Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quilt Artist Bonita McFadden

Our good friend Bonita McFadden is one of the most talented quilters that we know ! Born in California, Bonita spent her career in the field of medicine as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (C.R.N.A.) In the midst of her career, she took a class in quilt applique in 1989 and has been quilting enthusiastically ever since. She quilts as a memory of her travels around the world and as a tribute to her family members. Bonita's quilts have appeared in several quilt shows, including the prestigious Pacific International Quilt Festival. We know you'll enjoy her very gifted and innovative work ! We love all these quilts -- let us know in the comments which one is your favorite !

Things Chinese, 68 x 75", by Bonita McFadden


As a tribute to her brother, Frank Porter, Bonita constructed this noble and elegant dragon from a hanging tapestry displayed in Hali Magazine in 1995. The background is done in pieced rectangles, and the dragon is sewn in needle-turn hand applique, accented by machine satin stitch, couch stitching, and free-motion quilting.

Closeup, Things Chinese by Bonita McFadden


Hali Magazine provides an apt description of the dragon: "Powerful and Merciful. The Chinese dragon is the symbol for the male, fertile rain, imperial power, wealth, success, and the striving force of nature. He is a benevolent creature, who has been worshipped since primitive times as Lung Wang, the Dragon King. Originally, he was a composite beast with antlers on a camel's head, hare's eyes, snake neck, frog's belly, carp's scales, and eagles claws. His gaping mouth, gigantic feelers below the round eyes, ......fire playing round his body, and his sharp claws, all give him a frightening aspect.
For his strength, he is always shown pursuing Jui Chu, the wish-granting flaming pearl, striving for immortality and perfection."

Close up, Things Chinese by Bonita McFadden


In this close-up, you can see the "Jui Chu", the wish-granting flaming pearl that is pursued by the dragon. It is adorned with lovely pearl beads, surrounded by couch-stitched flames.

Cearbi's Dream, 48 x 50", by Bonita McFadden


One of Bonita's friends named CRB, told her of a startling dream she had one night, where a frightened man appeared, holding his hand up to his forehead. Bonita made a fabric rendition of this dream to enter into a quilt show in Pennsylvania. She pieced the background and needle-turn appliqued the foreground, using her husband's hand and her own mouth and eyes as models. The border with its bright red jagged slashes, is decorated with small white shells for contrast. The irregular trapezoid shape of the quilt symbolizes the off-kilter aspects of dream consciousness.

Close up, Cearbi's Dream by Bonita McFadden


Tiny couch-stitching embellishes the flash of light around the man's face. By using high contrast bold print fabric and motifs that resemble lightning bolts, Bonita has expertly captured the surreal and vivid images that one experiences while dreaming.

Mom and the Masai Warrior, 49 x 70", by Bonita McFadden


When Bonita and her mother were on safari in Tanzania, Africa, they met a group of Masai tribespeople. Bonita took a photo of her mother standing next to one of the warriors in traditional dress, which became the inspiration for this fascinating and colorful work.

Close-up, Mom and the Masai Warrior by Bonita McFadden


Bonita pieced the quilt background with isosceles triangles which form partial hexagons. Small gold charms in the shape of animals were used as embellishments, and several of these fabrics were purchased in Africa.  Both Bonita's mother and the warrior wear necklaces of real beads, which enhances the three-dimensional aspect of this spectacular quilt. 

Close up, Mom and the Masai Warrior by Bonita McFadden


On the quilt back, Bonita has included the photo she used for this original design. As her mother loved elephants, Bonita used a large-scale elephant print for the backing fabric and decorated the lower border of the quilt front with appliqued elephants.


Bonita used the Broderie Perse applique method to affix these large scale lion prints to the quilt background. Also depicted on this quilt are zebras, elephants, rhinoceroses,and giraffes. Surrounded by images of so many large creatures of the animal kingdom, it is easy to imagine that we are part of this fabulous African journey.

Segami 60 x 84, by Bonita McFadden


"Segami" is the word "images" spelled backwards. This stunning quilt depicts a collection of masks that Bonita and her husband acquired on their travels. Shown here are masks from France, Haiti, Africa, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as a replica of a construction paper mask created by Bonita's niece, Wendy Porter. We can almost hear the trade winds whispering their invitation to visit all the exotic ports of call symbolized by this fascinating display!

Close up, Segami by Bonita McFadden


A face that is both primitive and modern, with its abstract dimensions, this block of the Segami quilt is embellished with small jingle bells and feathers. The richly hued background colors of grape, pink, orange, and green really help direct the viewer's eye to the soft neutrals of this fascinating countenance.

