Kick-start your quilt creativity…with cows?

Purple Cow quiltAre you stuck in a creative rut? If you can relate to quilter’s block (hmm…yes, pun intended!), today’s the day to step away from whatever barriers are boxing you in. Case in point: cow quilts. (Wait. Cows?) Yes, cows! After seeing Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie McFarland’s comical “Purple Cow” quilt (right) in their book Out of the Box with Easy Blocks, 50+ quilters felt inspired to make their own cow designs with creative—and often hilarious—twists. And just like that, a quilting “moo-vement” was born. (“Red, White, and Moo”? “Bovine Intervention”? “Captain Amooica”? Yep—a few of the names of these fun cow quilts!)

In the video below, Mary Lou and Melanie talk about how a single quilt inspired so many to get creative, and how an entire herd of cow quilts made their way to Houston Fall Quilt Market in a special exhibit called “Moo-Ston.”

Watch “Cow Quilts from Moo-Ston: The Exhibit at Quilt Market” on YouTube

Cow quilts on the moo-ve—See the “Moo-Ston” collection at these upcoming events:
American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week, February 5–8, 2014, Phoenix, Arizona
Expo Veldhoven, May 2–4, 2014, Holland
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, July 12–13, 2014, Sisters, Oregon

Out of the Box with Easy BlocksFeeling a little creative spark after watching the video? Mary Lou and Melanie’s book is filled with ideas for using 13 easy-to-piece blocks (including the cow) and seven quilts as a foundation for stretching your creativity. Fun blocks include Nine Patch and Stars, as well as cats, shoes, ice pops, letters, and more.

Review from Amazon: “Don’t just buy the book for the projects it includes. Buy this book for the things that you can do with the ideas that the authors have to share.”

Nine Lives quilt
From the gallery of
Out of the Box with Easy Blocks: “Nine Lives.” See more projects here.

Pictorial blocks are one of many ways to step out of the box. Check out more creative ideas from this week’s sale books and give a kick-start to your creativity!

Positively PostcardsStart on a small scale: Positively Postcards by Bonnie Sabel and Louis-Philippe O’Donnell

A small-sized commitment of time is all you need to create these picture-perfect postcard quilts. Give, trade, or treasure these 4″ x 6″ mini-greetings—and make a one-of-a-kind mini quilt in an evening. Follow one step-by-step project to learn the techniques; then get inspired by more than 85 creative variations, all shown in close-up photos.

Review from Amazon: “I wanted something that focused…on helping you bring your own original ideas to life. This book is exactly what I was looking for!”

Spring Birdhouse quilted postcard
No technique, color, or style is intimidating when you try it on this small of a scale! See more projects here.

Quilting Your StyleStart with embellishments: Quilting Your Style by Leah Fehr

Demystify embellishing! Each technique is presented step by step, with a 5″ square as the building block. Learn beading, pin tucks, yo-yos, couching, ruching, appliquéing, and lots more. Put the “lesson” blocks to use in a sampler quilt and put the techniques to use in your own unique projects.

Review from Amazon: “Leah’s instructions were so easy to follow and the techniques were fun to try. My wall hanging went together quick.”

Embellishment techniques from Quilting Your Style
Embellish simply pieced backgrounds and make them totally spectacular, unusual, and unique to you. See the projects here.

Dream LandscapesStart with a new technique: Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes

Stitch up a whimsical world with Fast-Piece Appliqué, which makes it easy to sew curves and other complex-looking shapes in a jiffy. Then explore fun options for embellishing with fabrics, beads, bangles, and found objects.

Review from Amazon: “It’s amazing what you can create and amazing how you look at the landscape around you for new ideas for future projects.”

Quilt from Dream Landscapes
Use Fast-Piece Appliqué to create your own wonderlands! Watch a how-to video here; see more projects here.

What do you do when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike—and it doesn’t? Share how you get your imagination flowing in the comments!

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