Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strippidee Do Dah! A contest!

 Have you ever made a strippie quilt (a quilt that is pieced in rows)? Three strippy quilt patterns by Six Gables Designs will make their debut this weekend at the Cross Town Quilters show in Southwick, Massachusetts. They are Strip Ease, Easily Bamboozled, and a still to be named pattern (the one with birds in trees). I'm at a loss for words, probably for the first time in my life, and need help with a name for the quilt. Therefore, I'm offering a copy of the pattern to the person who comes up with the best catchy name. Contest ends at 11 pm Eastern Standard Time this evening (Sunday, April 29) and I am the sole judge. Please, nothing wintery or Christmasy, even though the sample photo has a holiday feel.

Strip Ease

Easily Bamboozled

Name me and win me!

Thank you!

Barbara Chojnacki
Six Gables Designs

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ruler Inventors; or, Sleeping with Euclid

Although I doubt any of us ever wanted to grow up to be a quilt designer, here we are. It's been an amazing journey so far, and unexpected things have happened along the way. I should have seen this coming when I found myself in a special "new math" class (the OLD new math- way back in the early '60's) back in 2nd or 3rd grade. This is what happens to middle-aged math geeks who quilt.

Barbara Chojnacki

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Design Inspiration

Being able to express myself through quilting and other artistic endeavors feeds my soul.
I think if I did not have the opportunity to be creative on a regular basis, I would feel sad and unfulfilled.
One of the most frustrating things about being a creative person is that there are so many ideas spinning around in my head, but not enough time to do something with all of them!
People ask me "Where do all those ideas come from? What inspires you to design?"
For me, inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Often it is from nature. I look closely at flowers and other plants to find magnificent colors, interesting textures, intriguing patterns, and a myriad of shapes.
Man made objects can also spark an idea for me. Whenever I go into a big city, I enjoy searching for interesting architectural elements on buildings. People think I am taking random pictures of stately edifices, but really it is just more fuel to feed the creative fire!
I'm always paying attention to decorative details on common, everyday objects. Think about possible quilt designs that are inspired by this antique glassware!

My cousin loved the decal on an old dish that had belonged to my great-grandmother, so I made a quilted wallhanging for her, using that old design.

Sometimes I fall in love with a fabric that inspires an entire quilt. The red squiggles in this fabric made me think if oak leaves in the fall, and from that, "Autumnal Equinox" was born!

One of my favorite ways to brainstorm a design is to do the following:
1. Put four small bags in front of you.
2. On individual pieces of paper, write down as many COLORS as you can. Place them in the first bag.
3. Write down the names of as many QUILT BLOCKS as you can think of and put them in the second bag.
4. In the third bag, do the same for SHAPES.
5. In the last bag, put in slips of paper with all kinds of THINGS written upon them.
6. Pull a piece of paper from each of the bags. Do some brainstorming to incorporate all of those ideas into a quilt design.

It is fun to do this with a group as a design challenge. Everyone's block or quilt will come out differently, even though the design elements that were picked are the inspiration for each project.

Years ago, I did this exercise with my guild. We picked teal (COLOR), nine patch (QUILT BLOCK), circle (SHAPE), and fish (THING). Can you find all of those requirements in my kitty quilt?
If you ever get stuck for an idea, the method described above is a great way get your brain jump started again!

There are all kinds of websites that come up if you search Google for "design inspiration". One of my favorites is You could spend hours and hours poking around on the pages of this site!

I hope I've sparked some inspiration in you for your next quilt! Send me an e-mail about what inspires you at

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Quilter's Sampler

The members of the New England Quilt Designers Cooperative are very excited about the upcoming Quilter's Sampler! The Sampler will be two days jam packed with classes, lectures, and the opportunity to shop the vendor's mall! It is being held this year on May 10 & 11 at The Courtyard by Marriott in Nashua, NH.

Go to and click on the link for the Sampler. You can check out detailed descriptions of all the classes and register on line. Here is the short version of what the NEQDC members are offering:

Beth Helfter will be doing the Thursday lunch lecture and teaching classes about embellishing quilts. Beth is a lot of won't want to miss this!

Judy Damon is taking on the lunch crowd for the Friday lunch lecture and also teaching. One class is about crazy quilting, and another is for those of us who don't know what to do with our boxes and bins full of scraps.

Cary Flanagan is teaching her "Cut, Shuffle, and Go" method of quilting. The technique isn't difficult to do, but you will be amazed at the awesome results!

Terri Sontra will be teaching some more creative ways to embellish quilts. You can also make her delicious "Chocolate Truffle Scarf".

Kristi Parker will be teaching an applique class that is done entirely by machine but the end result looks as if it done by hand. The picture above shows some examples of the technique.

We hope you can join in all the fun! In order to sign up for classes you must register before May 1st

See you at the Quilter's Sampler!