Close up, Segami by Bonita McFadden


The Olmec Indians were an ancient tribe of southern Mexico. They are known for their sculptures of massive stone heads, as symbolized by this mask, appliqued by Bonita in muted monochromatic hues of jade green. The words above the mask, written by Bonita's stepdaughter Mary Catherine McFadden say, "A mask allows humankind the opportunity to view the world from a hidden place."


Stately, distinctive curved horns and electric blue eyes decorate the intriguing visage of this animal mask made in Africa. The background is pieced of solid and print fabrics, and the face is done in needle-turn applique.


From Thailand, this mask is comprised of silver metal applied to an empty turtle shell. The applique is done in metallic fabric, embellished with satin stitch and couch-stitched metallic yarn.


Here's an original mask designed by Bonita herself, embellished with small flowers with center beads, satin stitching, and a very stylish top knot set with a jeweled stone.

Memories of Michael, 39 x 61", by Bonita McFadden


Bonita created this very cheery, vibrant quilt in loving memory to her late husband, Michael McFadden.  Michael is symbolized by the face of the sun, and the appliqued hand prints that surround him are those of Bonnie's stepchildren and their children. Michael's Irish heritage is shown by the happy green shamrocks on the upper right of this original design.  On the upper center, Bonita has constructed a three dimensional  cloth wallet that opens to display some of Michael's mementos, such as his passport, his country club pin and crest showing that he was an avid golfer, and a list of his favorite books.

Close-up, Memories of Michael by Bonita McFadden


Underneath the three-dimensional face of this sun wearing silver spectacles is a photo of Michael, who wore identical silver spectacles. He was  often described by those who knew him as a bright ray of sunshine in the lives of his family and friends.  We found this quilt to be a very touching, moving way to depict the happiness in married life that Bonita and Michael found together.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pineapple delight: Pineapple log cabin quilts!

This is our first-ever feature on Pineapple Log Cabin quilts.  As the IQSCM explains, the Pineapple block design radiates from the center, and the overlapping angled strips produce a jagged edge that creates a whirl of motion.   Here are some dazzling examples!  (If you are interested in trying a pineapple block or quilt, scroll down for free patterns!)

Note:  We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter! Check us out @QuiltInspire.

Summer Love by Keith Dommer


Blue ribbon winner at the 2014 Tucson Quilt Fiesta for Best Machine Quilted Pieced and Appliqued quilt, Keith writes, "Finally - it's finished !  My first quilt adding turned-edge machine applique to amp up a traditional pieced quilt. And apparently 15 years ago when I started this, I really liked green and orange together."  Keith's message is humorous, but it contains an important lesson:  Never give up on a UFO ( unfinished object), because you might achieve spectacular results upon its completion !


The use of gray and black neutrals as a background really help the green and orange blocks to "pop", in order to display the distinctive triangular, geometric look of the pineapple design. The circles within the center diamonds provide an innovative adaption to this traditional pattern.

Pineapple Log Cabin quilt by Sheila Arnold


Sheila Arnold notes, "I made this quilt to research methods of construction to teach a pineapple log cabin class." Sheila's quilt was part of the "Pieced Pineapple Special Exhibit" shown at the 2014 Quilt Arizona Show in Mesa, AZ.

Close up, Pineapple Log Cabin quilt by Sheila Arnold


The pineapple pattern is one that looks great in high contrast colors, whether the fabric is batik, solid colors, or small calico prints. The midnight blue, cream, and red calico prints give a contemporary, but warm and cozy look to this eye-catching design. Extra visual interest is provided by the four-patch blocks which nicely frame the quilt's center medallion.

Red Licorice, 34 x 34",  by Linda McGibbon


Linda explains, "I used pineapple blocks in a diamond shape. I then used black background fabric in some of the pieces and Stitch-n-Ditch to make the design three dimensional." Red Licorice won Second Place, Pieced-Small, at the 2013 Shipshewana Quilt Festival. A pattern for Red Licorice is available at Linda McGibbon's website: Lakeview Quilting.

Close up, Red Licorice by Linda McGibbon


Set against the dark black background, these high-chroma hues glow beautifully, almost as if they are illuminated by a black light.

When Pineapples Kaleide by Judy D. Birchett, quilted by Kate Snyder


This elegant creation is a cross between a Lone Star and a Pineapple quilt.  Judy Birchett says that When Pineapples Kaleide was based on the New Day Dawning quilt pattern, which can be found in the book, Pineapple Stars by Sharon Rexroad (2005).

