Thursday, December 11, 2014

Modern Low Volume vs Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Low Volume fabrics have become very popular in the modern quilting world and while there are many different opinions on what is or isn't Modern Low Volume, I thought I'd take a moment and talk about low volume prints and how they differ from Traditional Quilting Neutrals.

When I first saw a quilt using Modern Low Volume fabrics I thought "Wow, what a great idea. So fresh and modern". But as the wave of quilts and fabric bundles have come out I also have noticed that many new quilters are still confused as to what Modern Low Volume fabrics are.

From here on I will refer to Modern Low Volume fabric as MLV and Traditional Quilting Neutrals as TQN.

Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Photo credit - Keepsake Quilting Butter Churn bundle

I think I need to explain first what TQN fabrics are, or at least what I think they are. 

I made this quilt many years ago in Civil War Repros.

Back in the day (yuck that makes me sound old) - when I first started quilting I was a traditional quilter, I used Civil War reproduction fabrics, 1930's reproduction fabrics, muddy colors and lots of beige. 

A baby quilt I made as a gift in 1930's repro.

I used a lot of what was called Neutrals or now called TQN fabrics for backgrounds. I  loved them at the time, and the simple truth is that was all we had available for background fabrics other than the typical solid fabric or muslin.

Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Above is an example of TQN fabrics commonly used in traditional quilts as background fabrics. TQN are usually tone on tone prints ranging from off-white to beige with a warm tone to them.

Example of TQN used in the background. I made this quilt as a challenge to use all stash and scrap fabrics. 

Most TQN have little to no color other than the cream to beige range, although they can have a little color in them - small amounts and very subtle.

Mini Log Cabin Heart quilt made using TQN.

While the quilts above are beautiful, they say to me 'Traditional' as opposed to 'Modern'. I can appreciate a traditional quilt just as much as I can appreciate an 'Art' quilt or 'Modern' quilt! And it doesn't hurt my feelings if you call them traditional, because I understand the concept between Modern vs Traditional. (and those are my traditional quilts I am showing above :)

Modern Low Volume Prints

With the Modern and Modern-Traditionalism quilt movement came the use of modern prints for background fabrics and thus created the MLV trend.

MLV fabrics are often graphic prints with white or light gray backgrounds, and can contain color.

The MLV fabric use was slowly building until the book 'Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects' by Amanda Jean Nybery and Cheryl Arkison was published, then the quilting world exploded with MLV fabric bundles and projects.

Photo credit - Westwood Acres Inside Voices Club

MLV fabrics are bright and clean as opposed to the TQN that are more muted and warm in tone. When looking for MLV fabrics look for graphic prints on white or very light background.

Riley Blake's Geekly Chic Glasses on off-white
I try and stay away from fabrics with a cream or beige background that has very little contrast or no color. With the exception of graphic prints on off-white backgrounds. Sometimes you will come across MLV fabrics with a muted background like the example above. Riley Blake's Geekly Chic Glass fabric in off-white is a modern graphic print and an excellent MLV.

Tailored Key by Annette Tatum for Free Spirit

Annette Tatum's fabric 'Tailored - Key' for Free Spirit graphic print with royal blue on a crisp white background is a great example of a MLV fabric. Using a bold color in a tiny print that is toned down with the white background.

Posy by Aneel Hoey

'Posy' by Aneel Hoey is another example of a MLV fabric, a whimsical print with a white background and small doses of color. 

While just about any pale modern print fabric can be classified as a MLV, it is more about the use in a modern quilt for the overall visual effect.

Photo credit - Film in the Frig's quilt Marcelle Plus 

In the Marcelle Plus quilt by 'Film in the Fridge', Ashley Newcomb uses many MLV fabrics for the background and bold color prints for the pluses. The bold color prints stand out but play nicely against the MLV fabrics. Your eye is drawn to the pluses and the MLV blend into the background.

This lovely low volume quilt was made by Rita Hodge of 'Red Pepper Quilts'  she uses all MLV fabrics here. In this quilt she lets the low volume fabrics sing, and though some may stand out more than others, this quilt has a calming feel to it.

