Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mad for Solids: VOTE!!

Today is my day......

Go vote for your favorite paint Brush Studios Mad for Solids bundle.
Here is a reminder:
"Colorado Spring"
Click here to vote:
on IG
on Inspired by Fabric blog: here

There are prizes to be won, but only if you VOTE!!!!!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Colorado Spring and March Madness (Quilter's Version)

It's that time of the year again and this is by far the best March Madness event out there (sorry NCAA).  Sponsored by Paint Brush Studios and featuring their Painter's Palette solids , this years 2017 Mad for Solids bracket features 16 quilters going head to head in what will be a fun event for everyone.

And there are prizes. Fabric prizes. Every day from Monday, March 27- Thursday, April 6th you can vote (via their blog link above or on IG) for your favorite 8-color fabric bundle. The winners of each day progress all the way to the championship pairing. All voters in the championship game will be entered to win 1/4 yard cuts of the winning bundle (that's 2 yards of fabric!!!!).

Here is my bundle called "Colorado Spring". I chose these 8 colors, (from a gorgeous collection of 168 options), as a reminder after a dry and mostly brown winter, these colors represent  little purple crocus and the tiny yellow green leaf buds all pictured against the vast blue Colorado sky.

Voting for my bundle starts on Thursday, March 30, 2017. I'd love your vote!

Blog voting:
IG voting: @paintbrushstudio

Friday, March 17, 2017

Don't Tread on Me

Looking and seeing.

January's Mighty Lucky Quilting Clubs lesson from Amy Friend (during quiet time) was "Transforming Inspiration into Original Designs.  That month's challenge coincided with a resolution I made to both participate and teach ( December, 2017) while really stretching myself to incorporate one or more pre-set challenge into any given project.

The arrival of my fabric-dream-come-true, compliments of Paintbrush Studios, lead me to a startling intersection. That although I was intimately familiar with many details of my house (I did help in the remodel 10 years ago), there are things that I look at every day but don't actually "see". 

Case in point: my back door mat. Understated in teak, and exceedingly functional, I have tread on this mat several times a day for YEARS. It wasn't until after I had read Amy's lesson that I actually "saw" the doormat. 

And what I saw got me thinking....  we surround ourselves with things we like. We may know exactly why we like something, be it's style, or it's color or it's functionality. But sometimes we just like it, no other explanation needed.  Many of us avoid things that are unappealing but are not always successful for valid reasons- I mean even I have wedding crystal and a vase or 10 that I'm not crazy about. But not counting the ugly crystal,  most of us crave things that speak to us, that make a connection, recognized or unconscious. Seeing this door mat now, after discovering things about me as a quilter makes me smile. Although there are 2 rather obvious places that wood is absent, the construction centers around 3 columns. (I'm a HUGE fan of odd numbers, and if you count the non-columns, then 5 vertical features, another odd number). It's rectangular rather than square and looks good in either orientation (horizontal or vertical). It retains some symmetry but isn't equally symmetrical. The aesthetic lends itself either to uniform linear repetition OR irregular linear representation, (varying linear aspects -the quilt interpretation). That's just good design.

Meet: "Don't Tread on Me"
55.5" by 65.5" quilt made with 15 different Painters Palette solids and inspired by a humble door mat.

The linear aspect carries over but I varied the width of all the vertical lines cutting them randomly in different thicknesses. The contrast between the warm and cool tones mimic the open spaces in the door mat. The colors of course, as sheer fun.

Fabrics: All Paintbrush Studio Painters Palette solids in: Yarrow and Frolic (continuous horizontal aspect). Warms: Tangerine, Burnt Orange, Raspberry, Poppy Red, Bittersweet, Crimson, Tomato. Cools: Teal, Poseidon, Gulf Stream, Cyan, Pale Aqua, Aruba.

Backing fabrics: Frolic, Yarrow and Raspberry (solids) combine with Anna Maria Horner Good Folks and Tula Pink Parisville. Hanging sleeve stash fabric.

Threads: color coordinated but varying in weight (28-50 wt) and composition: 100% cotton, poly cotton and 100% poly.

Batting: 100% cotton
Pin basted 

Quilting: dense color coordinated vertical matchstick quilting with over a dozen different threads from caring manufacturers (Aurifil, Mettler, Marathon)

Binding: 2" SOG in Yarrow, hand sewn on back

Signed and labeled:

Lesson learned: Inspiration is everywhere even in the humblest of things.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Flight Plan

Baby quilt- "Flight Plan", 

is a version of the "Flight Plath" baby quilt made in early 2016 for Nathalie. 

The general improv curved pricing is the similar, the colors and the proportions of the 3 sections are different.  By changing up small but distinct aspects of the quilt, each becomes an original version of a cohesive design set. On one quilt I added boarders, on the other I left them off. Nathalie chose to  hang hers rotated 90 degrees.

