  5. Reply

    Anne Beier

    October 9, 2014

    Lovely quilt, Faith. I like the concept of the “big top” and little tents.
    Question – do you have the pattern copyrighted before you post your quilt? I know you need to do that before you have the pattern published.

    Good luck with the challenge. This is a gorgeous quilt.


  6. Reply

    Dawn Hendrix

    October 9, 2014

    Another BEAUTY!!! GREAT JOB!!

  7. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    I love it! Great work!

  8. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    Wow Faith – it’s stunning. I’ve voted in all three places!

  9. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    I really like this quilt! It looks like you have spent a lot of time on a simple pattern. Very pretty.

  10. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    I have been looking forward to seeing this quilt finished ….. and here she is in all her glory! Just love it!

    I see it as huge flock of geese flying south. I live in very far north-northern Canada where the geese make themselves knows in enormous numbers flying over our property every spring and fall.

    So I see this quilt “as modern flying geese” and would love to make two – one in spring and one in fall colours for the wall in my entrance way.

    I would like the pattern in a paper version however.

    Cheers! and once again – well done!

  11. Reply

    Linda H.

    October 9, 2014

    I have the same book by Barbara Brackman, and look at it often for design ideas. However, I’m not as gifted at taking that black and white drawing as far as you do. You really have a talent for this. Cherish it! Your quilt is stunning. Truly!

  12. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    Simply gorgeous! Bravo!

  13. Reply

    Sharon T

    October 9, 2014

    Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow!

  14. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    it is gorgeous!!! i love it! ;p

  15. Reply

    Linda S

    October 9, 2014

    Love, love love this quilt! So pretty. I have been following your progress on this one, and I have to say it was well worth the wait to see it finished. Bravo.

  16. Reply

    Ivete @ Gotham Quilts

    October 9, 2014

    Gorgeous! Never thought about this sort of variation on a flying geese, it’s brilliant. Good luck!

  17. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    I have been following along with your progress, and so fell in love with this quilt as soon as I saw it. Naturally, with my love of solids, I’m off to purchase the pattern. Really stunning and original, Faith. Well done!

  18. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    truly stunning Faith, congratulations!

  19. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    I have been awaiting the final reveal and enjoying the close up sneak peeks of the blocks. This is just gorgeous! I just voted for you too! Good luck

  20. Reply


    October 9, 2014

    Simply beautiful. I will go look at the other quilts and vote, but can’t imagine voting for anything but this!

  21. Reply

    Karen Shackleford

    October 9, 2014

    Wow, Faith. That came out wonderfully! You are a very good designer. I’m muy impressed!

  22. Reply

    Kim B.

    October 10, 2014

    your quilt is mesmerizing!!


  23. Reply


    October 10, 2014

    Faith, your design is absolutely Outandig!! Beautiful Quilt!
    Congratulations and good luck.

  24. Reply


    October 10, 2014

    It’s beautiful – soooo striking.

  25. Reply

    Kim Beidler

    October 10, 2014

    I just voted for you AND bought the pattern. It’s just gorgeous.

  26. Reply

    Kristen Smith

    October 10, 2014

    Fresh lemon for sure!

  27. Reply


    October 10, 2014

    Big top is beautiful !! I have been a traditional quilter for over 20 years,but I love the modern,abstract strikingly dramatic look. It deserves an award. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Reply

    becky m

    October 10, 2014

    I love this so much! great interpretation!!

  29. Reply

    Rachel Pryer

    October 11, 2014

    I love this quilt, think I’ll go shopping 😉

  30. Reply


    October 12, 2014

    I love this quilt, and have already voted for it. And I will now be heading over to the shop to buy the pattern 🙂

  31. Reply


    October 14, 2014

    Awesome quilt. You killed it!

  32. Reply

    Audrey Hyvonen

    December 3, 2014

    love the quilt- so bright and fresh-and couldn’t resist buying the pattern if only for the name

    • Reply


      December 3, 2014

      Too funny Audrey! Yep, I think it is meant to be. 🙂


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