Mod Pop by Anne Sullivan of Play-Crafts

Mod Pop by Anne Sullivan of Play-Crafts is a wonderful example of MLV in tones of light gray and bright bold blue prints. Not only a very modern use of fabric but a very modern design.

Pillow Tutorial by Amanda of A Crafty Fox

Amanda from 'A Crafty Fox' created this pillow pattern and tutorial using MLV, bold colorful prints and Essex linen. Again a great example of using MLV fabrics to make the bold colors pop - the orange hexagons are the first thing you see.

Here in 'Her Light Within' a mini quilt, I used a few MLV prints in two quarters of the large sun to contrast the stark white, orange and aqua prints.

Both MLV and TQN have been used as backgrounds in quilts and both are equally beautiful, yet they have totally different aesthetics and create an overall different visual outcome.

Hopefully I may have helped you and not added to the confusion of the question 'What is a low volume fabric?'.

Will I make more quilts with TQN? Of course! Will I make more quilts with MLV? You can bet on that!!


PS - all the spelling and grammar errors are free of charge ;)
(I am a notoriously horrible English student)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Selfish Sewing Saturdays in September

September is National Sewing Month, to celebrate that and our creativity I am hosting a challenge. We as creators give so much of ourselves not only in sewing and art but in our lives, we often don't take the time to make for ourselves. This month I challenge 'YOU'  to sew something for yourself. Whether it be something small or large, simple or elaborate just spend some time on a Saturday in September to create for yourself and feed your soul!

Here the rules -

Post a picture of a completed item that you have sewn for yourself on a Saturday in September to Instagram and tag with #selfishsewingsaturdaysept2014
Entries must be posted by September 30th
Winners will be chosen at random - Winners will be announced on Oct 4th

More prizes to be announced

Follow me on instagram LaBellaColori

Monday, June 9, 2014

Block Tutorial - Pick Up Sticks

Block Tutorial - Pick Up Sticks (Improv Block Making)

I am not normally a improv quilter. I like plans and maps and the orderly process of quilt making. Improvisation scares me, yep it does!
I know there are other quilters like me and I know that there are quilters who are thrilled to cut and sew with wild abandon. But sadly thats not me...

So to get over my fear and learn to love the freedom this type of piecing can bring, I decided to make a tutorial for all the 'uptight - like their rules - always needing a pattern' quilters like me :)

Start with a 13" square of solid fabric and strips from 1" to 2" wide strips (any size you have, but much longer than 13") of solid fabrics. Use as many strips as you want.

Now lay the 13" square on your cutting board. 
You are going to cut it ....and not use a measurement.
But do use a ruler to make a straight cut.
Make a cut - yea, go ahead and do it! I promise it will be ok!

Next take one of the strips and place it on the cut square.
Take it to the sewing  machine and using a 1/4" seam allowance sew it.

Press the strip and trim even with the original square.

Trim both ends.

Now line up the other side of the square.
Make sure you have at least 1/4" points on the top and bottom.

See here... the little point.
Sew and then press. 

Now you are ready to add another strip.
Cut as before, but make sure to have fun with it!!

Add another strip.
Keep going until you feel happy :)

Now you have an untrimmed block.
Press well 
Optional - I use spray starch, it helps with my uptight 'A' type personality ;)

Trim to 12.5" square.
All done and you did it!!
You just did improv block making!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Illegally Stealing Blogger Content - Important!!!

I have received quite a few emails about La Bella Colori blog posts showing up on a web site at Quilt Patterns Pro. 

They have taken content from many bloggers without permission or linking back to the original site. The web site is a Scraper site with the sole purpose to collect revenue off of your hard work and your blog post! Don't let this happen, please contact Go Daddy, who hosts the web site.

For more information visit The Bitchy Stitcher here and here.

If you find out your blog content has been comprised  Alison at Little Bunny Quilts has graciously created a copy and paste letter you can email to Go Daddy.

Ok, done with my rant!

