Saturday, February 15, 2014

Creativity and a Red and White Design

I am finishing the quilting on one quilt.  Another quilt needs to be blocked and bound.  A third one has been in the planning stages for 3-4 years, and I got started on it when I got stymied on the other two waiting for a couple of online orders to arrive.  You'd think all those UFOs would keep me busy enough, but the mind is a strange confusion of nerve connections and molecules, and they are always yelling at me, "What are you going to do next?"  I respond to my brain, "I don't know, but something will turn up, turn over, or arise from under the layers of my stash."  While one idea was formulating in the wings, I came across a Red and White Design Challenge tossed out by SewCalGal.  She is challenging her readers to create a new design and does not require that you make the quilt.  You can do that in Phase III if you choose to.  I am stimulated and inspired when the gauntlet is tossed onto my sewing floor.  I have to pick it up because my physical space is so limited.

The requirement is that the design be your own, but it must be red and white ONLY.  These are not really my colors, but I found the idea exciting and I have quite a few reds and white-on-whites in my stash.  You can use many shades of red and of white, but nothing else.  Below is what I came up with:

Red Galaxy
This quilt is all paper pieced using techniques for design and construction from "Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts" by RaNae Merrill.  I work on a Mac using Adobe Illustrator, which I like very much and because I think doing it with pencil and paper would be far more difficult.  I would have to own an eraser company.  I can also preview colors and fabrics on the computer, make changes quickly, and easily manipulate the design.

The finished quilt is 51 x 56.5 inches.  The Challenge rules also require that I post the amount of fabric needed so here it is:

Very dark red = 2 1/2 yards
Dark red = 1 1/2 yards
Scarlet red = 3 1/4 yards
Bright red = 1 1/4 yards
Dark pink = 1 1/4 yards
Light pink = 3/4 yard
Very light pink = 3/8 yard
White (can be various fabrics) = 2.5 yards
White for background (all same) = 1 3/4 yards

TIP:  Accept Challenges as they help you grow.  Try new colors as they expand your color perceptions.  Even when you don't win anything you learn new techniques, which you can use in other quilts.  You learn more about what you like to work on and what you are good at.  Sometimes you find out about things that you don't care about doing, and then you reevaluate and redirect your energy.


  1. What a beautiful design. Yours is wonderful. You've inspired me to start using Illustrator for designing. Vector graphics are really fun to manipulate.

  2. Wow, that is amazing. Very pretty and amply named. The piecing would certainly not be for the fainthearted.

  3. Very interesting design! Do you plan on making it during phase 3?

    1. I think I might, but it depends on what is going on around here. If I remember right we have 6 months to complete it and since that is over the summer, the timing may be a little tight. I also do all my own quilting - more time! We'll see. At any rate I will probably make it at some point.

  4. Wow, Mardi - this is spectacular!! I love paper piecing quilts. They really fascinate me, and once I learned techniques that kept me from messing up and wasting a lot of fabric, I really fell for the method!

  5. Wow! What a gorgeous and intricate design! This would definitely challenge me!

  6. • • • This is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! I too, design my own quilts, but I may have to break down and buy this one. My stash of Reds would look so cool in this.

    I would love for you to come and join my Scraps to Treasures Challenge on the HGTV Quilting Message Board ( Please e-mail me at if you are interested. You can check out the photos from past challenges here:

    I am positive if you join, you would win a prize. I look forward to hearing from you.

    aka Jayardi

  7. It is simply amazing. I love the complexity of your design. I remember that book, I think I read something about it times ago. I need my boyfriend to teach me how to use Illustrator do to some things like this.

    1. I love Illustrator and there are books and tutorials to help you learn what you need to know for your designing. I have used it for years for vector-driven projects. Sometimes boyfriends can teach you. My hubby gets frustrated explaining things to me because our brains work on different sides of the universe. I end up frustrated too so I turn to books!

  8. Stunning! Did not see the winner announcement, but this would certainly be my pick.

    1. Thank you. I never heard anything either, but I had fun creating the design.