August 10, 2017

Spring Lilacs - Modern Quilt Made from Fabric Scraps

Spring Lilacs Quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs | Modern Quilt | Fabric Scraps Project | Quilting without a pattern | Shot Cotton | Art Gallery Fabrics | Playground Fabrics | Essex Linen

I love it when a quilt project is a journey. Like a story that you’re writing up as you go along. Don’t you?!

The freedom of creativity. How a small idea leads to uncharted territories and, through exploration, blooms into a new pattern. This was that kind of a quilt journey.

It all started with triangle scraps leftover from the flying geese I used in my Playtime Quilt. I have a hard time throwing away those pretty little cut-offs. So, I stacked them in a pretty little bowl I brought back from Japan.

Playground Fabric Scraps | Japanense Pottery Bowl | Shannon Fraser Designs | Scrap Fabrics | Modern Quilting with fabric scraps | Flying geese scraps | Half square triangles

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And then thought about them everyday that they sat on my table, just beckoning me to create with them. But there they sat for months on end, until one day I decided to schedule them in my Quilter’s Planner and finally decided to piece them together back in January. They were such little cuties and, paired together, the blue shot cotton made this graphic chevron motif. What a happy little discovery!

Chevron Quilt center | Shannon Fraser Designs | Playground Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics | Amy Sinibaldi Fabrics | Shot Cotton Kaffe Fasset | Modern improv quilting | Half square triangles | Quilting | Modern Patchwork

In came the orphan hourglass blocks. I liked the idea of them being on point. With my continued dedication to work my stash off this year, I had just enough of the Raspberry shot cotton by Kaffe Fasset to border them up. After I got them all pieced, I realised I made the hourglass blocks look more like half square triangles, but with a lot more work!!

Hourglass Quilt Blocks | Shannon Fraser Designs | Playground Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics | Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton | Modern Patchwork | Modern Quilt

In any event, I liked the added lines this brought to the overall design.

Half Square Triangles | Hourglass Quilt Blocks | Shannon Fraser Designs | Playground Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics | Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton | Modern Patchwork | Modern Improv Quilting

With a good chunk of the Blue Jean shot cotton leftover, I knew this would be the background and backing. I figured this worked out perfectly as I really wanted the focus to remain on the central chevron design.

What I hadn’t counted on was having my mother-in-law stop by for a visit and compliment this quilt. She was really taken with it and I instantly knew I would gift it as her birthday gift. At that point, it was a baby size quilt and I had worked out all the materials to complete that size.

I had been mulling incorporating some Essex linen in Flax into the mix, but after I made the central chevron panel, I decided to forgo the linen and just focus on the shot cottons in Blue Jean and Raspberry. But with the need to increase the size, I had no choice to bring in some more fabric. The Essex linen was my go to. Plus, I know she loves blue and beige and it works with her interior dรฉcor. It was perfect!

Quilt Basting | Shannon Fraser Designs | Pin Basting | Modern Quilt | Bonne Maman Jam Jar | Recycle | Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton | Essex Linen | Playground from Art Gallery Fabrics

I added a larger border in the beige linen around the design to bring it up to a generous lap size. Although this wasn’t my initial plan, I love how the soft colour complimented and framed the darker blue. I find the central design really stands out more because of this addition. Not to mention it gives the eye some breathing room.

Modern Quilt | Shannon Fraser designs | Modern quilting | Essex Line | Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton | Quilts in the wild | Pieced quilt back | Straight line quilting

I had a plan for the backing. And then, while lying in bed at night, it dawned on me to go asymmetrical. My original thought was to steer pretty traditional and border the blue square on all sides with the Essex linen. But the more I thought about my idea to border only 2 sides, the more I really liked the idea. So much so, I was really intrigued and excited what this would mean for the look of the quilting on the back. It would elevate it from classic to contemporary and I loved that! I just needed to remember the plan in the morning! I really should place a pad and pen next to my bed…this happens way too often! Thankfully, I did remember and as I pieced the backing, I grew more and more excited about the quilting.

