Monday, August 31, 2020

Purdy Bird QAL Prep Week: Color Inspiration!

It's the first day of the Purdy Bird QAL, and I'm thrilled to finally get started quilting with you! This week is prep week, and it's simply about getting started, gathering needed supplies, and fabric selection planning. So, perhaps the best place for us to start out is talking about one of my favorite topics - COLOR! Since choosing fabrics might be an area where some quilters struggle, I thought that it might be useful to have a little inspiration to help you with fabric selection for the QAL.


First, let's look at a couple options with the original Basic Grey grunge color as listed in the pattern, but with changes to the background color. When I am making quilts, I often tend towards bold and highly saturated fabrics. What really makes those colors pop, are when they are combined with white.

Recently, I made a second version of my Fly High, Dragonfly quilt, using similar colors. I decided on a soft grey for the background, and it was amazing to me how much it changed the overall feel of the quilt - the colors were reigned in and more subtle. Remember, the further two colors are away from each other, the higher the conrast you will have when you combine them.

A pale aqua background gives the quilt a friendly and cheery feel, while still remaining soft. Compared with navy, the quilt has a more dramatic and moodier feel. Pay attention that you don't "loose" fabrics because there is not enough difference in contrast.

If you would like to stick with the original color palette, remember there are two shops carrying fabric kits for the Purdy Bird QAL:

In the US: Pink Door Fabrics is offering a Basic Grey grunge + background fabric kit.

In Germany: Grit's Life is offering a Basic Grey grunge fabric kit, and offers my Purdy Bird pattern in print.


I've already shared a second version of the Purdy Bird quilt in greys, aquas, and chartreuse. This quilt top has a totally different look to the original, and I will reference both of these quilts during the QAL. In the this week's newsletter, I reference the fabrics that I used for this colorway. Again, I played around with different backgrounds to achieve different looks. All of these fabrics are in cool colors, yet are different than the cool colors I used in the original quilt.

Even though I love working with cool and warm color palette, I find that most people usually tend to gravitate towards one in particular. You might like both, one might make your heart beat a little faster than the other. Interestingly enough, even though I find myself working more with cool colors in my quiltig projects, my living room is a pure warm palette... and these Alison Glass batiks are a scrumptous array of warm colors.

As much as I love bold colors and high contrasts, I am quite smitten with a color combination that is soft, subdued, and subtle. Simply by using colors that are a little more decent and controlled, Purdy Bird takes on a whole other look. These muddy colors from Art Gallery fabrics new Terra Kotta line, give a more delicate and romantic feel.

The last color palette is one that has been brewing in my head for a while, and will most likely be the next Purdy Bird quilt that I make. I couldn't very well move on without sharing a color palette using one of my favorite designer's fabrics, now could I?  Playing around with colors on the computer can give me an idea if the general direction that I am going is right, but ultimately, I find that I end up adjusting a lot once I have the actual fabrics in my hands. Should I keep you in suspense which background fabric I will use?

Let's wrap things up now with color, shift gears and address the issue of SIZE... it does matter, you know? Depending on where or how you choose to use your quilt, making a larger quilt might be floating around in your head. So, here are a few ideas for adding to the Purdy Bird quilt:

A simple addition of a few flying geese from the right and left sides could help add length to the quilt.

Alternatively, the flying geese could be running from top to bottom on the sides as well.

By repeating the diamond blocks already included in the pattern, an alternating pattern could add extra length to the quilt.

... and if you are really keen on applique, one of my favorite things to do, is adding applique circle accents.

So, are ready to get started? Then link up your Purdy Bird QAL "Prep Week" progress on Instagram and be sure to use the #purdybirdqal hashtag to qualify for the giveaway.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Quilt-A-Long Forum!

The beauty of the online world today is that easier than ever to get in touch with like-minded people who share the same interests as you do, and let's be honest, we are all here with one thing in mind, right? – quilting!

