Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Lovely Leucadendron

Lovely Leucadendron color scheme from Clever Chameleon

Welcome to Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Where we always find something interesting to inspire a quilt!

A couple of weeks ago, Paul and I took the kids to see the Christmas lights display at the local brewery. The display is a bit of a South Australian icon, and has been running for 58 years. The link I have supplied gives quite a good overview of the event, if you would like to see it. Like many other Adelaide locals, I do very much like our brewery lights display. But this year the take-home memory was actually a little plant growing in the council strip nearby.

Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Lovely Leucadendron

Many years ago, my mother grew lots of Australian natives and other plants that thrive in similarly poor, dry soil. Among the non-natives that my mother grew were quite a number of leucadendrons. So I tend to notice leucadendrons on my wanderings. But I have never seen one like this before!


I was struck by the beauty of this small bush, perhaps only 40cm high. Oh, the colours…. like a dusky sunset! I have called this colour scheme “Lovely Leucadendron”. Maroon stems, green and aqua lower leaves, graduating through lavender and lilac, peach, orange to yellow-green at the top of each stem. Once those yellow leaves open up there will be an insignificant flower cone in the middle. But it is the leaves that this plant is usually grown for. You can see why!

A Lovely Leucadendron Quilt?

If I was challenged to make a quilt inspired by this plant, it would have to be a string quilt. One with long thin-ish pieces like the strappy leucadendron leaves. It would be a scrap-busting quilt. And of course, made in the colours of the “lovely leucadendron”. After all, it was the colours that stopped me in my tracks in the first place!

If you arrange the string blocks like this you get leucadendron stems. Or peacock feathers…..  🙂 That’s ok, I like both. You could graduate the colours through the same sequence as the real-life bush, or just scatter them randomly…..

Lovely leucadendron quilt idea
Lovely Leucadendron quilt idea

These colours would also be great on the Regatta Quilt (currently featuring in Home Sewn with Us’s no pressure sew along). I have started my Regatta Quilt. It’s not being made in these colours though. I had an orphaned jelly roll which has finally found its destiny. More about that in a day or two.

Not into dusky rainbows?! Perhaps you’ve been seeing red lately instead…..

January is Red color scheme from Clever ChameleonAre you joining in the 2018 Monthly Colour Challenge? I have seen a few Red Bears popping up in social media this week. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that people are actually making my red bear pattern,. I’ll round up a few I/ve seen in a post for you later in the week. They are all different and it is amazing the variation in techniques and tweaks that have surfaced so far. What a clever bunch of quilters you all are!

Would you like to keep in touch with Clever Chameleon and the fun quilty ideas I design as well as find all over the internet? You can follow directly for email updates, or through Bloglovin’, Pinterest or FB. All your follow options can be found here. Thanks for your support!

Beary Colourful BOM: Red Bear of New Beginnings


Happy New Year from the Clever Chameleon

It’s finally time to meet the Red Bear of New Beginnings! Welcome to the Beary Colourful BOM!

Happy New Year!!!! May 2018 be full of blessings and peace and success for you!

Red Bear of New Beginnings: Beary Colourful BOM at Clever Chameleon

Today is the day! A new year. New goals. And the first episode in two intertwined projects that will run all year. The 2018 Monthly Color Challenge and the Beary Colourful Quilt BOM.

2018 Monthly Color Challenge

I have been looking forward to this day for several months. This project is all thanks to Jen Shaffer of Patterns by Jen. For each month of 2018, Jen has chosen a colour and is releasing a pattern for a pieced block in that colour. Over the 12 months there will be 12 blocks in 12 colours to produce a rainbow quilt. The first block for Jen Shaffer’s quilt is available for free at Jen’s blog right now. This is the first block that you can download from Patterns with Jen:

Red Block for 2018 Monthly Colour Challenge

How the Monthly Color Challenge will work

Jen has invited a small group of bloggers to help with her 2018 Monthly Color Challenge. So at the beginning of each month, there will be a blog hop to inspire you with different projects in the allocated colour. This month, to start things off, there are six other bloggers participating in the Red Challenge Blog Hop. There is myself – I will get to what we are doing for the challenge here at Clever Chameleon in a moment. And then there are five other fabulous quilters.

The other Red Challenge Bloggers for January 2018 are:
Jen Strauser at the Dizzy Quilter
Sherry Shish at Powered by Quilting
Jen Rosin at A Dream and A Stitch
Nancy Scott at Masterpiece Quilting
Joanne Harris at Quilts by Joanne

And at the end of each month….. there are prizes!

Not only has Jen put together a free rainbow BOM for you, and lined up half a dozen other quilters to help inspire you, but she has organised prizes as well!!

