Golden Gate #2, check!


Oh, the diamonds! The four-point stars!

This project had it all. Geometry, measuring, and a lot of free-wheeling. You might remember that I am a self-proclaimed "triangle-phile," and well, I do believe that I'd like to officially add diamonds (rhombuses, if you will) to my list of sewing shape celebrities.

As you can see, I marked the quadrants. My philosophy on marking is to err on the side of YES. Even though it can be (or it IS) tedious, I find that it pays off, especially when geometric shapes are involved!GG2-Photo5

But wait. What started out as an exploration of these four-pointed rhombi quickly moved into a focus on what I determined to be the negative space of this quilting design... the star. GG2-Photo1

Here you can see the free-motion doodle I placed into this star-shaped area. It not only made the diamond "pop," or "puff" up, but the use of blue thread gave the star area its own stand-out design.

GG2-Photo2GG2-Photo3 GG2-Photo4Thanks for all of your support!

See any gates out there you think I'd like? Let me know on Instagram with the hashtag #gatesofthesunset, or tweet me @alphabetashley!

See you soon!



Golden Gate #2

Pattern Inspiration: Gate #2 GoldenGate2

This gate is almost begging to be made into a quilt design.

You'll find this gate, literally, next door to GG#1 on 12th Avenue just off of Judah street. It just goes to show how packed this neighborhood is with these delicious doorways! One of my favorite parts of this door is the top right section, where the top of the middle diamond is shorter, giving it more of a gemstone shape. I still can't figure out if that's an optical illusion or not. Any mathematicians out there? In any case, I love this gate.

It's essentially made from blocks of four 60 degree diamonds whose points join in the middle. Speaking of which, I just watched this great free tutorial by Liza Lucy on Creativebug in which she shows how to cut these very diamonds! Ha. But, I'm still not sure if I'm going to make this gate pattern through piecing, machine quilting... or go crazy and do both!

Stay tuned, or keep up with my progress over on Instagram. Trying this design out with me? Use #gatesofthesunset to show it off!


Golden Gate #1

Pattern Inspiration: Gate #1 Gate#1

I can't help but notice all of the design and quilting pattern inspiration when I walk through my neighborhood in San Francisco. The homes here in the Inner Sunset range from (may my 74 architect friends and family forgive my poor use of terminology) beautifully ornate Victorian single family homes to sparsely ornamented apartment buildings. The landscape changes from street to street, and even within each block. But no matter which avenue you find yourself on, you'll be sure to see a variety of these stunning iron gates.

This one is simply amazing (minus the weed growth in the corner!) and I love it. It's found on 12th Avenue, otherwise known as the flattest avenue, making it a commonly traveled street for me. I'm always struck by its crisp lines, its secondary diamond pattern, and its obvious nod to Art Deco stained glass.

And so begins my pattern inspiration series! If you want to join me on Instagram, use the hashtag #gatesofthesunset, even if you're not physically in the Sunset! Or, like me, if you plan on making a design or quilting pattern inspired by these glorious golden gates, I'd love to see it.

Have a great weekend!


F is for Fabric

“Hey, nice bag!” says kind stranger.

“Thanks!” says proud owner.

“Where did you buy it?”

“Oh, I made it...” proud maker says, blushing.

“Oh, no way! I really like the fabric! Where did you get it?”

Here's where I've always wanted to say,“Oh, yeah, I made this fabric." Well, wish granted!! I have, literally, CREATED MY OWN FABRIC! The exciting story about how this came to be is as follows.

So. When I was at Purl Soho (which is just straight up ridiculous, by the way, have  you been to that place?) back in February, I found this book which inspired the emotions on the right:


If you’re unfamiliar with Heather Ross, you are (like I was only a few months ago) living in a world of boring fabric designs.

Not only are her prints rich in color, but they incorporate original drawings and artwork that evoke happy nostalgia. I am particularly drawn to how she combines hand-drawn art and Photoshop... and ever since I discovered this book, I have been DYING to dive into this challenge:


And challenge it was: Several really ambitious artistic endeavors all wrapped into one.

First: Decide to draw the chicken.

Choosing my subject was actually a piece ‘o cake. Meet Maude.


I found this card in probably 2005 at 16 Hands when it was on Main Street in Ann Arbor. (Note: I have since tried to get more of them, but it doesn't seem they are making them anymore!) And, since Maude has made her way with me to all of my various homes, front and center on my wall, and she ALWAYS manages to make me chuckle... I decided it was time to pay homage to her and her foam yoga mat.

What is it about her that is so captivating? I mean, she not only asks us a good question around life and work ethic, but she also exudes personality. Something about the way her little plastic chicken legs angle in towards each other, or how one eyeball is just a tiny bit larger, or the fact that somehow her little plastic hip juts out to one side ever so slightly... Sass and angst all wrapped up into one plastic chicken.

Maude, you are my hero.

Second: Draw the chicken.

Wow. I guess I hadn’t drawn in a while. She’s not only complex in her emotions, but Maude is difficult to duplicate. Truly a rare bird.

Third: Photoshop the chicken.

So here’s where my fabulous Photoshop training came into use! I got down and dirty with the polygons, the command T function, the marquee tool, and I got up close and personal with Maude, pixel by pixel.

After some deliberation, I decided on a chevron pattern and tried to stick to the original color palette as much as possible, in order to honor the original card.

Here are some thrilling screen shots of the process:


Fourth: Print the chicken.

Do you know about Spoonflower? WOW. I have known about them for a little while now; I follow them on Instagram, and my friend Susannah has printed fabric with them before. But now, I truly am a believer. Essentially, you upload a JPEG file and they PRINT FABRIC WITH YOUR DESIGN ON IT. That’s it! So simple.

Here's the process (Captured in a mere three photos!)

Spoon1 Spoon2 Spoon3

And now... I await my yard of "Maude the Yogi" fabric! So exciting! What should I make with it? Leave me a comment below if you have an idea!