So, I decided that a Purdy Bird Quilt-A-Long Forum on my website might be helpful as a way for quilters to support each other and to have a productive place to learn through positive discussions, exchange of ideas, sharing of techniques & relevant quilting knowledge, in a way that is also respectful to other members.
By the way, the QAL starts August 31st - have you signed up for the newsletter yet?

Currently, there are two QAL categories – one in ENGLISH and one in GERMAN, and I hope that you will put them to good use! They are only successful and helpful when YOU participate!

... AND you don't have to be a part of the QAL to join in the conversation, offer your advice, and share your quilting knowledge. The more people that participate, the more everyone benefits.

Since I live in Germany, I know exactly the challenges of operating in foreign language. So, especially with my German quilters in mind, who are fluent in English, but perhaps not familiar or comfortable with specialized sewing and quilting terms / vocabulary, I hope that this is a valuable resource for the QAL!

Who should join the forum?

  • If you are a beginner quilter and have questions about quilting & quilting techniques?
  • If you have experience with quilting, but are perhaps uncertain about quilting terms, vocabulary, or explanations.
  • If you are an experienced quilter, and are able to add value to the discussion by passing on what you know, or about techniques.
  • If you are a quilter wanting to have contact with other quilters

Are you brave enough to be the first and get the conversation started? Jump on in and help me get the forum up and running!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Gifting Quilts + Washing Instructions Free Download

I've been sewing for what feels like my whole life, but only seriously quilting for the last five. In spite of the fact that I've added quite a number of finished quilts to my stacks since then, I've not added as much experience with gifting them. Not because I'm stingy with my quilts, but because giving a quilt is something that is very special for me.

Recently we were able to celebrate my oldest niece's confirmation. In Germany, it is a common tradition that once a young adult reaches a certain age, they go through a year-long training to study their religious beliefs and are "confirmed" as a profession of their faith before joining a local congregation. It's a very big family celebration here.

Since things are a little different here than in the US, and I had never attended a confirmation before, I had to ask my mother-in-law what kind of present was appropriate for such an event? She shared that she would be gifting the very necklace that her grandmother had given her, and that gifts should be keepsakes or things that can be used or valued well into adult years... well, in my mind that could only be one thing - a quilt!

After doing a little research, I found several suggestions of things to include when gifting a quilt:

My family here in Germany only learned about quilts and quilting through me, so it was important that I included a little background information. The quilt that I gifted was a bee quilt (see info below), so I decided to do a little research about quilting bees to include with it. Since quilting bees started in the US during colonial times, it was fun for me to share a little of my cultural heritage with my German family.

I also created a washing instructions sheet so she would know how to care for the quilt. (Find the free download here - English OR German.) Unfortunately, I have heard far too many stories of friends who have gifted quilts, and their loved ones never used them - perhaps because they were not really aware how easy it is to care for them.

Since I personally use color catchers when washing quilts, I decided to add a little package with the quilt. It's kind of like sticking a pre-paid postage stamp on a letter - it just makes it easier for the person on the receiving end to follow through.

And I added my first quilt label! Especially since this was such an important date, the quilt label was the perfect way to document it, and one of the very few times that you will see me hand sewing! (ever!) Since teenagers are all about technology, I thought it was a fun little gesture to add the hashtag #thistookforever... which it kinda did.

So, now the cycle continues, and I am passing on the tradition that my aunt passed on to me... over a decade ago, she gave us the most beautiful quilt that has adorned our living room since - it is one of my most treasured pieces! ... and my hope is that the quilt I made for my niece will be treasured, loved, and snuggled in just as much.

Quilt Pattern: Summer Smoothie Quilt from Allison Richter for Campbell Soup Diary, free tutorial
Started: April 2017 Bee Quilt, Quilty Circle of Bees
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Zen Chic, Carrie Bloomston, Cotton & Steel, various scraps, and low volume backgrounds.
Finished quilt size: ca. 56" x 70" in. (ca. 142 x 178 cm)
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