Tag Archives: Play

Playing Today

My word for the year is PLAY! While I generally enjoy my creative time, some is more playful than others. Today I’ve played at two things so far. Both are designs.

Last evening I googled images for “urn flowers applique“. One of the images selected was an antique quilt done in only two colors, peach and white. (I couldn’t find out more about it. It had been a sale listing and the information was gone. No date, no name, no provenance.) The two colors formed a primary design as well as a secondary. I grabbed a piece of paper from the recycling bin and scribbled part of the design, enough so I could replicate it today in EQ7.

On analysis, it was done in 256 half-square triangles, in a 16×16 layout. The antique also included a peach inner border and a white outer border. My drawing below in blue and white skips the borders but includes a narrow white line to emulate the binding.

Binary Stars blue

Really cool, huh?

Here is a corner to show you the construction. Make the corner 16 times, and your quilt is ready for assembly.
Binary Stars blue 4 by 4

And since I was playing, I wondered how it would look in multiple colors. I love two-color quilts, but frankly I think this is a lot more interesting.
Binary Stars multicolors

And the corner for this one:
Binary Stars multicolors 4 by 4

Notice, if you will, that this design has absolutely NOTHING to do with “urn flowers applique“. That was my original search because I’m planning to start an urn flowers applique project! But first I need a design.

Since I don’t draw well, I decided to cut shapes and arrange them on paper. This gives me a pretty good idea of how big the shapes should be and how they might be arranged. The crumpled white paper is the wrapping label off a roll of batting. (Do you save some of that paper, too?) I taped two strips together and then started cutting shapes from another chunk. To save my arrangement I traced quickly around the shapes. It should be pretty easy to transfer to freezer paper and then fabric.


I’m planning to do old-fashioned needle turn applique, without all the glueing and pressing and fusing and fussing that some of the other techniques use. This will be relatively primitive, both due to my skills and my intention. The colors I’m choosing are joyful, not stuffy. I’ll show you progress as I make it.

What are you playing with these days? 



It’s Time to PLAY!

People who know me know I tend to be very serious. Though I laugh easily and often, I seem to hold all the characteristics of a “Serious Person” except the first one below:

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 7.50.42 AM

(Of course, I may be flattering myself with this description, too.)

My personality also runs through my approach to quilting. I am pretty intentional in my art, and when a piece is done, I analyze what worked and what didn’t. Intention and analysis have helped me become a better quilter.

For more than two years, that intention and process have led me to study design principles, considering especially how they apply to medallion quilts. I’ve also developed strong understanding of construction techniques, since medallions do have some quirks that can create challenges.

And for the last two years, I’ve been guided by my “word of the year,” EXPERIMENT! For me, that has meant that in quilting and other parts of my life, I would try things without expectations about the outcome. My intention to experiment has been a success, leading me to do things I might not have tried otherwise. Some of my adventures? Submitting items for publication, trying new uses of space and color and pattern in my quilts, hiking at 11,000 feet, snowshoeing, traveling to Cuba and blogging on it.

But you can see, can’t you, how deliberate this has been also? I wouldn’t give up any of these experiences. But now it’s time to try a different approach. It’s time to PLAY.

“Play” might sound the same as “experiment.” Both are means of learning that require openness and flexibility. But experimenting is methodical, and typically takes a process from beginning to end, including appropriate analysis. Playing is not necessarily methodical and it doesn’t require completion to end. How many messes have you seen in living rooms and playrooms and classrooms, as children abandon their play to do something else? Playing is no less important than experimenting, but it is approached less seriously.

In 2016, I will try to guide my quilting and other parts of my life with PLAY. I will try to take a light-hearted and compassionate approach, for my quilts, my relationships, and myself. I want to be unafraid of abandoning things that don’t interest me. I want to learn to tell stories in a playful way. I want to read with more pleasure and less feeling of obligation. I’ll try to see and hear with a beginner’s mind, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Yes, it’s time to PLAY. Would you like to play with me?



Playing With Color

Remember how my word of the year is “Experiment”? Well, I have been experimenting in a lot of different ways, some in quilting and others in other parts of my life.

My main quilting experiments have been in teaching. In April I taught one class session on the Underground Railroad Quilt Code. And in April and May I taught Medallion Improv! I’ve taught before, but the subjects were in Finance, not quilting!

But I’ve also pushed my edges a little in my creative work, as well. My Harlequin Medallion led me through quilting with rulers and a ruler base, with a style of design different for me. Genes and A Cute Top (and its back) were a foray into modern quilting, with the plus design so popular these days.

And now that I’ve finished a few other projects, I’m ready to play. For a while I’ve wanted to play more with color and with shape. Triangles are the perfect medium.

This is just a start. I have reds and blues to cut and try in the mix, too. If I sewed this just as shown, I’d have a piece that is about 21″ square.

Imagine the things I could do with that. Perhaps it would serve as the center of a medallion. Maybe it would become a table mat or wall-hanging by itself. Maybe I’ll make a bunch of “blocks” the same size and make a bed quilt. All kinds of possibilities…

What are you playing with these days?

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