a quilt in progress…

For my next quilt, I decided I wanted to use some great handprinted fabrics from Umbrella Prints. I purchased three of their trimmings packs from my local shop, Nido. I tried to select three with similar colors, and it was fun to get home and look through the packs to see what I got. I wasn’t sure what type of pattern I wanted to use, so I put the trimmings away for a while. Then the other day I decided to just go for it and see what it turned into. I took a few photos along the way –


So it started with these prints. These are just a few of them, since I failed to get a photo of the whole selection, But I pulled out all those that were gray, blue, neutral and green.


I thought I’d pair them with these solids.


I found that I had 4 pieces of the gray heart print, so I separated the prints into four groups, each with similar colors. I had just put away one of these quilts I made years ago, so I started thinking that I could do something similar with four blocks and some negative space.


Then I remembered this quilt from Jacquie and Katie’s Quilting Modern book, and thought that perhaps I could make something similar using my selected prints and solids.


I started making blocks, using the gray hearts as the center of each.


(Auditioning fabrics for the next rings)


And another block. I tried to keep the fabrics in a similar order in each block, starting with the gray hearts, surrounded by the gray solid, then white, then blue, etc. Here I thought that the next ring would be the gray, followed by green.


(3 of the blocks in progress). At this point I still wasn’t quite sure where this was going, if anywhere! And based on the size and shape, I no longer thought that these blocks would work with the Tunnel Vision quilt.


After studying it for a while, I decided I disliked that outer gray portion, so I removed it. Then I decided to ditch the green altogether.


Starting to get somewhere! Now these are looking a bit more cohesive and I finally felt like this would turn into something.


So now I had my four blocks and as it turned out, they ended up being rectangular in shape, so I turned back to the Tunnel Vision quilt and arranged my blocks in a similar pattern.


I surrounded each block in white similar to their quilt and then tried out two colors of Essex yarn dyed solids. When I first made my fabric selections, I included the Essex in flax, but after eliminating the greens and adding in more blues, I found myself more drawn to the Essex in the black.

While my version doesn’t have the same visual impact as theirs (and no tunnel effect!), I’m pretty happy how things ended up, and how I was able to use all these fun Umbrella Prints pieces. I think it’s interesting to see how it evolved and changed along the way — even though this wasn’t my original vision, or even original color selection, I’m pretty pleased with the finished quilt top, which I’ll show you next week!

By the way, Umbrella Prints holds an annual Trimmings Competition, and this is their fourth year holding the competition. I've always enjoyed seeing what people make out of these prints, and I was thrilled to be asked to be a judge this year! You can find all the details of the competition over here, and you can purchase your Trimmings packs from their Big Cartel or Etsy shop.

Projects need to be entered by the end of May, so there's plenty of time to buy yourself a trimmings pack and stitch up a little something!
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11 Responses to a quilt in progress…

  1. 1
    Barbara (Quilt for Fun) says:

    I love the way you shared your creative process, and think the blocks turned out really well. Good color choices – I agree with the ones you removed, also. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. 2
    Ramona says:

    Love the way this quilt is shaping up! Like Barbara (above), I love that you share the creative process here. too fun.

  3. 3
    Jenny says:

    Can’t wait to see it. I’m super excited about the dark background.

  4. 4
    Diane lundquist says:

    Love it, great job!

  5. 5
    Tonya Albers says:

    Loved the glimpse into your creative process! Thanks for sharing – it made me a little more confident šŸ™‚

  6. 6
    katie says:

    Love process posts! I think I have one in the works myself.

  7. 7
    Dawna says:

    Thank you for sharing your process. I am very new to all of this and I have what is probably a silly question,but what are “trimmings”? Are they what they sound like–basically someone’s scraps or pieces trimmed from blocks or other quilt pieces?

  8. 8

    i love where this is going! the scrapiness is great!

  9. 9
    Sonja says:


    I want to say THANK YOU so much for blogging about quilts and other sewing things. In 2011 I fell ill and while trying to distract myself I found your amazing blog-and what was even better you had tutorials. Then, I found the string quilt tutorial and just had to make it. I enjoyed the process so much, it was such a wonderful experience. I tried to use fabric from my stash, however I needed a bi more yellow, and ended up at a fabulous local quilt shop. However, I ended up with more than just yellow, there were blues and and more yellows and I just couldn’t help myself. LOL .

    I have completed the quilt top, and will quilt it this spring. Thank you so much for blogging.

    Sonja Doyle
    Regina, Sk

  10. Pingback: FITF: Umbrella Prints improv | Film in the Fridge

  11. 10
    Marianne says:

    I bought a packet and what a disappointment. The cotton is nice but the hemp/cotton scraps are like indoor/outdoor canvas, ugh. I seemed to end up with a lot of selvedge on my pieces also which yields not too much to work with.

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