Close up, When Pineapples Kaleide by Judy D. Birchett, quilted by Kate Snyder


Judy used the word "kaleide" to title this quilt, because her design looks like the pattern seen inside a kaleidoscope, a mirror-filled cylinder which displays fragments of images when one looks into it. This intricate center star is surrounded by an intriguing quilting pattern which replicates the sharp points of the pineapple blocks, but also adds some lyrical curves to provide a sense of balance to this innovative work.

Aurora by Dixie Haywood, exhibited by Lynn Kough


Lynn Kough says, "[This] quilt was purchased at a National Quilting Association Little Quilt Auction, which benefits the Grant Programs. It's wonderful to own a pineapple quilt made by one of the "dynamic duo" - Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood."
There are actually nine pineapple blocks in this quilt. In the blocks on the edges, the four outer pineapple rings were done in a single color (purple), which emphasizes the octagonal shape within each block.


The center block, done in four different colors, is shown below:


Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood have promoted the paper-piecing method of constructing pineapple quilts in order to enhance accuracy, which you can see in these blocks. In fact, in their book Hall and Haywood's Foundational Quilts, they advocate for using paper-piecing in the construction of almost every traditional geometric pattern.

Fresh Pineapple Possibilities, 2013, by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood (Amazon)



On her website,  Jane Hall says, "My friend Dixie Haywood and I have written six books about this old-made-new technique. We wrote the first book on Pineapples and have been known ever since as ‘The Pineapple Queens.’ "

For more pineapple inspiration, here are some fun tutorials and free patterns:

Patterned pineapple block, free pattern with templates, download at Quilt Mag


Pineapple block tutorial by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts



Inside Out pineapple block, free pattern by Louise at Feelin' Crafty


What makes this block "inside out" ?  Louise says:  "When I really looked at... all the pineapple blocks out there, the square in the middle is little and the small part of the ‘pineapple’ is in the center. I wanted the block to be just the opposite!" This block became the center of the 2015 Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month quilt.

Improv Pineapple Log Cabin block tutorial at The Modern Quilt Guild


The typical pineapple log cabin block is paper pieced, but this modern version by Jacquie Gering is improvisationally pieced with stitch-and-flip triangles.

Royal pineapple quilt, paper pieced, free pattern by Jinny Beyer (PDF download) 


Royal Pineapple is made with 14" blocks in a 4 x 4 setting. One of the blocks is highlighted in white in the above photo.

New Moon quilt, 95 x 95", free pattern by Jinny Beyer


New Moon features pineapple blocks alternating with mariner's compass blocks. Set side-by-side and with carefully shaded fabrics, the blocks create a soft glow.

Image credits:  Quilt show photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the Arizona Quilters' Guild show, the Tucson Quilt Fiesta (Summer Love), and the Houston International Quilt Festival (Red Licorice).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Free pattern day: Baby quilts! (part 3)

Happy New Year to all, and welcome to the 45th Free Pattern Day at Quilt Inspiration!  We love baby and toddler quilts, and we're sharing 100 free patterns we admire. Here is Part 3 of 3 (also see Part 1 and Part 2).  To go to a pattern, simply click on the hyperlink in the title above each quilt !  Note: This post was updated on July 22, 2017.
*For more free patterns, follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/quiltinspire


Picnic Plaid baby quilt, 36 x 54", free pattern at Play Crafts


Guppies for Lunch quilt, 50 x 50", free pattern by Jessee Maloney for Michael Miller Fabrics


Retro Plaid baby quilt, 55 x 61", free pattern at Birch Fabrics (PDF download)


Nordic Snowflake variation, ~39"square, inspired by Gudrun Erla at All People Quilt


Baby zig zag quilt, 36 x 45",  free pattern by Anna Maria Horner (PDF download)


Farm House mini quilt, free pattern by Keiko Vogel at Birch Fabrics


The Plus Side quilt, 48 x 60", free pattern at Robert Kaufman Fabrics


Stair Steppin' Baby quilt tutorial at Sew In Love With Fabric


Sweet Baby Flannels quilt, 45 x 45", free pattern at Moda Fabrics


You Are My Sunshine Baby Quilt, 30 x 31", free pattern by Susan Weinroth for Fiskars



Safari Sweet quilt, 48 x 60", free pattern by Alyssa Thomas for Clothworks (PDF download)


Superstar baby quilt, 34 x 30” , free pattern by Malka Dubrawsky for United Notions (PDF download)


