The Free Motion Quilting Project: Inspiration from Nature

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inspiration from Nature

Josh here. In case you've been away, Leah and I are now combining our Building Block progress together in the same post to better contrast the pieced fabric and my cheater Spoonflower cloth, as well as my interpretations and unique stitching of each design.

Here is our most recent block in our final Slash Star series, Pebbles & Spiral.

free motion quilting | Leah DayIf you haven't joined us for our Building Blocks Quilt Along, it's never too late! The project and pattern will always be available--you receive the entire pattern immediately upon purchase, no monthly installments, so you can quilt at your own pace and leisure.

If you already have the pattern but need to catch up on our videos, click here to see all of the accompanying posts for the project here.

Now onto today's topic... finding inspiration from nature for free motion quilting designs.

Today I'm going to be more specific when it comes to "nature--" I recently set up a 12 gallon saltwater aquarium, so we'll be talking about captive nature in an artificial environment. In a controlled venue, with glass walls and clear water, you can often appreciate the finer details of fish, rocks, sand, corals, and the water movement effect on the sandbed as the artificial sunlight hits the substrate.

No, the dark ripples on the sand above are not algae as the tank is only four days old but the visual effect of the blueish light as the water movement breaks the surface. The lighting is very, very blue, a little too much for my taste, but it does offer a very unique look, almost of a strong moonlight.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

So what does this beautiful tank have to do with quilting? My reef tanks have actually been inspiration for many designs for Leah over the years. The designs above are Brain Coral and Ocean Currents which were both inspired by my past reef tanks.

See the pink holey rock at the far bottom left?
That's the central rock in my new tank, currently lifeless
for the most part but over time will color out again. The
beautiful green coral at bottom center is an open brain
coral, which inspired Leah's Brain Coral filler.
Right now the new tank is "cycling," which means I'm letting the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms take hold of the live rock and sandbed. I have kept a reef tank before--the rocks you see above were actually in a freshwater African cichlid tank for several years.

Assuming one can be extra patient, this is extremely helpful in starting out as you get absolutely zero "hitch hikers" (bad algaes, cyanobacteria, undesirable invertebrates) and you can load the tank with only the good stuff; I purchased a bottle of live cultured microorganisms which, over time, will populate the tank with everything you need for a successful marine system.

In a few weeks, once the obligatory diatom brown algae starts to show up on the glass, I'll add some snails. In a couple more weeks, I'll introduce a fish. Then finally, the coral life will come in.

A green mandarin dragonette, a very challenging yet rewarding
species. His coloration and patterns are a quilt waiting to happen!
What are some things from nature that inspire you to quilt?

Until next week!


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