Sixty Seconds Quilt

I thought I would share another quilt from my book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design today.  I named this quilt Sixty Seconds because I based my design on the traditional hourglass block.  I divided up the space a little bit differently though.  My hourglasses are asymmetrical, improvisationally sketched.  I decided to add lines for the sand falling through the hourglass just for fun.  I tried to find all white prints and black prints that had speckled types of designs on them that suggested sand.  I had to go on quite a hunt to find them all!  I folded the quilt back in this picture because I love this backing for this particular quilt so I wanted to make sure it showed. I just feel like it fits the mood of the quilt nicely.

I decided to lay my blocks out with a lot of negative space so that the layout was also an hourglass shape. Here in New England, there are lots of barns with X shaped supports on their doors and I thought it would be great to get a picture of the quilt on a barn with such a door.  This one was perfect, with two doors and a nice plain wall for hanging!

Here’s a little detail so you can see some of the prints and the quilting. I quilted in an regular irregular grid where the lines were all spaced either an 1/2″ apart or 1″ apart.

Debbie from A Quilter’s Table recently reviewed my book and made a table runner using this block pattern as the basis of the design. Then, she added her own spin. Check it out!

 

Win EQ7!

 

I have partnered with The Electric Quilt Company to offer you a chance to win a copy of EQ7 quilt design software!  I bought EQ7 five years ago and use it on a nearly daily basis.  I would like to offer you the chance to do the same.  The value of this prize is $189 and all you need to do is sew a quilt block to enter.

Here are the rules:
The contest begins March 15, 2017 and ends on April 17, 2017.
To enter, head over to Instagram and follow me @duringquiettime. Share the graphic that you see above by reposting it and using the hashtags #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv (no purchase needed to enter).  There, you have entered once!

To enter again, sew any block from my book Improv Paper Piecing:  A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  You can either sew one of the blocks from the patterns provided or follow an exercise or design prompt to create your own.  Share a picture of your block on IG and again, tag it with #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv.  You can sew as many blocks as you like to enter again and again.

A random participant will win EQ7!

EQ7 and Improv Paper Piecing are a great pair.  I used EQ7 to design all the blocks and quilts in the book using my improv design technique.  Once the blocks were designed, I grouped and numbered them and easily created pattern pieces to share with you.  While you can do this using paper and pencil and a light source, it is simply quicker and easier in EQ.  I also played with my layouts, rotating blocks and flipping to their mirror images in order to discover the layouts that spoke to me.  Here’s an example:

This is one of the cover quilts from my book.  It’s called Paper Trail.  I loved using a large selection of prints from my low volume collection, paired with my new color crush, cinnamon.

After I designed the block, I put it into a traditional grid layout. I was underwhelmed.

Using the rotate feature in EQ, I rotated the blocks in the even numbered rows.  I was starting to really like it.

Next, I staggered the second and fourth columns and knew I had found the layout that I liked.

Here’s one more gratuitous shot, just because I took a lot of photos…I might as well use them, right??  If you like this pattern, you can find it in the Object based section of the book.  I mocked it up in lots of color combinations and it looks great, so I can’t wait to see your version!

I think that you will really enjoy using EQ7 while working with the exercises and design prompts in my book.  And if you are lucky, you can win it!  So, grab your copy of Improv Paper Piecing, share the graphic on IG, and sew a block, or two, or three and tag them all #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv.  Maybe you will win!  Good luck!

 

 

 

Catawampus Quilt

My Catawampus Quilt hung in the Lucky Spool booth at Quilt Market this fall and has been shared a bit on Instagram as a result. But I haven’t shared it here yet! I like to have each quilt documented on my blog–it helps me when I forget things!

This quilt can be found in the shape section of my book, Improv Paper Piecing. The exercise that corresponds with this block is titled “Wonky” because I started my design process with an asymmetrical or wonky half hexagon.  I named the quilt Catawampus, a word meaning askew, awry, or cater-cornered.  To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard the word until I was writing the book. I was using the Thesaurus to look up some new terms for “askew” and “asymmetrical” because I was using them so heavily in my writing.  And that’s how I found Catawampus.  I had to use it. What a fun word!

