Monday, December 18, 2017

We're Dot Crazy!

If you're crazy for dots, no doubt you've been (im)patiently waiting for the arrival of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr's new collection, Dot Crazy. These bright, fun prints are so much more than dots, and packed full of inspiration. Today we are sharing an interview with Weeks and Bill about their fabrics. This husband and wife team both have design backgrounds (Bill's is in modern art, and Weeks, among other things, is a master Japanese flower arranger). Within a copule meonths of meeting, they made their first quilt together, and their favorite jokes is that when Bill asked Weeks to marry him, he was marrying her for her Bernina. 
They spend their days designing, sewing, teaching and creating their publication, Modern Quilts Illustrated, as part of their business, the Modern Quilt Studio. Weeks and Bill were modern quilters before modern became a thing, and we're thrilled that they've brought their design talents to Contempo Studio!

What made you decide to create a collection based on polka dots?
We work frequently with a Japanese quilting magazine called Quilt Jikan; our aesthetic is very much in line with modern Japanese design. I wanted to do a version of the On the Dot quilt using a whole bunch of different dots. I got our dot collection together from our stash and posted a photo on social media. That picture went crazy! People wanted to know where we got al those dots. Sometimes you think you’re the only person who likes something, but we got such an exceptional response and people wanted to know where we’d gotten all those dots.

Can you tell us more about Yayoi Kusama and how she influenced you?
She’s a contemporary Japanese artist—really a household name in Japan. All of her work is polka dots. She has nothing to do directly with our fabrics, but her artwork puts polka dots on people’s minds. You’ll be blown away by her work. She’s had a traveling show in American museums this year, and tickets are in ultra high demand. I have a feeling there’s going to be a trickle down of dots into mainstream design because of her work.

Tell us about your dot collection.
I kept telling Bill that I wished we’d had larger dots and more varieties of colors (when making the On the Dot quilt). In the back of my mind, I had this fantasy of designing a line with a huge number of dots. Most people design dots that are all the same size. To me, that’s missing the point of the fun.
We really wanted this line to be fun. It’s half dots and half prints that are friends of dots. We always want to design beautiful fabrics, but also beautiful fabrics that you can use with what you already have. You can use them with solids, plaids…there are so many different things you can do with them because they’re such a timeless motif.

We’ve always loved circles and dots. We even have a 15-year-old portrait of us in front of a giant dot quilt!

How did you choose what sizes and color combinations to include in the line?
Narrowing down to just 18 SKUs was really hard. If you’re going for this kind of look, you want a ton of dots. At the same time, we wanted both quilt shop owners and customers to look at the fabric and get excited about it—it needed to be visually compelling. For us, one of the checklists that a fabric collection has to pass is ‘does it look good in a fat quarter bundle?’ If you stack up the whole line, are there just three interesting prints, and then a bunch of blenders that you don’t “have” to have? We think that if you stack up Dot Crazy and remove one print, it would look like there’s a hole. Every one of those colors had to be in there.
Everyone is talking about the Fun and Games print!
I felt like having a very busy but fun fabric that you could fussy cut and make kaleidoscope with really elevated the line. If we had done only dots, I would have had a voice in the back of my head saying, “it’s just dots.” We love it. It’s just happy as yardage. We like to play around with scale. This print is great on the bolt, but you can cut a 3” square and get a really interesting textile too.

What do you want quilters to think about as they see your fabric?
Our ultimate goal is to get people to make things. We want them to be successful. 
We want to expand people’s definitions of what they thought they could do with a quilt. We’ve created a publication to show people what they can do with these fabrics. Use these prints boldly and mix them in with things you already have. Don’t be afraid to mix them with plaids, florals, novelty prints, etc. The beauty about dots is that they’re timeless and they work with everything. They’re a real chameleon.

Can you even pick a favorite print?
Weeks: It’s got to be Fun and Games for me. But if you asked me my favorite part of the line, it’s the combination of all the prints. I love looking at that fat quarter bundle.
Bill: The pink version of Fun and Games. It’s totally fun.

Click here to see the entire Dot Crazy collection.
Click here to see more of Weeks and Bill's work.

We'll be featuring Dot Crazy all week here on the blog, so come back for your fill of polka dots!
Love It? Share It! Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Email

Friday, December 15, 2017

Matthew's Mini Monsters: Quilt Patterns

Now that you've met and fallen in love with Matthew's Mini Monsters, we're here today to show you what you can make with them! 

"My Robot Pal" by The Whimsical Workshop
This pattern is the perfect way to integrate the soft book into a quilt. The quilt is a pieced robot, and then the assembled softbook can be attached to the tummy. We used the monitor print on the tummy behind the book, and then sewed on buttons and loops to make the book removable. It gives the book a home.
Click here to purchase the My Robot Pal pattern.