Every month, in the last week of the month, Patterns by Jen will have a linky party especially for people who have participated in the monthly colour challenge. You can link up one project per month in the colour of the month. Your link can be Jen’s block, something you have made from one of the other Challenge Blog Hop participants or something completely original. As long as your creation is made predominantly in the nominated colour. You can participate in as many or as few of the monthly parties as you wish. 

Northcott prize

Every month there will be a prize drawn randomly from the links in the linky party. January’s linky will be open at Patterns by Jen from Jan 24 – Jan 31, and a winner will be chosen on Feb 1st. January’s prize is sponsored by Northcott and is a set of 2.5″ strips….. win this and you’ll be all set for June’s challenge! 🙂

And…. every linky party that you enter will also give you one entry for the Grand Prize. Which is to have a quilt top quilted by Jen of Dizzy Quilter! There are a few details you should know about this prize, but winning this would be a serious coup.

That’s all fantastic. But I’m here for the Red Bear!

Beary Colourful BOMIndeed. We should definitely get on now to what’s happening for Jen’s Monthly Color Challenge here at Clever Chameleon.

Every month of 2018 I am going to make an appliquĂ© bear in Jen’s nominated colour. And for the duration of the Color Challenge I am also making the patterns available to you so that you can make them too. Together these 12 bears will form the blocks of a rainbow bear quilt suitable for a  single (twin)-size bed.

So without further ado, I present to you, the Red Bear of New Beginnings. New Year’s Red Ted is celebrating fresh starts and the courage to try new things. He is stepping out with the intention of improving something or discovering something. 2018 is his year!

Red Butterfly Bear of the Beary Colourful BOM at Clever Chameleon

The Red Bear has a butterfly on his tummy to remind him to never fear new beginnings or be ashamed to change his path for the better.

Red Bear butterfly tummy motif

Or he has a beetle on his tum…..

Red Beetle appliqué

This month I have pulled out all the stops and given you two options for the motif on the Red Bear’s tummy. Most months there will only be a single pattern, but the first month is special, right? And perhaps there are children out there who would rather something less fluttery on their quilt than a butterfly. So I thought very hard, and decided that beetles start as grubs, pupate and then emerge as spectacular flying insects. So why should butterflies always get the glory as the poster child for change and renewal? Beetles do a complete metamorphosis too .

So, the other Red Bear has a beetle on his tummy, also to remind him to never fear new beginnings or be ashamed to change his path for the better.

Red Beetle Bear from the Beary Colourful BOM
No this is not a bugbear, despite my DH’s quick wit!

The beetle/butterfly choice is all yours. Of course, you can abandon both the butterfly and the beetle and put anything you like on your bear’s tummy if you wish.

How to get the Red Bear Appliqué Pattern?

Well, that’s simple. The pdf is right here, waiting for you to download.  Clink on the Red Bear AppliquĂ© button directly below and you will open a pdf with the bear appliquĂ© shapes, as well as both motif options for the tummy and an appliquĂ© piece placement diagram. 

Red Bear Appliqué button
Download pdf

The pdf is a fairly simple affair of appliquĂ© shapes and placement guidelines. The pieces are already reversed for you, ready to trace. ****Please! Make sure your printer is not scaling the file before you print (uncheck any “scale to fit” buttons or similarly evil autocorrecting scaling options). And check your printout. The check box provided MUST be square for the appliquĂ© pieces to fit together properly. To get the original size bear this box must also be 1″ square.****

Further to the pattern file, the fabric and notion requirements for the Red Bear block are at the end of this post. The technique I used to make my bear is free motion raw edge appliquĂ©. If you are already proficient at free motion raw edge appliquĂ© you should need very little further guidance to create your Red Bear. 

If you do need more help, I will be posting further instructions and tips to supplement the pdf pattern over the next few days (Update: done!). This current post is already mammoth enough! Also, some instructions will be applicable to every bear and will serve us better over the year if they can be accessed directly, not buried in this post.

However, there are a few things I want to discuss with you right up front.

I am going to trapunto each of my bear appliqués.

This makes the fusible appliqué less flat and dimensionless. It also means that I do not need to use a stabiliser (stabilizer) while I am stitching the appliqué. Because the trapunto layer is also my stabiliser.

trapunto bear

Stabiliser, you say?! For some choices of machine-stitched appliquĂ© techniques, the fusible webbing and multiple layers of fabric in raw edge appliquĂ© are sufficient to keep your work flat. However, if you are finding that your stitching is pulling at your design and distorting your work, you will need to use a stabiliser to keep your appliquĂ© flat. Here is a good review of stabilisers. 

But may I just recommend the trapunto?

I am a beginner and/or I don’t free motion stitch. Can I do the Beary Colourful BOM?