I made this quilt in the fall and collected the items in the photo above from my late fall garden to serve as color inspiration. I enjoyed using the warm color tones and it was the first time that I ever used yellow for a quilt background.  It felt very brave at the time but I love it!  The quilt is just so warm and happy.  It was also a lot of fun to make.  I can imagine it as a great scrap buster too, can’t you?  I actually worked exclusively from my stash for this one and I bet you could too.

It’s quilted in straight lines, about a half inch apart. I quilted that way because the straight lines help to obliterate the construction seams which really make the half hexies look like they are tumbling down.

Here’s a great photo of the quilt that couldn’t have happened without helpers.  I really like taking quilt photos on windy days because I think that quilts in motion are so pretty. But, there are obvious challenges.  My mom was right outside the edge of this picture ready to catch the quilt in case it blew off. It was also pinned to the railing because I really didn’t want it to land in the water!

I am excited to announce a contest based on my book this Wednesday!  If you don’t have a copy yet, you might want to pick one up because the prize is really, really good!!

 

Revolution Quilt

Time has gotten away from me and it’s been almost two weeks since I shared a quilt from my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. The book is available on Amazon and signed copies are in my Etsy shop (sent with a free postcard while supplies last!).  I love this photo.  And sharing it provides a good opportunity to thank my mom who came along with me to many of these photoshoots.  She helped me with this one, when I took photos in our Old Town Hall built in 1842 with its beautiful light and high ceilings.  The ladder was found in our barn when we moved into our house, the chair was found on the roadside and refinished by me, and the orchid is my husband’s.  That’s why these photos mean so much to me. They incorporate so many of the things I love and a lot of my personality.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take the photos for both of my books.

This photo was taken in the Everett Mill building in downtown Lawrence, MA. It was a former cotton mill and later shoe manufacturer. Again, my mom and her husband were with me, which was very helpful, especially when a big nail became imbedded in my tire and I had to carefully drive home with a flat. It was a beautiful space and I was able to take several photos there.

This quilt is based on the traditional Tallahassee block, sketched in an improvisational fashion with askew lines and asymmetry. Part of what makes this quilt successful is the layout. I placed the blocks in a sort of serpentine fashion, echoing the motion I felt from the block.  The colors are bold and the binding is another color all together–a fun bit of whimsy.

You can find this quilt pattern and related design exercise in the section of my book based on Traditional blocks. I hope you enjoy it!

Sea Glass Quilt

I just returned from QuiltCon in Savannah where I taught three classes, one of which was Improv Paper Piecing, based on the shape based section of my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  I really enjoyed teaching this class.  While I was writing this book, I was already anticipating what a fun workshop it would make, and I think it did!  At least, I know I had fun seeing the designs that my students were coming up with, helping them to figure out their numbering order for paper piecing, and then talking about all the possibilities for color placement and layouts to make their blocks successful.  Everyone made interesting and unique blocks. You can see some of them on my Instagram feed @duringquiettime.

I really think that this combination of improvisation and paper piecing, takes paper pieced design to a new level and it is so fun!!!

This is one of the quilts from the book; it’s called Sea Glass.  It’s one of the quilts that I showed my students because it’s from the shape based section of my book.  This quilt is composed of two paper pieced blocks, broken into a crazy quilt like design.  The blocks are unevenly sashed, on point, and rotated, resulting in irregular spacing throughout which I just love.

I normally quilt all my own quilts but chose to send this one out to Christina Lane of Sometimes Crafter.  I feel like Christina really listened to me when I told her what I was looking for and she did impeccable work on my quilt.  I told her that as a designer, I want the bold shapes of the piecing to be the first thing that you see.  I wanted the quilting to be complimentary but not overpowering. The squares that were quilted in the background on the pieced side of the quilt, help emphasize the uneven nature of the spacing between blocks.  The quilting inside the squares suggests the prismatic quality of glass shards, which works well with the sharp and pointy piecing and the sea glass color palette. In the negative space, she quilted a zigzag edge to represent water washing onto the shore with circular bubbles for foam.  I think it was a successful collaboration and I am happy to recommend Christina’s work.

I need to give a shout out to my kids who where dragged around about this time last year on their school vacation so that I could take these photographs at the beach.  While it might not look it, it was freezing and quite windy at the sea shore here in New England, and they were pretty good sports.  They even modeled for me (though I didn’t end up using this photo in the book).  They also hid behind the boardwalk railing to hold the corner of my quilt while I took the pictures.  They were under strict orders not to let go for anything!

If you are interested in a copy of my book, you can purchase a signed copy with free shipping from my Etsy shop and of course, you can check your local quilt shop and book store or buy from Amazon.

 

Luminous Quilt

My local paper printed a really nice article about Improv Paper Piecing yesterday.  You can read the article here.  They chose the photo of my quilt, Luminous, for the article in the paper (all the photos I sent are in the online version but this was the image chosen for the printed paper).  I always love seeing what picture is chosen and how neat it is that everyone picks a different one!  This photo was taken at a local historic site, the John Greenleaf Whittier birthplace. Across the street from the white clapboard house, is a red barn. Beyond the barn is a cow pasture with this rusted gate and tall grass.  I normally avoid walking through tall grasses but risked the deer ticks for this shot.  You know, it’s always worth it for a pretty quilt picture.

The design of this quilt was inspired by the stars, a common source of inspiration for traditional quilters, as well.  But my stars are asymmetrical and less identifiable as stars.  They simply become interesting shapes.  Through the random coloration of each star and the rotation of the block throughout the quilt, the stars look unique. But, as you look at the quilt, your eye settles in on some of the more prominent shapes, such as the really wide, short arm of the star above, and you notice that it is repeated throughout.  Those interesting shapes direct your eye across the quilt.

I love the negative shapes created in-between the stars too.  They give the quilt some real energy!  I am excited to share my improv paper piecing design techniques at QuiltCon next week!

Edited to add: Yes, this pattern is available in my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. It can be purchased in my Etsy shop or on Amazon. Also, be sure to ask for it at your local bookstore or quilt shop!

 

Peacock Crossing; A Sneak Peek from Improv Paper Piecing

I wanted to give you a little sneak peek from my book, Improv Paper Piecing.  I am told that Amazon will begin shipping mid next week!  You can preorder on Amazon or order directly from my Etsy shop.

This quilt is called Peacock Crossing and is from the Shape Based section.  The book is broken into three sections: traditional block based inspiration, shape based and object based.  I explain how you can use any of those approaches to arrive at improvisationally influenced paper pieced designs.  If you are going to Savannah for QuiltCon next week, you can visit this quilt in the Lucky Spool booth.

I have been able to share my book with a few early reviewers and love what Heather Grant had to say about Improv Paper Piecing,  She said “Amy’s quilts have always drawn me in because they are precise, yet organic. I couldn’t quite figure out how she managed this balance between two opposites until I picked up her book, Improv Paper Piecing. In this book, she outlines how to use paper piecing and improv to create quilts that are visually organized, yet free. This is a great book for any quilter looking to explore design using a technique to create one of a kind quilts.”  Pat Sloan will be sharing a review of my book on her blog next week so be sure to follow her!

I look forward to sharing more quilts in upcoming weeks!  If your guild is interested in an improv paper piecing workshop or trunk show, be sure to check out my Teaching/Lectures page and get in touch!

Improv Paper Piecing is Shipping!

My copies of Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design just appeared at my door step this afternoon!  They are arriving at shops who pre-ordered right now as well.  I am really looking forward to sharing the ideas and designs from the book with you in the upcoming weeks. I also have a great giveaway coming up to help celebrate!