Quilting on Juki TL-2010Q | Shannon Fraser Designs | Modern straight line quilting | Quilting | Aurifil Thread 40wt

Quilting with my Juki TL-2010Q is such a joy. The stitch quality is phenomenal and, paired with Aurifil Thread, the resulting quilting really stands out. I decided on 40wt Aurifil thread in the colours Wine, Blue Gray, and Silver White. They all match the Raspberry, Blue Jean and Flax perfectly.

Straight Line Quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs | Modern Quilting | Aurifil Thread 40wt | Quilt Design

I quilted each section differently. The raspberry central panel I stitched ¼” on either side of the squares. The blue got a mix of triangles and ½” organic straight-line quilting. The outer beige borders got 1” straight lines, which makes a square motif in the corners where the lines intersect – swoon!

Modern Straight Line Quilting | Quilting Designs | Shannon Fraser Designs | Essex Linen | Raspberry Shot Cotton Kaffe Fasset | Modern Quilting

Since I was trying quilting different techniques, I encountered a few issues. Fabric bunching kinda issues…ugh, just to name one. Even with mishaps, it felt good to step outside my quilting comfort zone and try new approaches. And, I’m glad I did as the different quilt designs paired with the different feel of the shot cotton and linen feels simply amazing! The hand feel on this quilt is scrumptious! From the รผber soft Playground fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, and the soft Shot Cottons, to the texture of the linen, it’s a total sensory experience. The dense line quilting creates these soft pillowy hills that just make you want to curl up on a couch with a hot cup of tea and a great book!

Handmade Quilt Label | Shannon Fraser Designs | Modern Quilting | Aurifil Thread 40wt | Essex Linen | Shot Cotton | Design details

And of course, no quilt is complete without a label! I’ve actually grown fond of my custom quilt labels, they just seem to finish the quilts off perfectly! Plus they use up scraps from the project – how bad can that be?!

Quilts in the Wild | Shannon Fraser Design | Modern Quilt | Quilting without a pattern | Modern Patchwork | Nature as inspiration

It has taken me forever to share this project with you as my plans to take pictures of this quilt in the wild got foiled on so many occasions! We would be driving up North on a beautiful sunny day and then bam clouds would roll in and rain would soon follow just as we got all unpacked! I lost count how many times this happened to me! But when I finally caught a nice day and loaded the files when I was back in the city I was so excited by how they turned out. So, I guess the moral of the story is things happen when they’re meant to happen!

Modern Quilt made from Fabric Scraps | Spring Lilacs Quilt | Shannon Fraser Design | Art Gallery Fabrics | Playground by Amy Sinibaldi | Essex Line | Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton | Modern Patchwork | Modern Quilting

I’ve also come to realize that I love quilting without a pattern. I love the thought process. The endless possibilities to explore. And then seeing those ideas form into a unique and custom quilt. So fun! Do you like to quilt without a pattern?

Happy quilting my friends!




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  1. This quilt was quite the journey but so worth the time and thought you put into it! I think the back is great and I am glad you remembered it when you woke up. Funny how quilts talk to us all the time (if we're awake enough to listen)! I hope your mother-in-law loves the quilt and can feel the care and thought you put into it for her.

    1. I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one who noticed their quilts talk to them ๐Ÿ˜‰ I try to really tune in to the design process and to keep an open mind. It’s not wonder by the end of a design session I’m so tired!!

      My MIL loved the quilt and I think she was really touched that it was handmade. Always so nice to have your work appreciated.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Francine!! So happy you like it ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. Thanks for sharing your story of how this quilt evolved. I am sure it will be loved! To answer your question, you know I love to design and quilt without a pattern. It is so interesting for me to see where a quilt goes and it entertains me to play with an idea on the design wall.

    1. Isn’t it the most fun! It’s amazing how engrossed you get when you’re designing on the fly! Plus, it is so fun to play around with possible layouts! Hopefully one of these days we’ll get to create on the fly together ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. This is such a great quilt and I loved reading its story. I keep saying I enjoy following a pattern more, but I've designed a few of my quilts now and I really did enjoy the process. My only problem is that I'm a bit of a control freak and I hate making mistakes - so I'm really not a "go with the flow" kinda quilter! :-)

    1. I’m finding more and more freedom in accepting when things don’t go right! And it can lead to unexpected discoveries – love when that happens!! So happy you’re finding enjoyment in the design process ๐Ÿ˜Š