A Blast From the Past – Deena’s First Fabric Line, “Wheels”

Look Back at Wheels

Today I wanted to talk about all the design possibilities in quilting and highlight Deena’s first ever fabric line, an adorable boys line called “Wheels”.

I met Deena shortly before her Wheels line was released.  She knew I sewed and generously offered some of her fabric to me….her only request was to show her what I made.  This brought on a panic attack….what could I make that was worthy of this adorable fabric?  I had never made a quilt before, but I decided to be brave and give it a go.  I looked a bit online for some inspiration, but didn’t find anything that matched the idea that was in my brain.  I really wanted to keep the “road” print as a large block, so it’s cuteness could be appreciated.  I had recently finished a small patio in my yard using pavers in squares and rectangles – I realized that this is what was in my brain, so I went out and took some measurements and started cutting the fabric into the same dimensions (without any plan on how it would go together).  I fiddled with the cut blocks, arranging and rearranging them on my living room floor.  Finally I had a layout I liked, and a LOT of extra cut blocks….remember, I had no idea what I was doing!  I was able to cut and sew the entire top in a day – I couldn’t believe how fast it came together.  I made a lot of rookie mistakes (like forgetting to add a seam allowance to the blocks before cutting) but I was so proud when it was done.  I was too scared to do the rest myself, so I took it to a long arm quilter who quilted and bound it for me.

Can you spy my quilt holder?  He got some pez for being such a big helper!

Wheels a, my first quilt

I love to see how others interpret Deena’s fabric.  Each quilt has it’s own unique look based on the pattern and the coordinating fabrics chosen by the sewist.  The two quilts below were made by me much later than my first quilt (by the way, I discovered later that my paver pattern was very similar to a popular pattern called  “Turning Twenty“).  The one on the right is a free pattern featured on Riley Blake’s Cutting Corners, “Zoo Dwellers“, and the one on the left is a free pattern featured on the Moda Bake Shop, “I Spy Ten Little Things“.  I love the saturated colors of this line, so adding the strong solids was something that appealed to me.  I remember buying the orange for the Zoo Dwellers quilt, and the shop lady commented that it was very “bright”.  I LOVED making the I Spy quilt!  I went a little nuts shopping EVERY fabric store for the “perfect” prints that would have the same feel as Deena’s hand drawn look and coordinate with her Wheels line (I originally was going to use more of her wheels line…but as I said, I went a little nuts).  Aren’t those super hero kids adorable?!

Wheels b, I spy and Zoo Dwellers

I spy block

The next three quilts were made by Deena’s mother and sister.  The one on the left couldn’t be simpler, one print with a coordinating border – it really highlights those cute cars, and no pattern needed!  The one in the center is similar to mine and uses large random blocks.  The one on the right is also very easy to make.  It is referred to as a “Stacked Coin” pattern.  All you need to do is sew strips of fabric together until you reach your desired length, then cut them to the desired width, and sew a coordinating sashing around the coins.  I love her choice of a more muted solid. When I first started quilting, I was not comfortable mixing other patterns with Deena’s lines….but that is the beauty of designer lines, they take all the guess work out of the equation.  As you gain experience, it’s fun to add elements from other lines to enhance the overall design, whether it is a print or a solid – as you can see from these quilts, the solids make each very unique.

Wheels c, shana nancy quilts

Wheels coin

On a personal note, Deena and I have had the opportunity to do a few “Trunk Shows”, discussing  Deena’s design process and the quilts we create.  At the last one, there were several young girls attending, and Deena was so inspiring.  She encouraged them to have confidence in their creative talents and to continue to refine them as well as learning new skills to compliment and advance their talents (like using the computer as a design tool).  Also, to be brave, to find opportunities no matter how small they seem.  After the trunk show, they were able to design their own fabric using fabric markers on cotton….I wished we would have snapped a pic – they were all so busy working on their designs!

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This blog post was written by Jennifer Seelos. Leave her a comment or take a moment to like and/or share on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She’ll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed her blog post. 🙂

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