Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Big Influences or I owe it all to Ami

Any time you have a creative hobby, there are going to be many influences that impact your craft.  There have been many through the years where I've gotten ideas, patterns, tips and tricks.  Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville.com has given me many ideas for what I call my general quilts.  And Marcia Hahn's Quilterscache.com is a wonderful encyclopedia for quilt blocks.  I've randomly made 3 quilts designed by Melissa Cory (Happy Quilts) just by stumbling across her blog over a 4 year period and thinking "oh I like that and printing the idea for later.  But definitely the biggest influence on my I spy quilts has been Ami Simms and her book "Picture Play Quilts".

When I first saw the book at the Dallas Quilt show I talked myself out of it.  It's a not a thick book and at the time I thought I really didn't need a book to tell me how to make baby quilts.  The patterns aren't complicated and I felt I didn't need instructions.  I think it was the 2nd or 3rd time I picked it up that I finally bought it.  And read it.  And as they say, it changed everything.  The book isn't so much about the patterns as it is about the ideas and the approach to I Spy quilts.  I  loved her focus on the pictures, her use of color, and her general sense of fun.  Her quilts are to enjoy, to have fun and play, not to decorate the nursery.  Her patterns inspired my philosophy of fabric collecting (see previous posts).  I remember a 6 month period I was on a quest to find every novelty with a white background  I could get my hands on just so I could make one of the quilts in her book (see Folded Stars).  So this post is dedicated to the quilts I made from Ami's book as well as the seeds of ideas that she planted in my brain that are still growing.   

Folded Stars from Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms

 Folded Stars uses coordinating tone on tone fabrics in folded triangles to make the star points.  It was lots of fun searching for all those white novelty fabrics to make up the background.  I saw the little girl about 6 years after this was gifted and her mother introduced me as the lady who made her quilt.  Her face lit up and she grinned from ear to ear, obviously the quilt was very special to her.  Talk about making my day.

Trip around the World from Picture Play Quilts
by Ami Simms

These Trip around the World quilts go together very quickly (I've made 2).  And of course you need a good selection of each fabric color.  My collection of reds and yellow are much larger now.  These are my first color focused quilts.  My later ones are definitely more complex but the initial inspiration for using color to define a pattern came from these.

Hugs and Kisses from Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms
Hugs and Kisses used 3D squares which are caught in the seams to make the little diamonds.  The result was great but I got stuck so many times by the pins I didn't every make this one again.

Buttons and Bows from Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms
This pattern uses quick pieced triangles.  Originally I used the method with a square sewn diagonal and cutting away the waste triangle.  This quilt (and several subsequent ones I made using triangles) started my collection of tiny half square waste triangles that resulted in the Triangle Madness quilt  (see the post titled Fun with Triangles here).  As mentioned in that post, I don't use that method any more but I still love the many different arrangements you came get with this block just by turning them 90 degrees.

These zig zag quilts (I made 2 again) use both 4x4 and 2x2 squares which is handy to use up some of the odd sizes left over from fussy cutting (when you get tired of piano keys).  The mom on the first one asked for yellow (to match the nursery) but I cut way too many scrappy yellow strips.  I couldn't figure out how to use them so I just made a 2nd one and gave it to the big sister of the baby who got the Hugs and Kisses quilt.
Zig Zag Zoom from Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms

I haven't made any patterns directly from Picture Play Quilts in several years, but the ideas and perspective continue to "color" my recent quilts and definitely influence my fabric stash.  I am so glad I finally purchased Ami's book.  It has made this Novelty journey a lot of fun.

1 comment: