Design Inspiration for a Quilt Series #1


People often ask me where my inspirations come from for my quilt designs.  I thought I’d start a series of blog posts showing some of the steps along the way.  In this posting, I’ll show you some of the sources for my new quilts in the Sarasota Sunset Series of quilts.

First, a word about series.  When I started making artquilts, I paid attention to how my favorite artists always seemed to work in a series, exploring and expanding a concept for years on end.  It wasn’t just because art buyers demanded consistency from the artist.  Artists –creative people in general–know that our ideas can be explored in many different ways.  There are lots of great tutorials/posts and books about working in a series.  I may post some of them at a later point.  Working in a series requires  discipline–you have to commit to the idea(s) in the series and experiment, experiment and experiment.  And  you have to be willing to look at each piece as a learning opportunity.  They won’t all be great.  As quilters, we have to learn to keep a critical eye–not to judge, but to keep learning.

I ask myself some questions as a I self-critique:

  • What was I trying to accomplish when I made this piece?
  • How is this piece different from AND related to the other pieces in the series?
  • What’s successful?
  • What do I need to do differently next time based on this piece?
  • If something isn’t working, why not?  And what can I try next time to work out this problem?
  • And…is this series still interesting to me?  Do I feel passionate about it?  Or am I boring myself because nothing new is emerging?

So, here’s a set of photos about an inprogress piece.

Years ago, I started a series called Angularity.   I made several like this one shown (many of the others sold) but this one is still in my home:

Angularity #1 Full hi res  In this series, I was exploring these ideas:

1.  Achieving complexity and movement using very simple shapes: square, triangle, rectangle

2.  Black and white fabrics as the dominant palette

3. Using gold and touch of green to POP

4.  Mixing commercial prints with African Kente cloth (the gold  striped fabrics)






Color became my focus over the years and I started doing more painting and printing on paper and fabric.  A new palette started to emerge for me.  Here’s a couple of examples.

26 letters Watercolor 2

Sprayed waterbased inks using various templates on paper


painted papers

painted paper

Sarasota Sunset 1

Sarasota Sunset #1


I was also painting and printing fabric.  I decided to come back to the Angularity series with a very different idea.  I knew there was more to explore.

This is the first result– a wallhanging created using my hand painted fabrics.  I also added a commercial print that I overprinted.  Lastly, I added pieces of the white fabric with my own handrwritten poem.  It’s related to Angularity because it’s all improv cut squares and rectangles.

the quilting is with variegated thread with a walking foot.







Sarasota Sunset #2

Sarasota Sunset #2


Next in the series using : commercial fabrics.  The blocks are still simple shapes with angles.  Can you see how this version replicates and simplifies the black and white Angularity quilt?


And, the colors are now firmly in my Sarasota palette inspired by the sunsets I can see many evenings from my west facing lanai or when I go to beach.


The Ombre fabrics I used are shown below.






THE FABRICS:  I love, love, love OMBREs and I’m always adding to my  small collection.  From my stash, I chose to use these. They are from E.E. Schenck –Cara Gelato series.  They’re getting a bit hard to find……  For #3, I added the commercial stripe AND some Batiks.  I love, love, love batiks…..


Ombres 2

Detail shot of the darker end of the Ombres in the middle photo

Ombre fabrics, batiks  and commercial prints

Ombre fabrics, batiks and commercial prints




And… here is an in progress shot of the new quilt in progress.

I’ve had soooo much fun playing with the colors.

The shapes are still just squares, rectangles and triangles. Oh, I did throw in a bit of curved piecing into the improv blocks.

The design is still related directly to the “Mother Ship” Angularity quilts.


improv block 1

Block detail. Improvisationally pieced block

in progress 2a

Piecing in progress.


I’ll post more about this series in the next few days.  This one may turn into a Pattern–do you think it would be interesting?  I’ll also be teaching this in my workshops.

And, there is a #4 in the works……..













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