The quilting on this piece is different, horizontal matchstick quilting with color matching threads except in one section where the thread color changes to match the yellow-green portion of the quilt.

The Details:

Flight Plan (Flight Path variation No. 2)
36" x 38"
Fabric: All Paintbrush Studio Painter's Palette Solids, top to bottom (using the quilt for reference). Pale Silver and Lemon Ice, Haze and Frolic, Abyss and Wasabi.

Backing fabric: all stash: Anna Maria Horner Good Folks, lime and white large scale print.

Thread: Aurifil 28wt 100% cotton 2615, 5008, 5015 and Coats and Clark in Marine Blue.
Binding 2" SOG in Abyss
Batting:Hobbs 80/20 Cotton poly.
Quilting: Matchstick with color matched threads.

This current version of the Flight Path quilt is one of my #minimalseamquilt series. The quilt top was constructed with just 8 seams; 3 curved and 5 straight.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Wholehearted Block

I give you my heart, treat it kindly..........

The 3 seam #wholeheartedblock Tutorial, from my heart to your hands.

This heart can be made to whatever size you need requiring only 3 seams in its construction. It is suitable for use with solids and prints.

What you will need:
background fabric
fabric for your heart
sewing machine and 1/4" foot
thread for piecing and thread for quilting
iron and ironing board
sharp scissors
glue for basting
batting and backing, or whatever additional supplies you need to complete your heart project.

Choose your background fabric cutting it a inch or so bigger than your desired finished measurements.

Cut your background fabric (in half; in thirds) length-wise where you want to have your heart reside. (I chose a 9 x 8" of fabric for my project and cut it (almost) in half. I used scissors to accomplish this since the fabric piece was small. A rotary cutter and mat work well for larger pieces.

This next step can be accomplished one of several ways. You can be a bit spontaneous, like me, and put both pieces of background fabric right-sides together and cut a free-form heart with a sharp pair of scissors. You can also, using your favorite marking implement, draw a heart, or you can trace a heart if that's your comfort level. Cutting free-hand reminds me of grade school, when about this time of year, and before the commercial availability of Valentine greeting cards for school aged children, we folded colored construction paper in half and went to town with safety scissors. Harkening back to those times of creative freedom, I cut my heart halves freehand. It felt good. Go ahead try it.

Lay your cut background fabric side my side and admire your cutting skills. Adjust if necessary. (By cutting both halves of the fabric at the same time, you get mirror images of you heart halves.

Using your sharp scissors, cut little notches around the curved top halves of one of your 1/2 hearts. Keep those snips small and closely spaced together. Repeat on the other side.

Using a hot iron and working on the wrong-side of the fabric, fold and press along the clipped edge.

Here is where the magic happens. I strive to keep the pressed fold at around 1/4", but have allowed for some variability. These are improv pieced at heart, embracing that, I have allowed for each heart, to be unique, like us.

Repeat on other side.

Flip over and spritzing lightly (starch works great here, but any pressing agent, even water will suffice), press flat.

Gently lift the pressed heart cutouts and lay then on top of your heart fabric. Press again, making sure all the previously clipped and pressed seams are to the back.

Using your basting glue, gently lift a segment of the background (light colored in this picture) fabric and apply small dots of glue at the clipped edge. Keep the glue on the folded pressed sections. Lay back down on your heart fabric, press until dry. I find doing this in sections keeps all the fabrics flat. Repeat on other side.

Working carefully from the back clip heart fabric to edge of background fabric, both sides. Press again.

Depending on how dramatic your cut curves are, you may need to gently clip your hearts again. Use your previous clips as a guided clip if necessary, press again.

Now you have your 2 1/2's glue-basted and ready to be sewn.Don't worry about trimming center seams at this point. Trust me on this.

At your sewing machine, and using your 1/4" foot,  sew along the outsides of your hearts halves using the crease created by pressing as your seam guide. Sew slowly all the way around your heart halves, stopping and making adjustments at the curves as needed.  The smaller the hearts, the slower the going.

Take both sewn heart halves to the ironing board and gently press, then spritz and press flat. Even with great care, the block halves will need some trimming before the next step.  So off to the cutting board to trim the center seam allowance only. (We'll deal with squaring up later).

Sew center seam,  matching as closely as possible top and bottom sections of your heart.

Press sewn seam open, spritz if necessary. Admire your work.

Now that your heart is complete, you can decide it's fate. Oh, the irony......

If your quilting your heart, I suggest you do so before trimming the "block" as things will move a bit.

If you hand cut your hearts, no two will be alike, just like each of us.

Finish your block as desired. I bound mine, it is a mini quilt for a special Valentine.

