Seasonal Stitches: Be Inspired by Your Own Landscapes

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My landscape is not necessarily your landscape, though we may live in the same state, county, or town. I learned that during a discussion about quilts inspired by the land around us.

Tricia Patterson’s Mountain Lil’s, for example, came up in conversation. It’s inspired by the Rocky Mountains of our home state of Colorado. The sun peeking from the mountain valley, the purple mountains, and the flower scattered meadow are all truly Colorado.

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Mountain Lil’s celebrates the high country of Colorado, with the breath-stealing heights and breathtaking landscapes.

But then so is my quilt, I’d argue. I call mine (as yet unquilted) Sun Salutation. Colorado has more than 300 days of sunshine, and the red rocks, scattered so incongruously throughout the foothills, inspired my colors. And a certain native critter I met inspired me to play with bias strips for the first time.

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My as-yet-unfinished quilt was inspired by the red rocks and mountains of Colorado, as well as a critter I met on a hike.

Of course, neither of our quilts encompass all of Colorado, and I doubt any quilt could. (OK, Judy Maxwell’s Colorado Sue gets pretty close.)

I started to think of other quilts I’d done that were inspired by nature. One quilt that sprang to mind was a snowy quilt inspired by a winter storm that encased the trees in glittering ice.

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Featuring dozens of white-in-white prints and glacial-looking batiks, my wintery quilt was inspired by an ice storm.

This quilt features dozens of white-on-white prints and glacial-looking fabrics from a batik collection. The design is a combination of two patterns (because I can never do anything simply): a pattern by Joelle Hoverson from her now out-of-print book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, and a few blocks pulled from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt, by Laurie Aaron Hird (affiliate link).

Now, my snow quilt is nothing like your snow quilt, I’d wager.

Scott Flanagan’s Snowflake Star quilt, published in the November/December 2018 issue of Quiltmaker is a good example of how, well, no two snowflake quilts are exactly alike. He used batiks like I did, and traditional blocks; his design has a majestic winter’s night feel to me.

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Scott Flanagan’s Snowflake Star quilt pattern uses traditional quilt blocks to evoke starry snowflakes.

And then of course, there are a few very literal-looking snowflakes in this Frozen quilt, which I sewed with my niece several years ago. It was her first quilt. For the snowflakes, we used a glittery, frosted fabric that was anything by soft, and everything just right. We chose to raw-edge appliqué those snowflakes, and the stitches that swerved off the edge and back again are the best embellishment I can imagine on a quilt like this.

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Enchanted by the movie Frozen, my niece happily stitched these glittery snowflakes.

We worked on that quilt in February (her birthday month), and stitching those sparkly snowflakes made winter fun again. Her winter landscape was populated by music and princesses and enchantment, and I got to enjoy that with her.

In general, I have a tendency to start seasonal projects during the season. Yes, I realize that I should start sewing Christmas quilts in July, but there’s something to be said for taking quilting inspiration from the season—from the here and now—that surrounds you.

To that end, I’ve started my blocks for an autumnal, November-y quilt. I’m using Angie Milligan’s Forever It Waves pattern, adapting it to the rich browns and flaming colors of the Iowa autumns I remember from my time there.

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Pairing that classic star block with the rich colors of autumn—I’m inspired to quilt!

I’m not totally sure how that squares with the here-and-now. It’s autumn here, but the landscape I’m remembering is from a time passed…

No matter! Now that the autumn winds are blowing, I’m inspired to pull those fabrics from the stash and quilt.

Regardless of the season or landscape you’re celebrating with stitches, happy quilting!
Vanessa

Let it snow!

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