‘To ignore an idea is to deny the art within you’

I understand that many homeowners these days choose to renovate their dwellings, rather than buy new houses in today’s economy.

I guess my husband and I are part of that trend, because we’re having some interior walls painted to add color in our dining and living rooms. New carpet will follow the painting.

I also want to reupholster the seats of our dining room chairs, and I’ve been toying with the idea of using a quilting pattern or quilt-related fabric on them.

This leads to my topic today, the second installment of the good stuff I’ve found on quilting blogs.

Again, the blogs I’ve been perusing are favorites of friend and fellow quilt guild member Sheila Symanski of Clifton.

At sassaman.blogspot.com, Jane Sassaman of Harvard, Ill., titles hers “Jane Sassaman’s Idea Book, Fresh Recipes for Jane’s Free Spirit Fabrics.” 

Right away, I saw a photo of her reupholstered Scandinavian Modern chairs. Talk about an inspiration.

Sassaman says they are her childhood chairs, and she chose “Sweet Potato Vine” fabric for them as her home decor leans toward primary colors. She says it also enhances the look of the chairs, which she loves.

This contemporary quilt artist, fabric designer, author and teacher favors bold, large-scale designs based on garden flowers and plants.

She travels internationally and spends time designing fabric for Free Spirit in New York City.

Sassaman also offers a free pattern for the “Prairie Gothic Quilt” made by Cheryl A. Adam and featuring fabric from Sassaman’s “Prairie Gothic” collection. The quilt measures about 59 inches by 74 inches.

Symanski’s daughter, Theresa Hart of Valdosta, Ga., enthusiastically promotes her favorite blog, willworkforfabric.typepad.com/my_weblog. Written by Megan Johnson, who lives in a small town in New Jersey, it shows many of this blogger’s works in progress.

Johnson favors hand applique and quilt patterns from Piece O’ Cake Designs by Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmith. Jenkins happens to be a Grand Junction resident while her partner, Goldsmith, lives in Sherman, Texas.

At this time, Johnson is making her own version of Piece O’ Cake’s “Aunt Millie’s Garden.” She shares colorful photos of each block as she finishes them.

Many quilts Johnson designs appear in McCall’s Quilting, and she sells her own patterns through Needletime Press.

Speaking of Piece O’ Cake, that team also maintains pieceocakeblog.blogspot.com, another of Symanski’s top picks.

You’ll find for sale some quilts made by Goldsmith and Jenkins that they are bringing out from their closets.

Also, they’re offering a free pattern for “Big Tulip Basket” with any online purchase from their company. It’s sweet.

Besides blogs, Symanski recommends some quilty Web sites. At http://www.quilterscache.com/quiltblocksgalore.html, you’ll find well-illustrated, easy-to-follow instructions for making star sashing strips.

The Web site belongs to Marcia Hohn, and she gives away many quilt block patterns for downloading, as well as labels you can print out.

I particularly liked her pieced border patterns in herringbone and curling ribbon designs.

Hohn writes about the inherent problems with pieced border units. Seldom do they turn out the exact size of your pieced quilt tops, she says. Her helpful solutions are easing the longer section into the smaller part or widening seam allowances incrementally to shorten the obstinate lengthier portion.

Here’s one of the cleverest lines I read on Hohn’s site: “No wonder quilters tend toward chocolate — we are always fudging.”

Symanski also likes to surf over to Moda Bake Shop, a division of Moda Fabrics that provides online quilt recipes, which you can use with a wide range of Moda pre-cut materials — deliciously referred to as dessert rolls, honey buns, jelly rolls, layer cakes and turnovers. Take a look at http://www.modabakeshop.com.

You have to admire Moda’s marketing department; those folks make it too tempting to resist their products.

From the company’s various designers, Moda publishes tutorials with its project sheets illustrating each step.

Symanski has made chenille hot pads from the Moda Bake Shop; that recipe is still available online.

I found instructions to make a fabric cover for a three-ring binder notebook. I may give that project a try myself.

OK, one final blog promo. I found some great advice on “Jeana’s Journal,” http://www.jeana

From Spring City, Utah, Jeana Kimball writes that the creative process cannot be controlled.

“New ideas cannot be called up at will. In fact, they often appear at the most inopportune times,” she says.

“Worse still, if a great idea is ignored, or pushed aside to be developed later, it will disappear altogether into the recesses of the mind.”

For Kimball, it’s important to at least write down her idea and sketch out the quilt design, even if it’s filed away for future use.

She heeds the wisdom of a friend who once told her that “to ignore an idea is to deny the art that is within you.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

• E-mail Sherida.Warner


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