Kira xoxo

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wonderful New Beginnings

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” - Eda J LeShan

My dear friends have a baby boy on the way, such a great blessing for a very deserving couple!! I wanted to make something they could enjoy and celebrate with their new baby.  I had to keep it a secret as the new momma-to-be watches my posts, but now that the baby shower is over I can share :)

Carter's quilt was made using Amanda of Jedi Craft Girl's Monster Truck Quilt Tutorial. Her tutorial is perfect! It was quick and easy, and so cute too! The finished measurements on this quilt is 36" by 48". I used the 12.5" blocks (12" finished) in a 3 by 4 layout, total blocks used were 12. Instead of a monster truck, I went with a cute elephant applique very similar to the couples nursery decorations. I found the applique at Sew4Home's post 'Super Cute Animal Applique Pillows'.


The nursery colors are navy, green, gray and taupe. Which made this a great quilt to use Riley Blake's chevrons and dots fabric prints, along with Kona navy, ash (gray) and green. I use a raw-edge applique technique for his name and the cute elephant, and stitched down with a simple zigzag stitch. It is quilted with a simple meandering quilting design with gray thread.

For the banner/bunting I also used raw edge applique and the same fabrics as in the quilt.

Using Noodlehead's Divided Basket pattern and fabric scraps from the quilt, I finished up this cute fabric basket just in time. I highly recommend the Divided Basket pattern - great instructions and very well written!

I love all the room in there!!

And also to add in the basket - 5 burp cloths and a flannel receiving blanket.  Had a wonderful time at the baby shower and the couple love all the gifts they received. Looking forward to meeting Carter!! xoxo

~A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.~ Anonymous 

Monday, March 17, 2014

How I Create Diagrams for Tutorials in MS Paint

Recently I was asked how I create the diagrams I use in the tutorials I make here and for the ECMQG blog lottery block tutorials. The answer is kind of funny but I use the basic old program that comes with just about every Windows based computer - Paint. This is a very quick tutorial of MS Paint - if you have any questions please let me know I would be glad to answer them.

MS Paint is a very basic drawing program, and while it won't do what other more advanced programs will, you can learn to use it when needed.

With Paint you build from the bottom up as Paint doesn't have 'layers' like more advanced programs. The trick is to save as you go, but save different versions just in case you change your mind, and the last change is not what you wanted. **Also when saving make sure to use .jpg file extension which is easier to use in other programs.

I will walk you through how I created this diagram for cutting squares for a block tutorial.

Open up Paint

Make sure the working area is the size you need it, the bigger the better! You can crop away excess later. To make the work area larger left click and hold the bottom right corner and stretch. 

Next I clicked on the shapes rectangle tool (it makes squares too) and made sure I have selected the color 1 as black (you see it highlighted in orange in the picture below).

To the right of the shape tools there is the size box, if you click on the arrow a drop down box appears and you can change the line thickness. 

To create the square left click and hold then move the cursor until you are happy with the square size and shape. You can always click the return arrow in the upper left hand corner and start over.

Now to make the 'red' cutting line, click on the shape tool that looks like a line. Also select color 1 as red and choose your line thickness.

Just like creating the square, I used left click/hold with the cursor starting in the bottom left of the square at the corner and and dragging to the upper right corner to draw the line from one corner to the other. Again if it is not where you like it you can always click the return arrow to start over.

At this point I save it with a generic name. That way I can work on it and if I happen to make a mistake I can go back to the original and start over.

Now to make the text.

You want to click on the 'Text' tool to select it and click on your choice of text color by selecting color 1.

Again left click hold and drag to create a text window or box. 

Above you can see after you have created a text box the text tools open up - this is where you can change the font and size.

After choosing the font and text size, enter ythe text. **Do not click outside this text box, if you do you will not be able to edit the text anymore. (Paint does not have spell check so carefully check your spelling) 

As long as the box is open you can edit the text, you can move the text box and add to it. Once you have the text where you want it click outside the box and it is now locked into the picture.

Continue to add text or shapes until you have the picture the way you would like. Save again at this point.

Now let's crop it to a manageable size, select 'Select' -- yes my bad, but its funny :)

And place your cursor at the top left of the area you want to keep. If the dotted outline is not where you want it to be just click somewhere out side the selected area and start over. 

When you have the area selected, go back to the tool bar and select 'Crop'.

Save and use.

Now go have fun in Paint, play around and learn what a simple basic free program can do :)

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