Thursday, August 19, 2021

Focus Squared

 I remember a conversation I had with someone early in my journey as a quilt designer.  When she suggested I should try partnering with fabric companies, I couldn't fathom how to do that. I had always designed first, then looked for fabric that would work well with the design.  I was convinced I couldn't be inspired by fabric first.

Guess what?  I was wrong.  Maybe seeing so many different fabrics on a regular basis while working at the local quilt shop for five years had something to do with it.  In the past few years I have begun working with fabric companies to cross-promote their fabric and my patterns. Those collaborations usually begin with a call for design submissions accompanied by digital fabric swatches of upcoming fabric lines.  Sometimes I have an existing pattern that would work, but often it's fun to start fresh and just play with those swatches.

That's how Focus Squared came to be.

Blue and cream floral quilt hanging on tree branch

My pattern cover quilt is actually the sample I made to test the pattern I wrote to showcase a particular fabric in Connecting Threads' new Garden Gems collection, but as the actual fabric was not available before the pattern was due I selected alternate fabrics at my local shop.  Having to use alternate fabrics for the test also reassured me that the design is not completely dependent on the fabric I designed with.  I really want my patterns to be useful beyond a single fabric collection!

Here's a better view of the design.

Blue and cream floral quilt draped over iron railing

Here's how the design looked when I submitted it to Connecting Threads for consideration.  My intention was to really showcase one bold print, the kind you don't want to cut up too small. 

Framed floral squares in a quilt layout

I think the staff at Connecting Threads may have had a color scheme in mind to fit in with the rest of the quilts in the catalog spread.  While the design caught their eye, they asked me to recolor it with different coordinating fabrics.

It uses the same floral, but the alternate coordinating fabrics give it a much different feel.  This is the version the company prepared as kits, available now on the Connecting Thread website.

Lynn (@momofpeaches) kindly offered to test this pattern.  She had a print she had been hoarding for a while, and chose to showcase it in her test quilt, using colors in the print to choose the other fabrics..

I really think this design works well to showcase a favourite print.  It isn't limited to floral print.  I'm still very tempted by a Christmas version using Timber Gnomies by Shelly Comiskey from Henry Glass  fabrics.  I may never get to it (so many ideas, so little time!) but if you do I'd love to see a picture.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures of my sample Focus Squared, because, well, it's blue!  Need I say more?

The Focus Squared pattern is available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop.  For a print version, ask your favourite quilt shop to order the pattern for you.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Quilter on Fire podcast episode

Have you discovered the Quilter On Fire podcast yet?  It has become my favourite thing to listen to while I cut fabric. I cut slowly, so I've had plenty of time to binge-listen to diverse quilters sharing their quilting stories as they chat with Brandy Maslowski, the podcast host.  It's always entertaining, and I always look forward to the next episode.

That's why I was thrilled when Brandy invited me to be a guest on the podcast.  I enjoyed chatting with her back in June, and the episode went live yesterday! 

I spilled about how I started quilting and designing and what I'm planning for Canuck Quilter in the next few months.  There's a bit about a Star Trek uniform in there as well.  If you haven't heard that story, you'll have to go listen to the podcast.  If you have heard the story, I hope you'll listen anyway.  There's a huge Canuck Quilter pattern giveaway to sweeten the deal!  I sent patterns to Brandy to do with as she pleased and she chose to offer them as a giveaway prize. You can enter that here.

While you go listen, I'll be in my sewing room binding a stack of quilts.  I filmed a little sneak peek video of the unbound quilts to share with you, but I haven't figured out how to get them from the camera to the computer.  Until I sort that out, I'll leave you with a photo of the stack.

Happy quilting,