"Monsters in the Machine" by The Whimsical Workshop
This is a conveyor belt quilt that plays off the last page of the soft book story where the monsters are playing on conveyor belts in the fabric. We cut out the blocks from both panels and used them as boxes running along the conveyor belts. Many of the coordinates are used in the conveyor belt, adding fun color to the quilt.

Watch for this quilt pattern to on sale soon at The Whimsical Workshop website.

"Calculate This" by Lisa Swenson Ruble
Inspired by the Numeric Display and Circuit Board prints in Matthew's collection, this pattern turns an actual calculator into a comfy lap quilt. 
Click here to purchase this pattern.

"Monster Story" by Heidi Pridemore - Free Pattern!
Surround the monster panel print with a series of fun borders using the monster and machine themed prints from this collection. Available for free on our website.
Click here to find the free quilt pattern.
Click here to read Matthew's interview about his monsters. 
Click here to see Debby Kratovil's Technique Tuesday post featuring the block panel. 
Click here to see the entire Matthew's Mini Monsters collection.
Click here to meet all of Matthew's monsters.

Love It? Share It! Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Email

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An Up Close and Personal Visit with the Monsters!

Today we'd like to introduce you to each of Matthew's monsters. These fun-loving creatures are featured on both the block panel and in the soft book panel; we're showing you close-ups of the soft book panel because you'll see these guys in their natural environment and get to know them! 

Block panel:

 Soft book panel:

Book front and back cover:

 The book begins:
Text: Funny things happen inside of machines and this is what many say it really means.

Meet Thorny:
Text: When Thorny gets stuck, all the gears grind to a stop. 

Meet Drippy:
Text: It's just Drippy drooling when pipes go drip, drop.

Meet Fluffy:
Text: All of that lint is just Fluffy's loose hair...

Meet Eggbert:
Text: While Eggbert opens the pipe to get some fresh air.

 Meet Blinky:
Text: When Blinky walks by, a light suddenly blips...

Meet Munchy:
Text: While Munch nibbles on lost nuts and chips.

 Meet Sparky:
Text: Error codes happen as Sparkly flies by.

Meet Squeeky:
Text: Those funny noises just mean Squeeky says hi. 

Text: So all of the odd noises, the errors and dripping...the grinding, the blinking and the pieces that are missing simply means the friendly monsters are inside the machine.
Which is your favorite monster? 
How many of these creatures live in your house?

Click here to read Matthew's interview about his monsters. 
Click here to see Debby Kratovil's Technique Tuesday post featuring the block panel. 
Click here to see the entire Matthew's Mini Monsters collection.
Love It? Share It! Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Email

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Technique Tuesday with Debby Kratovil: Make that panel shine!

In today's Technique Tuesday post, Debby Kratovil from Debby Kratovil Quilts shows us a fun quilt idea for using fussy-cut blocks from a panel. She's using Matthew's Mini Monsters by Matthew Pridemore--a fun collection of imaginative prints in primary colors. 
Here's Debby! 

Debby, tell us about these fabrics and why you chose to work with them?

Debby: Well, we quilters have fabric stashes that are about 90% "girlie". Flowers, ribbons, bows, pink and sweetness all over the place. When you need to make a quilt for a boy or man, you have to look far and wide for masculine themed fabrics.

I asked Benartex to lead me to something that caters to boys and they sent me these called "Matthew's Mini Monsters." Many of us are familiar with the name Heidi Pridemore. She's been in the professional quilting industry as long as I have (25 years) and I have always like her playful, whimsical style. She is a natural artist and her quilt designs are always joyful.

This collection was designed by her husband! Now, that's a family affair, right?

Matthew's Mini Monsters

The collection includes a panel for a soft book AND this wonderful group of 8 monsters. The squares measure 7-1/2" and for a printed panel, they were very accurate both vertical and horizontal (which almost never happens). I knew I wanted to work with these.

I could have turned this panel into a quick quilt with a border, but that was too easy. Easy is for other quilters; me, I tend to torture myself with details (just kidding!)

Matthew's Mini Monsters panel
And what did you think of, Debby? Well, I went with my tried and true Tilt Block. There are 8 monster squares and with a 9th square of printed fabric, I could get a 3 x 3 (9 block) quilt center.

If you have a Tri-Recs tool set or the Creative Grids Perfect Rectangle ruler, these are the same angle as my Arrowheads set of 2 rulers. I used my own rectangle ruler (see below) to cut sets of mirror image tilt triangles.

I cut 7-1/2" strips of the various prints. Four triangles pointing in ONE direction for each block. Four triangles pointing in the opposite direction for another block. That's why I have the two fabrics stacked wrong sides together.

These triangles are about 1/4" too large which allows for precision trimming at the end.

