Sometimes pattern inspiration seems to come out of nowhere (looking at you Phosphene), and other times, it starts with a very specific purpose in mind. While divine inspiration is something a designer would love to have all the time, the truth of it is that more often than not, a design comes from a space of solving a problem or issuing a challenge to yourself. Auriga and Albireo were the second kind of inspiration.
You see, there's a few things that I've learned about myself as I've grown as a quilter:
I love a big, bold print (and a lot of color)
When I first started buying fabric for my stash, I bought a lot of those large prints and not so many of the blenders and solids I needed to make them work in a quilt
I like big blocks, but I want as few seams as possible between the same fabric because pattern matching is a pain, but obvious seams are not my favorite, especially in those big, bold prints.
See that? I like 'em big and bold!
Those bold prints? I want to use them in a way that really showcases them in all their glory without cutting them up so they're unrecognizable. And when I'm making a baby quilt? I don't want to be cutting off a cute little bunny's head - I want all that adorableness front and center. And last year I was presented with the perfect opportunity to do just that. A dear friend had picked a nursery theme and I had found the perfect coordinating fabric, but the repeat meant that I needed a large square to really showcase it, but I didn't want to miss out on all the little background details that I'd lose to fussy cutting. After some back-of-the-envelope type sketching, I had what would become the Auriga quilt: focus fabric in the square in a square blocks, with sixteen patches to use the leftover bits.
(Not actually the sketch, but it basically looked like this!)
Then, plot twist: they were having twins!
I needed a second quilt, but I didn't want it to be identical - they might be twins, but they're going to be two different people! So back to the drawing board I went, and in a short time came back with Albireo. A slightly different view that when paired with the original design clearly is part of a set, but also has its own features.
While those baby quilts are adorable (keep an eye out for them in a future post) they still haven't been gifted, despite those babies being well over a year old (because safe sleep, not because I am that far behind on WIPs). That meant I needed a couple of cover versions that I could share with the world when I released the patterns - and I knew that my stash would deliver.
I knew that I wanted one of the quilts to use this Tula Pink Pinkerville bundle that had been hanging out in my stash for a while. I still love the bright, whimsical feel of the collection and had been looking for the perfect project to use it in since it was gifted to me four years ago. Part of the maximalist nature of my early stash meant that I didn't have a lot of the coordinating blender fabrics, so I grabbed some coordinating solids and got to work. I took the extra time to fussy-cut my sixteen patch blocks as well as the feature fabrics, and the final product is a great example of how mixing a few new fabrics in with what you have can help you bust your stash and use fabrics that you love.
For Albireo, I went with some newer Ruby Star prints that I had picked up just because I loved them. I love the contrast in the pinks from Sara Watts's Firefly line, and the Willow print is just so nice I had to use it in two different colorways. Rather than a solid black I opted for two small blender prints - my standby Spectrastatic in Stellar from Giucy Giuce and the Freckles in Licorice from Cotton & Steel. It made for a much more moody finish than the bright and whimsical Auriga!
Want to break some of your favorite big, bold prints out of stash purgatory? The Albireo and Auriga patterns are available in the shop. You can grab them individually or get them together as a bundle (which is like getting the second pattern for half price!
I can't wait to see what you create!