Turning Leaves quilt, 54 x 54", free pattern at Cloud 9 Fabrics 


Umbrella quilt, ~34 x 42", free pattern by Vicki Stratton for Hoffman Fabrics


Rhythm quilt, 52 x 52”, free pattern at Cloud 9 Fabrics

 
Modern Chevron Baby Quilt, 45 x 60",  tutorial at Bonjour Quilts


Penguin Frolic baby quilt, 50 x 64”, free pattern by Judy Gelzinis Donovan for How Stuff Works


Ships Ahoy baby quilt, ~44 x 66”, free pattern by Rhoda Nelson for All People Quilt


Nautical Baby quilt, ~44 x 56", free pattern by Rhoda Nelson for All People Quilt


Toddle Time baby quilt, 39 x 39”, free pattern by Vivian Ritter for McCall’s Quilting


Rail Fence baby quilt, ~37 x 47”, free pattern at All People Quilt


Party Girl, 24 x 34", free pattern by Rana Heredia at Sewn Into The Fabric


Modern Rainbow baby quilt, 36 x 50”, free pattern at Piper’s Girls


Around the Block quilt, ~51” square, super size log cabin, free pattern by Jennifer Keltner at All People Quilt



Simple Pinwheel quilt, 44 x 66", free pattern by Pam Rocco for Quilters Newsletter


Lucy quilt, 52 x 52”, free pattern by Swirly Girls Design for Michael Miller Fabrics


Ladder Lattice quilt, 48 x 48", tutorial by Kristin Schwarze as seen at Sew Mama Sew



Truckin’ On quilt, 40 x 48”, free pattern by Riley Blake Designs (PDF download) (includes truck applique template)


Tulip Chain quilt, 40 x 40", free pattern at Riley Blake Designs (PDF download) (made with four 20" blocks)


Stars and Stripes for baby, 54 x 54”, free pattern by Cindy Carter at Carter Quilter


Sundial quilt, 50 x 50”, free pattern by Lynne Goldsworthy for Dear Stella Design


Hugs & Kisses for baby, 52 x 52”, free pattern by Cindy Carter at Carter Quilter


Kite n’ Kaboodle quilt, 38 x 38”, free pattern by June Dudley for Quiltmaker


Star crib quilt, ~51” square, free pattern inspired by designer Cyndi Walker for All People Quilt


Modern Baby Quilt, 40 x 43", tutorial at Piece N Quilt


Edinburgh Square baby quilt, 48 x 48”, free pattern by Rachel Hayes for McCall’s Quilting


Sunrise baby quilt, 36 x 43", tutorial by Erika Mulvenna at We All Sew


Charm Box quilt, ~36 x 45”, free pattern and video tutorial at Fat Quarter Shop


Unicorns quilt, 41 x 49”, free pattern by Marinda Stewart for Michael Miller Fabrics


Deep Blue Sea baby quilt, 38 x 48", free pattern and tutorial by Erica Jackman at Kitchen Table Quilting


Just color quilt, 40 x 40”, free wonky log cabin pattern at Studio E Fabrics


City Traffic quilt, free pattern by Pam Rocco for Quilters Newsletter


Round About quilt, ~40 x 50”, free pattern by Allison Jane Smith for Windham Fabrics


Crayon Box quilt, 44 x 52”, free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for Michael Miller Fabrics


Let’s Visit the Zoo, ~52 x 64”, free pattern by Cheryl A. Adam for Free Spirit Fabrics (PDF download) (includes applique templates for elephant, whales, lion, giraffes)


Loves Me, Loves Me Not quilt, 38 x 47”, free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for P&B Textiles (PDF download) (includes flower applique templates)


Butterflies-a-Flutter baby quilt, free butterfly applique templates at Thermoweb


Circle Quilt, 52" across, tutorial by Julie Herman at Jaybird Quilts


Eloise Elephant, approximately 13″ x 13″ x 2″, designed by Margaret Cronin of Cecil & Clyde for Dear Stella Design (PDF download)


Star and cloud shape pillows, free templates and tutorial at Camelot Fabrics


IMAGE CREDIT: All images are copyrighted by their owners. Please respect their generosity in sharing their free patterns, and the restrictions they have placed on the use of these designs. Complete information can be found at the designers' websites provided in the links.  Some of these are tutorials while others include downloadable (.pdf) patterns; we have tried to note which is which in the titles.  We update our links every 6 months as needed; however, websites may change their pages in between updates.  If any link is broken, we'd love to know so we can fix it; email us at quiltinspiration {at} gmail {dot} com.
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