Friday, January 31, 2014

Polar Bears on My Bed

This is one of my Polar Bear Quilts.  I found these polar bear panels and fell in love with them.  For years I collected blue, winter fabrics and many ideas.  In the end I had so many polar bears that I did two quilts titled "Arctic Day" and "Arctic Night."  This photo is of "Arctic Night," so named because it turned out a little darker than the other one.  They are both twin-sized quilts, but the other one is buried in storage at this writing.

Collecting fabric for a quilt is way too much fun and I still have a ton of blue fabric in my stash.  Fortunately, blue is my favorite color.  I still have polar bears too because I bought plenty so I wouldn't need another and get stuck.  I can probably create two more quilts.  Pretty ridiculous.

This was the first quilt I really designed wholly on my own.  I used the methods outlined by Judy Hopkins in her book "Design Your Own Quilts."  The panel in the upper left portion of the quilt is a kaleidoscope, pieced from scratch using methods described by Paula Nadelstern in her book, "Snowflakes and Quilts."  My design wall was in use for a long time as I created blocks of different sizes and patterns, placed them on the wall, moved them, created new ones to create value differences, and so forth.  The borders are from the polar bear panels.  Can you find the other winter animals sneaking around among the blocks?

I also branched out with my free motion quilting on this one.  I mostly used flowers as in my earlier primitive petals, but I put points on them this time and added some additional defining lines.  Around the snowflake and the bears is stippling.  For the bears within their circle border, I followed the fabric, outlining the animals, clouds and snow with free motion lines.  This is a great way to get more comfortable with free motion quilting:  follow artistic motifs on the fabric.  When you can follow lines on the fabric, you will be able to follow more complex, drawn designs for your quilts.

TIP:  Let your hair down and dance while doing a quilt like this.  There are no rules so just have fun with the piecing, fabric fondling, and quilting whatever you are able or inclined to do.  Let the muse sing and don't worry about the mess you are creating...just create.  The mess will still be there later.

I wish I had known about Leah Day's fantastic website on free motion quilting.  This would have been a perfect quilt on which to try out some of her many designs.  In looking at Leah's site today I found two other websites to visit:  Linda's Landscapes and The Hard-Rock Quilter.


  1. Beautiful quilt! I love your use of blue fabrics, lights and darks, the snowflake is beautiful!

  2. Thank you. I love blue too. It calms me even in a busy quilt.