Prism Along: Chat with Faith
Today I'm excited to bring you an interview with Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, the designer of the lovely Prism Quilt!
For starters, she shared this quick bio with me: "I began quilting and blogging in early 2009. My patterns can be found in a variety of newsstand publications as well as the upcoming book Vintage Quilt Revival. I am an active member of the online quilting community, and enjoy sharing tutorials and hosting quilt-alongs. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and two active, young children."
Tell us about your Prism quilt – you wrote this pattern for Quiltermaker, at their request to make a pattern that showed modern color. That’s a pretty open ended request! How did you go about coming up with this design?
When I'm brainstorming pattern ideas in general, I spend a lot of time in Photoshop. I play with a blank canvas and the line tool, drawing shapes and seeing how they interact. When designing this pattern, I began drawing diagonal lines at slight angles, and then mirroring blocks. I love to place these sample blocks together in a new canvas, adding color, and watching a design come together.
What other colors/kinds of fabrics do you see this design working well with?
It would also be fun to see each block done in a variety of one color. So various shades of red in one block, various shades of orange in another, various shades of blue in a third, and so on. If I were to do that, I would still keep the solid neutral center strip, as it's a defining portion of the pattern.Another idea for that center strip - use a variety of low volume prints while surrounding it with bolder fabrics for the rest of the block. This will leave you with a scrappier looking quilt. But using consistently quieter prints for the center template piece would be the important unifying design element throughout your blocks.
This quilt is super modern looking. Overall, how would you describe your style of quilting? Was this quilt a stretch for you to make, or was it right up your alley?
I designed this quilt 2 years ago. That's really hard to believe! It wasn't a stretch for me to design, because at the time I was really just having fun trying everything. I had a million ideas in my head and not enough time to make them all. I still do have that many ideas, and probably more, but I've found myself focusing more and more on Modern Traditionalism lately. So, not exactly this style of quilt. But I do still love the more technically "modern" quilt designs as well and find myself creating these type of ideas when I'm playing around on my computer.
What does the design process look like for you? (computer, sketching with pen and paper, where do you find inspiration, etc.)
I see quilt ideas everywhere - the playground, the interstate, the city, the grocery store, hotel lobby floors, on television….there are really great prints and patterns all over the place. I do have a sketch pad but honestly, I'm a digital person. I do 99% of my design work in Photoshop.
When did you first start designing your own paper piecing patterns?
In June 2011, Lee of Freshly Pieced, Katie of Swim, Bike, Quilt and I began the Summer Sampler Series quilt along.
Many blocks in the quilt along were paper pieced, so we had to come up with our own templates. It was a challenge - we were new to paper piecing AND creating the templates. That quilt along was a lot of work but such a great learning experience for all of us. Learning paper piecing opened a huge new world of quilting to me and I never looked back. I discovered that if I could draw it, I could piece it.
How frequently do you paper piece?
At least half of the quilts I make now are paper pieced. I get teased, but if I can paper piece it, I will. Yep, even my flying geese! I'm constantly at my computer, drafting ideas and designing new paper piecing patterns. I'm addicted!
Of all the paper piecing projects you have done/patterns you have designed, which is your favorite and why?
There are 2 that come to mind right away. First is the Arkansas Traveler quilt I just finished. This was a block from the Summer Sampler Series. I love how perfect the blocks turned out, thanks to paper piecing. And I just really think it's cool how you can take a vintage block and turn it into a quilt that looks completely modern, just based on color and layout choices.
The background of this version is scrappy ivory and black prints. Unfortunately this project is on the back burner until I wrap up other commitments, but I can't wait for the finished quilt.
What is your favorite thing about paper piecing?
I love how when you paper piece, everything is exact. The mostly complex blocks turn out perfectly. You can really amazing your friends, when all you did was sew on the lines. :)
At what point in the paper piecing process do you like to remove your fabrics?
I usually remove my paper after sewing together the initial printed out template (whether that be a half square triangle, block quadrant, rectangle, etc). I don't like pulling the paper out of the small seam allowances once you sew two paper pieced components together.
Do you use any special tools to help you paper piece? Starch, rulers, etc.?
Occasionally I'll use a glue stick to hold in place the first piece of fabric, if it's at a weird angle or something. Otherwise, nope! I just hold the fabric down with my hands and start sewing.
Do you have any paper piecing tips?
Always cut the fabrics for 1 block and test it out before cutting out for your entire quilt. You may find out that you need larger cuts (or smaller) than the pattern. If you are newer to paper piecing, don't be afraid to cut your fabrics a bit larger. There may be more waste, but less time ripping out tiny stitches if something does fit just right.Take it slow to prevent frustration. The more you practice, the easier it will come to you.I like to chain piece my paper pieced templates. The process goes fast!
Are there any links you would like to share with us?
Thanks so much Faith, it was great to learn more about your process and your patterns!