To start things off, I thought I would share my favorite shot from the book.  And it gives you a little sneak peek of a bunch of the quilts too! I had this picture in mind but I couldn’t find a good spot to take it, where the grass was nice and tall.  I mentioned it to a local friend of mine and she said that she would look as she ran through town.  Two days later, she sent me a text suggesting this location and it was perfect!  The yellow flowers were a bonus.

My book is technique based, presented in a workshop style approach.  My hope is that by explaining my design method, and offering lots of exercises and prompts, I will encourage you to create your own designs.  I incorporate an improvisational approach to design–embracing the irregular, the asymmetrical, the unexpected, with the paper piecing technique.  Why?  Because paper piecing allows you to repeat these improvisational designs and harness the power of repetition!  It combines the aesthetic I love with the technique I prefer–it’s the perfect pairing.

All my exercises are illustrated with quilt patterns that I will share in the days to come!

I have copies of my book ready to ship in my Etsy shop and will be happy to sign them for you.

Arboreal Quilt


Arboreal Quilt by Amy Friend

I’m really happy with the way this quilt turned out!  I designed a paper pieced block using my improv paper piecing method.  The inspiration for my block design was the branching of a tree.  When I incorporated the mirror image of the block into the layout and then inverted every other row, I got this great repeating pattern.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

Admittedly, the finished quilt doesn’t scream tree branches, but I love that!  It does have a really cool organic feel to it due to its improvisational design roots.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

I have been wanting to make a quilt that incorporated cinnamon and pink for awhile now.  I love these colors…so adding mustard (another favorite) only made it better!  I colored and recolored the design in EQ7 until I hit upon this combination and it felt right. It certainly feels like fall to me so I am grateful that I was able to photograph it before the leaves were covered with snow.  The solids are a mix of Kona and Bella Solids and the cinnamon is a basic by Cotton + Steel with a tiny scattered dot.

Arboreal Quilting by Amy Friend

The quilting is straight line in 3 shades of Aurifil 50 weight thread. I matched the pink background fabric for the majority of the quilting using #2410 but I also stitched the occasional line in cinnamon and mustard. I love the subtle variation.

If you are intrigued by this design process, I encourage you to order my upcoming book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. I explain my technique and provide a series of exercises to encourage you to design your own blocks. I think you will enjoy it!

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Shibori Quilt

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m so excited to finally share this quilt. I had a hard time making time for it with my busy fall schedule but, tada, it’s done!

This quilt was designed using the improvisational paper piecing technique that I outline in my second book, Improv Paper Piecing, that will be published in February.  I am so excited to share this book with everyone and teach you my technique!

Shibori by Amy Friend

After much hemming and hawing, I have decided to name this quilt Shibori.  While the individual blocks suggest leaves, the repeat, especially colored in this gradient, feels a lot like tie dye or shibori to me.  My fabric selections are all Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Shibori by Amy Friend

The backing is a Cotton + Steel print from the Print Shop collection by Alexia Abegg.  I love not only the awesome color match but the modern feel of the print and it’s touch of whimsy that compliments the graphic design of the quilt front.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I often use solids when I really want my pattern design to take center stage, which is what I did here.  Then I find myself wishing I didn’t have to quilt because I don’t like quilting that takes away from that bold statement.  I find that straight lines are normally the best option because they don’t tend to detract and I end up liking the layer of added interest.  Here I quilted in vertical lines using Aurifil 2600 (a light gray that I love) and Aurifil 1147 (for a pop of green).  I used a 50 weight thread for the majority of the quilting which is spaced at 1/4″ and 1/2″ intervals, but the green pops are in 40 weight so they stand out a bit more.

The finished quilt measures 48″ x 56″.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m also appreciative that the foliage cooperated for these shots.  Had I finished even one week later, I would have missed that gorgeous color.

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