Monday, January 4, 2016

New Series: Quilts Inspired By Art (And Craft)

Welcome to a new blog series all about making quilts inspired by other mediums of art and craft. Each month we will start with a new inspiration piece and walk through the process of moving from inspiration to finished quilt. The plan is to post a new segment each Monday morning. You can make your own version along side me each week, or simply enjoy reading along.

This month's inspiration is from the scrap booking world. I am often inspired by unique layout and color choices for scrapbook pages and card design.


Linda Aarhus from Polka Dots And Paper provides our January inspiration. I could make a whole mini-quilt series from her Christmas card designs alone.This is the card that will be our inspiration this month. The basket weave layout, the ability to personalize, and the mix of print and solid are the primary factors that drew me to this card design. Kept to a relatively small scale, I thought it would be the perfect baby or child's quilt.

The first step is to calculate the fabric requirements and choose fabric. In my day job, I sit at a computer all the time and I am sure there is an easier way to do this. Sometimes, I think I was born a generation too late. I enjoy the process of ruler, paper, and pencil to figure out the measurements.


Using the colors from the inspiration card:

  • Light Gray Background - 1 yard
  • Dark Gray Vertical - 1/2 yard
  • Print Horizontal - 1/2 yard
  • Inner Border - 1/3 yard
  • Outer Border - 1/2 yard
  • Lettering - 1/3 yard (This will depend on number of letters and size of letters, but 1/3 yard should cover most scenarios. We will learn about this in greater detail later in the month.)
  • Backing - 1 3/4 yards
  • Binding - 1/2 yard

This project does not work well with fat quarters. If you don't mind having extra seams in some of your pieces, it is possible, but it is not preferred. The instructions provided assume you are working with 40+ inch wide cotton fabric yardage.


The next step is to choose fabric. My intention is to create these quilts primarily from my existing fabric stash. We will see how that goes. I also wanted to make a boy version and a girl version of this quilt. This was the first choice for boy fabric.

For this design, it is easy to layout the fabric in the general arrangement to get a better idea of how it will look.

I also tried a layout with the dots as the background, then realized that there wasn't enough yardage for that option. The red background is the one I liked best, but I knew not to move forward with that choice right away. It always helps me to take a fresh look after a few hours. When I took a fresh look, that distinct red and white graph paper fabric looked pink. There are some people who would be just fine with pink in a boy quilt, but most would not. Time to try again.

I had already selected a fabric for the back of this quilt. It was the perfect blue/gray/green match for the spot fabric.

This layout is the one I decided to use. The solids will offer lots of quilting options when we get to that step. The color is more accurate in the first layout with the red background. It is really a more blue/green than gray. The weather has not been cooperative lately for daylight pictures. Now for the girl option, which came together much more easily.

Can't get much more girly than this.

This layout seemed too busy to me.

This is better, although I may switch which fabric is horizontal and which is vertical. There is still time to ponder that. The boy quilt will be made first.


Next week, we will talk about how to dissect an inspiration piece for quilt making. We will also cut our fabric and piece the top. I'd love to hear from you. This is my first time attempting a series and your feedback will only make it better. Questions and comments are always welcomed. I will do my best to respond to each and every one.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times and Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt. Also linking up with Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts.


  1. What a great idea. Must see if I can fit one or two months of quilting along with you. You are absolutely right about parents not accepting any pink in a boy quilt. A good friend works in a NICU and my guild supplies quilts for her to give to the parents. She says boys parents want nothing to do with pink. She also says generally there are more boys in the NICU than girls. I tend to make a lot of boy quilts because of that. (Hey, I have 3 granddaughters so it makes sense for me!)

    1. Thanks for the comment. Would love to have you join me some time this year. Boy quilts can be a challenge. Even if they are acceptable colors, there are often flowers or swirls or some other girly thing in many prints. I also try to focus on the boys at least some of the time when making charity quilts.

  2. I agree -- what a great idea! Years ago I had a needlepoint design book that featured patterns from different sources, such as Seljuk brickwork 'translated' to needlepoint stitches. Ever since I've harbored a fantasy about an art exhibit with the same design in different mediums (clay / glass / oil paint / stitchery / etc.). You're doing something much like that. I look forward to seeing how you develop the concept.

    1. Thank you! It will definitely be an evolving project. So glad you will be following along.

  3. Debora, this is such a good idea. I see inspiration everywhere I look but taking the time to turn that inspiration into a quilt is something I'm not very good at. I think this will be a great series and look forward to following along. Thanks so much for sharing on MCM!

    1. Thank you! This series will be an adventure for sure. I have discovered new blogs by way of your link up so thanks for the opportunity to share.

  4. What a fun challenge. I really like the fabric choices for your projects.

    1. Thank you. I love choosing fabric for a project. It is always a surprise to see how they work out. Sometimes it's wonderful and sometimes just okay. Hopefully, these will be wonderful!


Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

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