Share the love; if you make a heart please post a photo on IG and tag me @spontaneousthreads and your project #wholeheartedblock

Fabric used in this project is a selection of solids from the Painter's Palette line by Paintbrush Studio, a division of Fabri-Quilt.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breaking down big ideas

Sometimes one idea begets another. Case in point.


Although this quilt is only 18" x 19" it became the starting point for an exploration of scale based on this original design. I loved each section of this small quilt and decided to play with the idea of taking each quadrant and making a larger quilt from its sections.

"Quartered A, 1/x" resulted from that exploration

This study from the upper left hand section of the original smaller quilt finished at 42.5" x 42.5". Like it's smaller cousin the colors and flow of the quilt remain the same. Because of the expansive use of subtle minimalism extra care was taken in the thread selection for this quilt. 

Difficult to see, and subtle for sure, there are dozens of different closely color coordinated threads in differing weights and fibers (silk and cotton) that pay homage to the 3  main colors used in the making of the quilt. Up close you can see and feel the threads used in the matchstick quilting.
One of the ideas I still have brewing for this small quilt and her larger scaled cousins is to place hanging sleeved on all 4 sides of the larger pieces allowing for different arrangements of the 4 quilts when hung together. If I do my math correctly, the 256 possibilities would be interesting to explore.

Both quilts will be hanging at Quiltcon in Savannah, GA, February 2017. 

18" x 19"
Restricted seaming study (less than 12 seams) using Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in snow, steel, wasabi, tangerine, glacier, breakers, pool and bone.
Dense matchstick (echoed) quilting with Aurifil 100% threads, color matched. #2026, 2311, 4093, 2615, 5004, 2810. (50 wt for piecing, 28 wt for quilting).
Double batting (layered 100% cotton, 100% wool).
Self facing

"Quartered A, 1/x"
42.5" x 42.5"
Sub study of smaller quilt with only 2 seams. Minimalist aesthetic and study o f scale.
Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in pool, bone and snow.
Dense color coordinated matchstick echo quilting in numerous threads of differing weights (50 wt, 40 wt and 28 wt) by Aurifil (for colors see above), in addition off -white silk thread from Superior threads .
Hobb's heirloom 80/20 cotton poly blend batting 
Self facing

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bee Sewcial January: RESOLUTION

January’s PromptResolution

“ When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!” (author unknown)

Zaria Forman at work on her pastel landscapes of icebergs

This past year, 2016, has left many unsettled, uncertain and some afraid. The vibrating undercurrents of what next are palpable like the tingling of the air right before you turn on the lights, knowing the static charge of electricity awaits, it’s physical manifestation a certainty. 

With the new year comes the resolutions; the personal statement of a goal, yet to be achieved. There are several definitions of the word Resolution,  but, I’d like you to focus on this: “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc. “

Please watch the attached Ted talk, not as a call to action on climate change, albeit a critical issue of our time, but as a story of passion, art, family, love, loss and resolution

Pay attention to the detail and scale of Zaria’s art, the laying on of hands, the colors, the personal journey…….

Working from a similar palette of colors (her paintings not her photographs)  I’d like  ” long”  block(s)- like a panoramic photograph for lack of a better analogy  (12.5” x 24.5”; 8.5” x 36”; 6.5” x 47”, etc…… you get the idea). The numbers are relative of course…… as long as it’s(they’re) rectangular, I’m good. 

Your work should reflect your personal resolution(s) for 2017, whatever that may be. It can reflect your makers resolution or something more personal. I don’t need to know your resolution, unless you’d like to share. 

You can depict that resolution however it suits you, you may mix-in any any solid fabric of your choice, (as long as it’s washable), but please keep those exotic other fabrics as composition punctuation marks, not as the composition base and limited to the color palette in Zaria’s Ted Talk (see above).

Texture is good (hence the use of other fabrics), I’ll even consider appliqué (all kinds)  as long as it can then be quilted by machine, (ie: it has to fit under the presser foot on my domestic sewing machine), are durably constructed (read washable and sturdy). Thread painting focally is OK to lend texture.  Focal embellishment with embroidery floss is also allowable.

Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Bee Sewcial members post with #beesewcial; if you’re creating along please use #inspiredbybeesewcial. 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Heartland Blog Tour

Hello, Hi, Hej, Hei!
Welcome to my day on the Heartland blog tour,  it's very exciting to be sewing side by side with such fabulous makers and with the  Heårtland Fabric line by Pat Bravo  (Art Gallery Fabrics). Not only has it been a pleasure to use such gorgeous fabric but it's been fun to discover its versatility.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details- let me encourage you to check out all the makers and their creations as this wonderful event is now in it's 2nd week. The complete list  (just in case you missed them),  is at the end of this post, all with live links, so no excuses..... you will have to wait in real time to see what happens through the rest of this week, with Christopher ( the tattooed quilter) taking the lead tomorrow.

