Inspiration is everywhere.


Yesterday Amy and I talked about inspiration while recording our podcast, it was so fun! I had to take a minute and think about where I came up with various ideas for patterns, and I thought today that I would show you just a few.

The first thing I mentioned as a place I find inspiration is in small collections of objects.


Case in point? Russian Rubix!


I explain the story behind this pattern in the podcast, go check it out!


Next place to find inspiration? Architecture! For me specifically concrete and steel detailing. You can see here, this concrete screen was my inspiration for Sweetie Pie.


I’ve got about a billion pictures of various architectural details that catch my eye–then, when I have a minute where I need some ideas those pictures help me out a ton.


Granny Squares by Gracious Rain


Granny Square Quilt by Blue Elephant Stitches for Moda Bake Shop

I also draw inspiration from other crafting avenues. Knitting, crochet, papercrafting, fashion. I don’t have time to keep up on these hobbies on a regular basis, but I keep Pinterest boards and collect images that just conjure up inspiration. The granny squares that are all the rage? Straight out of crochet. Obviously I’m not the only one drawing inspiration from other crafting venues. :)


I mentioned also that I get a lot of inspiration from new color palettes. I subscribe to several blogs that create new color collections from images, and it’s always fun to see new combinations that I wouldn’t have put together, but that are BEAUTIFUL. Even if I don’t love the palette, it helps me to see them and understand what isn’t working about those colors for me. A couple of my favorites? Design Seeds, and Photo Card Boutique.

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The last place that I talked about drawing inspiration from was menswear textiles. I have been known to stop men on the street and ask if I can take pictures of their tie, even–that’s me, the crazy tie stalker.

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Really, though, some of the most trendy and lasting patterns are inspired by classic menswear. Houndstooth anyone? Herringbone? How about chevron? All came from timeless wovens.


He Zigs, She Zags was inspired by a woven pattern.

So that’s my top 5 inspiration places! What inspires you? Have you had a chance to listen to QuiltCast yet? What do you think? Suggestions? Tell me your top 5!



PS I still remember, New York. Here’s where I was on September 11th, from a post written in 2011.


Win a copy of Modern Neutrals! {Blog Tour}

Modern Neutrals-1

Hey there chickadees! I’m here participating in the last stop of Amy’s blog tour for her new book, Modern Neutrals. I know, I posted about the book a couple months ago, but I’m going to tell you a little more about it so that you can win one. Sound like a deal? Besides, this book rocks. I promise.

So. Modern Neutrals. It’s a pretty little book. More than that, it’s a book that is full of patterns you can use for everyone. Read: there are no appliquéd flowers or hearts or girly things in here–just crisp, clean lines. You can make something for your son, or husband, or boyfriend, or pool boy, or whatever. They’ll like it. You can also make something for your mom or sister or new baby niece. It’s that darn versatile. I mean really, can you imagine this quilt made in greys and pinks? Why hello gorgeous, tactile, baby quilt!

Modern Neutrals-2

Amy does a great job with her explanations and diagrams (she’d better, this is her third book!), and gives great tips on how to be successful at piecing the blocks. There’s a project or two that require paper piecing or partial seams but they’re minimal and explained well. You can make these.

If you’d like to win an e-copy of this book for yourself, head on over to Amy’s blog and visit the other stops on the tour. Then, click over to the form and answer the questions, press submit, and you’ll be entered. Amy will draw a winner on Tuesday from everyone who answered the questions correctly. Simple as pie. Then, when you win, you can thank me by making the cover quilt and sending it my way. Oranges, greys, and dusty aquas, please. Because that cover quilt? It’s my favorite.

Modern Neutrals-3

Hooray for awesome books, and hooray for pretty quilts. Double hooray for awesome, pretty, quilty books.



PS If you’d like to just purchase your own copy, you can of course do that too. Amazon has it, and some other places.



Super Scrappy Soccer Quilt


So. I made a quilt.


A soccer quilt. The perfect kind to put on the grass and enjoy many a kick.


It has scraps from about a million projects, and when I pull it out of the wash and the edges are all frayed? Mmmmmmm.


All I did? Put backing, batting, and background on my longarm, and then placed the scraps where I wanted them, and sewed them right on as I quilted.


Addicting, and awesome.



PS, if you haven’t heard, me and Amy from Amy’s Creative Side started a podcast. Now, you can hear us being quilting geeks once a week. Your life is complete, I’m sure. ;) Head on over to Amy’s blog to hear us chat about our 5 Favorite tools under $25, and to see the links to our 5 favorites. One of these days I’ll figure out how to embed the link here, maybe.

Twelve Words Block of the Month #9: September Bloom

Twelve Words Block of the Month: September Bloom by April Rosenthal

My favorite flowers are Dahlias–I love the intricate petals, the density of the booms, and the symmetry of nature. Seriously, I could stare at them for hours.

Twelve Words Block of the Month: September Bloom by April Rosenthal

Almost like a mini version of Dahlias, I also love fall mums. Mine start blooming in full right around the end of August, and last until the frost does them in in November or so.

Twelve Words Block of the Month: September Bloom by April Rosenthal

I love how they start blooming right when the other flowers start quitting, giving up because of the slight chill in the air.

Twelve Words Block of the Month: September Bloom by April Rosenthal

That’s how I want to be. I want to bloom, even when things aren’t perfect–in fact, I’d like to bloom because I’ve decided that anytime is the perfect time.

Twelve Words Block of the Month: September Bloom by April Rosenthal

Bloom where (and when) you’re planted, chickadees.





Cut the following:

(5) dresden wedges

(1) of each template echo (A, B, and C)**

(1) 12 1/2” linen square


**You may choose to cut these pieces out using fuse able web, as they will be raw edge appliquéd to the final block. I chose to cut them without webbing to avoid stiffness in the block, and just used temporary fabric glue to affix them prior to sewing. Also–I cut out my “Echo” pieces freehand to match my dresden points and valleys exactly…but I figured telling you to freehand it would probably stress some people out. So, there are templates. If you need to adjust them to match up with your individual wedges, by all means, go ahead. :)



Fold the wedge pieces lengthwise, right sides together.


Stitch along both the top and bottom edge. clip the inside corners, being careful to avoid the stitches.


Turn the pieces right side out, flattening the stitched edges to make a point on both ends. Press.

Stitch the wedge pieces together by putting right sides together along the long edges. Press seams open or to one side.

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Temporarily affix or lay out echo pieces on the block.

Begin with Echo C,

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then Echo B,

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then Echo A.


Place partial dresden on the top. Temporarily glue or pin pieces in place.september-bloom-18

Stitch the pieces in place, using a 1/16” topstitch. I chose to do a 2nd stitch on the dresdens, 1/8” away from the first stitches.


Trace (or eyeball :) the swirls coming from the flower, and stitch them using a running stitch.


Trace the word “BLOOM” and stitch using a backstitch.

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Download the template pieces and embroidery pattern, here.

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