Hello quilt-y friends!
This quilt started as a sketch several months ago but slowly evolved into the real deal. I am so excited to be sharing my first quilt pattern with you all! I am also feeling pretty vulnerable in sharing what this quilt pattern means to me because of the season of life that it came out of.
(Did you know this is a FREE quilt pattern? All you have to do is join my email list and it will be sent to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign up now!)
I woke up one Saturday morning, poured myself a cup of joe and went downstairs to my studio with the intention of giving myself some creative time with no expectation. I have a sketchbook on my desk where I jot down quilt ideas, but for some reason it feels really intimidating to actually start them. So on this Saturday - I finally opened up a blank Adobe Illustrator document and just started. This quilt is what came to life after an hour or so of creative play.
The name, Effort + Ease, actually came to me during a yoga practice. A couple months before I sat down to design this quilt - my grandfather passed away. Fortunately, until then I had been lucky not to have experienced loss. This was a first for me. I went to a yoga practice right after I got the call that the end was near. In class that day the teacher told us to try and find the balance between effort and ease in each pose. When you are stuggling to hold a pose - where can you breathe and find ease while also staying strong in that pose? I took that lesson with me into the next couple weeks. When I felt sad - where could I find joy or comfort? We can acknowledge and feel the sadness, but at the same time we can find some ease even if it's just in one deep breath. I have continued to keep this practice in mind even now when I am going through something tough.
Once I had this pattern drawn in Illustrator I could see balance of effort and ease throughout the quilt. There are easy sewing techniques along side some more challenging ones. This pattern is a mixture of traditional piecing and foundation paper piecing. I hadn't tried paper piecing until this quilt!
In the moment I didn't choose purple for any specific reason, but looking back I can see a few reasons why my subsconcious was drawn to these colors. First of all, purple is my grandmother's favorite color! The gradient from soft pink to deep purple also reminds me of the early morning sunrise after a dark night sky.
So maybe it's silly to see all that in a quilt, but as I started to cut the fabric and piece everything together these were my reflections. This is what I saw when I put the strips on my design wall and watched it come to life! This is where I found the ease in my sewing room during this particularly tough season of life.
(A design wall is a MUST for this pattern. It will help you keep everything organized. If you don't have a design wall you can just tack up a piece of batting.)
This pattern is simple, but takes organization and attention to detail. The background fades from light to dark, but the accents are reversed. If you choose to follow a similar gradient to mine, you will find the colors in the center can easily be mixed up. They are so close in hue!
You might find EFFORT in chosing your colors, organizing them into the order you prefer and keeping them straight throughout the process. The diamonds will also teach you a new skill if you haven't tried paper piecing!
There is EASE in the simple strip piecing. That part comes together really quickly! Honestly, once you do the first paper pieced diamond - the rest are easy. Especially, if you have done paper piecing before and you are already familiar with the technique. I found ease in the quilting too. The width of the strips gives you a pretty good guidline to follow if you want to do straight line quilting like mine.
I will leave you all with this question: Where do you see Effort + Ease in your room? Or in life? Do you enjoy cutting, piecing or quilting more? Where can you find the ease in your least favorite part of quilting? (If you have reflections to share you can comment below!)
Here's to finding the balance! Happy sewing :)
P.S. I am entering this quilt into the Pantone Quilt Challenge 2018! My final quilt measures 47" x 49" and is titled Effort + Ease. I am located in the United States.