Of course! You may want to wait a couple of days to get started though. I am preparing a blog post (update: done!) to cover some minor adjustments to the block that will make the bear simpler. These adjustments will be particularly helpful if you do not wish to use free motion straight stitching to secure your appliquĂ©. Free motion stitching allows you to easily appliquĂ© very small pieces and around very tight corners. Some of the corners and small pieces in the original pattern may send you balmy if you try to secure them with more traditional appliquĂ© stitches such as zigzag or blanket stitch. 

I prefer needle-turn/hand-stitched appliquĂ©. Can I do the Beary Colourful BOM?

Certainly, if you are independent. You will need to know how to add your own seam allowances to the pattern, as this pattern is designed as a raw-edge appliquĂ© pattern. You may also want to follow the simplification guidelines to deal with unrealistically small details. Beyond that – I don’t do hand appliquĂ© so I can’t offer you any further knowledgeable help.

Where are we headed?

You are welcome to set your bear blocks into a quilt top however you like. But, I know some people/groups are looking at this quilt as a charity quilt option (good on you!) and I thought it may be helpful to lay out my intentions for a simple quick finish after you have laboured over all the blocks. My current intention is to finish the Beary Colourful Quilt off very simply by adding sashing between the blocks, followed by a plain border. The bear blocks will finish at 12″ by 15.5″.

Beary Colourful Quilt layout

If you add jelly-roll (2″ finished) strips between the blocks, 4″ wide side borders and 6″ wide top and bottom borders, the final size of this quilt will be 48″ by 80″. This will fit on top of a single (twin) bed with 5-6″ overhang on each side and at the bottom. Increasing the sashing widths a little will get more overhang.

I intend to do February’s blue bear in dark blues, which will leave light blue unrepresented in the quilt and a perfect candidate for the sashing colour.

What you will need to make the Red Bear block

  • Fabric for the background of the block. Each bear block will require a base fabric square of at least 13.5″ by 17″ to allow leeway for trimming. I used a light-grey tone on tone print and a similar batik for my two Red Bear blocks. You should be able to get 3 blocks across the WOF of most quilting-weight cotton fabrics.
  • Thin batting for the trapunto layer. I use a polyester batting of 1/8th inch loft that I buy by the yard at my local quilt shop. The red bear requires a trapunto batting square of approximately 11″ x 15″.
  • Fusible paper-backed fabric adhesive (for example vliesofix). 15″ x 24″ will be ample for the red bear.
  • Red fabric scraps for the main sections of the bear. The whole bear requires the equivalent of 6″ x 24″ of red fabric. But he is built from pieces, so you can use multiple smaller scraps if you wish.
  • White/light colour fabric scraps for the muzzle and tummy,  5″ x 8″. If shadowing bothers you (when fabrics show through the layer above slightly) you may wish to cut two each of the muzzle and tummy pieces and make these sections out of two layers of fabric. Then you will need 10″ x 8″ of white/light fabric. 
example of shadowing
Shadowing…. the bear on the left has two layers of white fabric on his muzzle, the bear on the right has only one layer. Some red can be seen underneath the muzzle of the bear on the right.. Honestly, kids will NOT care.
  • Various coloured small fabric scraps for eyes, nose, mouth, paws, inner ears and tummy motif appliquĂ© shapes. 
  • Machine embroidery or sewing threads to match your appliquĂ© fabrics (I used rayons for a little shine, but cottons are prefered if you are securing with only a single round of stitching)
  • General tools: sewing machine, iron etc, teflon ironing sheet or baking paper, small sharp scissors, pencil, chalk/washout fabric marker, quilting pins, black permanent fabric marker
  • Optional but helpful: curved blade embroidery snips and a furry friend to sit on your mending pile to provide guilt-free sewing time. Thanks Mew!

Wow! I think that’s all I need to tell you until tomorrow! Tomorrow I will put together a pictorial walk-through of how I put my red appliquĂ© bears together. (Update: this post is now available).

Until then, enjoy the blog hop!

P.S. Have you liked Clever Chameleon on Facebook? That is where you will get your first glimpses of the Blue Bear of High Hopes before February!

P.P.S This is the first full scale pattern I have produced for online download. Should you have issues with this pattern, I would be grateful for your assistance in reporting problems so I can correct them and learn for next time. Thanks!!

P.P.P.S. Sharing the Red Bear of New Beginnings on all my favourite linkys this week! Cooking up Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt, Sew Can Do, Inquiring Quilter, Quilt Fabrication, Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Quilt Addict, Busy Hands Quilts.
And I would have shared on Freemotion by the River, but Connie already did it for me! Thanks so much Connie!

Don’t want to miss a bear in the Beary Colourful BOM? You can follow my blog directly for email updates, or through Bloglovin’. Sneak peeks of next month’s bear will also appear throughout the year at Clever Chameleon Quilting on Facebook. All your follow options can be found here