Cutting gold triangles and red triangles
' Four red triangles tilt to the left. Four gold triangles tilt to the right.

Now let's see how that works with some blue and orange triangles

Four triangles all pointing the same direction

They all HAVE to point in the same direction to make Squeeky tilt RIGHT.

Four orange triangles aligned with Squeeky, ready to be sewn

The blue triangles tilt the opposite direction for Squeeky's neighbor, Sparky
Blue triangles being sewn to Sparky

Triangles are sewn two by two on opposing sides of the block.

I trimmed a little off of each side, keeping the 1/4" seam allowance around the block

You have to plan your colors and where you want your blocks to appear in relation to each other. Once I knew where my triangle colors would appear, I was then able to cut the triangles based on which direction they would tilt.

Planning where my colors would appear

Sparky and Squeeky sewn, trimmed and ready to be joined to each other.
Sparky and Squeeky tilt in opposite directions.

I incorporated the words from the panel in my outer border. I needed to add some strips of the brown gear fabric to the ends, and it worked!

These blocks finish to 10". I absolutely love that rainbow diagonal stripe (printed diagonally) for the inner border, don't you? It's cut at 1-1/2" wide. Now the center is 33" x 33".

Matthew's Mini Monsters

My borders were cut 4" because that's all I could get out of those word strips. The quilt will be a nice child's size: 40" x 40".

Thanks Debby! 
Come back tomorrow when we'll introduce you to Matthew's entire cast of characters!
Click here to see the entire Matthew's Mini Monsters collection.
Love It? Share It! Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Email

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meet Matthew's Mini Monsters!

 Matthew Pridemore's newest fabric line, Matthew's Mini Monsters, features an imagination-filled collection of whimsical creatures with a story. The line includes two panels: blocks to fussy cut, and a soft book panel that can be fussy cut or made into a book. Don't forget the coordinates! Fifteen prints ranging from circuit panels and pipes to tonal gears! We asked Matthew to introduce us to his monster friends. 

Tell us about the monsters.
I design things that I like. I had a couple ideas in my head for monsters. I sometimes don’t want to use the word monster because I don’t want people to think they’re scary. They’re just different. They all have names, and they all have stories. I love them all; don't make me pick a favorite!

What is the story of the monsters?
Having a story in mind for my characters helps through the designing process. I had the opportunity to tell the story in a more straightforward way with the soft book. The story really became a big part of the fabric.

My question was what are the monsters doing. Maybe they’re the reason behind sounds you hear. Or the cause of the lint in the fan on your computer. They’re not evil though—they’re just being themselves. Things just happen.

What do you like about the soft book panel in this collection?
The monsters have cute names, but without the story I don’t think they’d have the same impact for people—I know they wouldn’t have had the same impact for me. Being able to tell their stories in the soft book helps with who they are and what their characteristics are.

How realistic are your drawings?
I’ll use references at times to help give a better sense of what I’m creating. I can draw a rough circuit board from memory, but an electrical engineer may look at it and say that it’s not going to work. With many of these prints, when you zoom in (or cut 2” squares), the pattern goes abstract.

How does being a quilt designer influence your fabric design?
We definitely do think about how fabric is going to be used. When you cut a 4” square or a 2” square out of a print, what are you going to get? If a quilt shop runs out of the panels, we want the line as a whole to still work. Of if someone doesn’t want to use the monster panels, the collection works together--the gears, the pipes, and the LEDs, for example.

Do you have a favorite print?
The gears probably are my favorite.  I think I had the large gear design in mind even before I had the monsters. I like Steam Punk—the gears and the mechanical nature of it. I wanted the gears to look like they could work, and I played with textures and colors—the bronzy, coppery look—to make them more realistic. That print in itself, I see a lot of stories to tell. This looks like a complex mechanism: What is it? What is it doing?

The monsters were added in later, and I think they pop so well because of how realistic the gears are. My wife, Heidi, wants to make a dress from this print.

Tell us about a few of the other prints.
I created all of the numbers for the LED print. It took a long time to get the spacing right. They’re all made with one simple shape. It’s a very precise design.

I played around with wires for the background of one of the soft book panels, and the wire print came from that. Stripes on the bias have so many uses, and make a great binding with no effort. The wires create an interesting texture and allowed me to get more color into the line.

Anything else you want to tell people about Matthew’s Mini Monsters?

There is a monster that is not in either panel. It’s a little green guy named Icky, and he’s bumpy with hairy moles. He has the flu, so when your computer or device gets a virus, it’s because Icky is there. There wasn’t room for him in the panels, but he snuck into the large gear print.

We'll be featuring more from Matthew's Mini Monsters this week...stay tuned!

Click here to see the entire Matthew's Mini Monsters collection.
Love It? Share It! Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Email