Over-the-top creative quilts: the Q factor (+ sale)

Detail of quilt from Out of the Box
When you see a quilt you love, do you pause to wonder exactly what draws you to it? Maybe it’s the color palette; perhaps it’s a motif. Or maybe you’re quick to notice a tweak to a traditional design or an unusual block pairing. Sometimes it takes just one bright idea—let’s call it the “Q” factor—to spur designers to put a pen to paper and the sewing machine pedal to the metal.

What “Q” factor gets your creative wheels spinning?

Today we’re sharing the bright ideas that five well-known quilt designers have brought to life in their books. You’ll see what inspired the “Q” factor in their quilts, learn more about the techniques they use, and discover the distinctive quilts you can make by following their lead. Could their approaches inspire you to find your own “Q” factor? Let’s find out!


From Scatter Garden Quilts by Pamela Mostek

What you’ll need: large-scale floral prints plus coordinating smaller prints.

Detail of Rambling Roses quilt
Detail of “Rambling Roses” quilt

Techniques you’ll use: fussy-cutting fabrics, Broderie Perse appliqué

Fussy cutting and Broderie Perse applique
Example of fussy cutting and Broderie Perse appliqué

Quilts you’ll make:
(Note: In the book, the white squares in each photo lead to more detailed information about making each quilt.)

Quilts from Scatter-Garden Quilts
“Tropical Tulips” and “Hot Summer Sun”

Quilts from Scatter-Garden Quilts
“Patti’s Quilt” and “A Garden Wreath”

Quilts from Scatter-Garden Quilts
“Bouquets for Brooklyn” and “Wildflowers”

Additional perks: floral-print stash depletion, creative license, stunning results! Scatter-Garden Quilts


From Frayed-Edge Fun by Evelyn Sloppy

What you’ll need: fabrics that fray easily, such as cottons, flannels, and homespuns.

Detail of Bears around the Corner quilt

Techniques you’ll use: seams inside out (1), frayed-appliqué piecing (2), whole-cloth frayed appliqué (3), frayed circles (4)

Frayed-edge quilt techniques

Quilts you’ll make:

Quilts from Frayed-Edge Fun
“Vintage Nine Patch” and “Plaid Patches”

Quilts from Frayed-Edge Fun
“Baby Rails” and “Baby Blues”

Quilts from Frayed-Edge Fun
“Bears around the Corner” and “Prairie Hearts”

Additional perks: worry-free wash-and-dry quilts, boo-boo proof block construction, quilts everyone will love to touch—and you can let them. Frayed-Edge Fun


From All Buttoned Up by Loraine Manwaring and Susan Nelsen

What you’ll need: buttons, buttons, and more buttons!


Techniques you’ll use: the skills to collect, sort, and sew buttons! Check out antique stores, flea markets, and thrift stores for bags, jars, or boxes of buttons. Go through the old clothes at shops and look for unusual buttons. Before you discard clothing, check for interesting buttons or ones that might have sentimental value.

Buttons for Happy Trails quilt
Buttons for “Happy Trails” quilt

Quilts you’ll make:

Quilts from All Buttoned Up
“Under the Stars” and “Flower Frenzy”

Quilts from All Buttoned Up
“Spinners” and “Going in Circles”

Quilts from All Buttoned Up
“Grandmother’s Purses” and “Soda Shop Hop”

Additional perks: stitch fresh quilts that finally feature those buttons you’ve been saving, personalize gift quilts with theme buttons, have fun experimenting with embellishments. All Buttoned Up


From Out of the Box by Mary Lou Weidman

What you’ll need: fabric, a sewing machine, a story to tell, and your imagination.

Quilt detail from Out of the Box

Techniques you’ll use: Appliqué, Mary Lou’s “Hoochie Mama” free-form piecing, embellishing with anything and everything (see a spread below from the book), plus any other techniques you choose. Stick with what’s familiar or try something completely new. It’s all up to you.

Out of the Box embellishments

Examples of Mary Lou’s “Short Story” quilts:

Quilts from Out of the Box
“A Day at Grandma and Grandpa’s Cabin in British Columbia” and “Grandma and the Chicken Farm”

Quilts from Out of the Box
“Prayer Quilt” and “I Feel Like a Witch”

MacGregor's Garden quilt
“MacGregor’s Garden”

Here are just a few of the topics that Mary Lou covers to help inspire you:

Creativity tips from Out of the Box

Additional perks: straight talk about how to cultivate your creativity, plus tips, tools, and permission to play. Out of the Box

What “Q” factors have appeared in your quilts lately? Share how you developed your ideas in the comments!

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