Story of my life lately; come up with what I think is a great idea and then change my mind. Sometimes the change is organic and sometimes it's situational. But what I've learned lately is not to fight it. Change is inevitable, and when it's heading your way, you have to embrace it.

I was so excited to get some of this gorgeous fabric that initially I though I'd make a quilt. (For those of you laughing right now, hold on to that thought). Immediately after settling on the quilt idea,  I went on an amazing trip to the land of fashion and food- Italy- and came back with so many more ideas, one of which was, why not try a wearable quilt. Really, why the heck not!

I live in a place that gets snow in the winter. My family, always trying to be the best stewards of the one planet we all live on, keep our house on the "cool" side during these winter months (my kids say cold, I say cool, tomato, tomahto). I have quilts on the couch and quilts on the beds.  With that thought in mind, I chose the Circular Vest Pattern, from Threads Magazine.  It is a pattern that I have been wanting to try (for a while). It's  also quick, easy and best of all it's free.  There is a minor amount of measuring and math, but if I can do it so can you. Best of all, it falls right into my sewing and quilting happy place;  a pattern that is as versatile as it is stylish and one, if you have the time, can be customized, which is exactly what I did.

Back shoulder details with inset organic shapes in Unn Cross Silver.
Droppar Moondust for the vest body and Trekant Rows Candid for the binding.

Front details:  Inset organic shapes wrap to the vest front.

Fabrics used : Art Gallery, 100% quilting cotton from the Heartland Line by Pat Bravo:
Heartland: Droppar Moondust, Trekant Rows Candid, Unn Cross Silver.  I used a pre-washed light weight silk, tencel and cotton lining and bias cut the binding because the pattern is basically a big circle and you need the stretch. The pattern calls for the binding to be applied by machine but this one is attached inside and out by hand, allowing for further ease around the circular vest. All the fabrics were washed prior to construction assuring the completed project will remain true to size and that the finished garment can be machine laundered when complete.

Thread used:
Aurifil threads in 50 wt, 100% cotton for the piecing and 28 weight, 100% cotton for the quilting. The quilting is kept simple and compliments the circular design.

Piecing and quilting details were inspired by a trip to Scandinavia several years ago, homage to the roots of Pat's Heartland Fabric line. I kept the piecing simple, organic and repetitive, limiting it to just the shoulder/collar.

Using a thick paper template and a freehand sketched organic shape,  I transferred the shape to the shoulder/collar area of the Droppar fabric by tracing using a water soluble blue fabric marker. This was repeated 9 times, paying attention to the spacing between the shapes. The design was then cut out leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. For stability, the Heartland Droppar fabric was fused to Freezer paper before starting.

In order to keep the curves smooth, small notches were cut in the curved area and repeated 9 more times. The freezer paper was then removed and the seam allowance pressed to the wrong side easing the fabric through the curves. Unn Cross in Silver was then glue basted to the wrong side. The inset pieces were then sewn in place using the pressed seam allowances as the sewing guide. Glue basting is critical- keeping the fabric in place while sewing through all the tight curves.

piecing, binding and quilting details
Finally,  the binding compliments the other fabrics with its pops of yellow and pink along with the grays found in the Unn Cross and the Blue-green found in the Droppar Moondust (vest body).

The quilting is linear but is not stitched as you might expect, top-to-bottom. It's actually stitched from the center (mid shoulder blade) in quadrants, which gives some play across the shoulders in a fabric that is not otherwise stretchy.
Quilting details. The linear stitching originates from mid shoulder blade (between the 2 bound arm openings) and is straight stitched in quadrants.

And because we're all having so much fun, I do have a small give away of some fabric I requested but did not have the opportunity to incorporate into my design.... (change is GOOD!). It's all contained in a simple drawstring bag (pattern modified to use fabric at hand from the Heartland collection).

If you'd like a chance to win this drawstring bag with some of this awesome new fabric, please leave a comment here on this post. Please use your fabric to create unique projects and make sure you let Pat know what you're making by using the following hashtags on social media. #patbravodesigns  #heartlandfabrics  #artgalleryfabrics  @patbravodesign on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to keep up with me, I'm here and on IG @spontaneousthreads.

Finally, a big thank you to Amy Friend for organizing this fun event and to Pat Bravo and Art Gallery for the gorgeous Heartland fabric and if you're looking for a fabulous quilt to make with these fabrics Amy has designed a beautiful one just for you!

Here is your stellar line-up of past and future makers, go see what they have been creating.

November 7: Debbie
November 8: Jess and
November 9: Jade
November 10: Amanda
November 11: Kari
Weekend break for sewing and creating
November 14: Me
November 15: Christopher ( the and the other amazing makers
November 16-18:
                        Kerry (
                        Nicole (
                        Krista (

photo credits: Ruchi Brunvand (@rbrunvand) (Yes, that's me in the pictures- shocking, I know!)