Summer Lovin – Blow flowers

Tracie Henkel, photographer, used with permission

When was the last time you made a wish on a blow flower? Okay, officially it’s called a dandelion but my grandmother who lived in the country called it a blow flower, so blow flower it is. Make a wish, blow, and watch in childlike wonder the aerodynamics of nature’s way to spread seeds. Ah, summer-lovin’ at it’s purest. So what does that have to do with quilting? Well, it just happens to be the name of my newest Island Batik challenge quilt.

Summer Sewing

Recently I had a little designated “me time” – my Party of One Quilt Retreat – where I was able to work on several projects including the June Modern Batik Challenge. I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, in fact, the first day on my retreat I just did a little mindless sewing working on a pile of drunkard’s path units cut with my AccuQuilt Go Cutter using the 3 1/2″ die # 55070  leftover from the creation of my Mint Chocolate Chip pattern.

Mint Chocolate Chip, pattern available from The Quilt Rambler

They came together rather quickly and there were about 60 of them…hum…I really hadn’t a clue of what I wanted to do with them. I’d been thinking how I have missed the opportunity to just play in my studio and now I had time to play – the what-if bug must have bitten and I figured, well if it messes them up its only fabric (gasp). So why not?

3 1/2″ drunkard’s path units sewed up quickly


Let’s play with the Corner Pop tool

In my quilting toolbox, I have a wonderful little ruler called the Corner Pop by Studio 180 Design that allows me to perfectly remove a corner from a block and re-add a pop of color without having to do all that flip and sew stuff. Time to play. I trimmed off two opposite corners on my drunkard’s path and then added oversized triangles (per the directions in the ruler) and created something totally different.

Using the Corner Pop ruler by Studio 180 Design the corners were trimmed off and triangles were added


Finished unit

That’s when I got the idea that the units looked like little seed pods…blow flower seeds perhaps? At that moment my playing around in fabric turned into an idea for my modern quilt!

Blow Flower

My thoughts were to lay the units out in a rotating fashion that I hoped would mimic the explosion of seeds being released when the flower was “blown”. This first attempt was too geometric, too planned. Pardon the red background and the poor light – this was my portable design wall (aka fleece backed red plastic tablecloth) hanging over a window. But I think you can get the idea behind my thought process.

The first layout attempt was a little too rigid, not at all organic as the actual event in nature of blowing on a dandelion

Like all great plans, sometimes the idea has to go back to the drawing board, or if nothing else at least sleep on it for a while. In the meantime, I changed gears and worked on my May challenge as well as brought in a different design wall (another fleece lined tablecloth but not as red!). This time I tried to think like a blow flower (grin). I imagined the center being a little off center and the seed pods floating in various twists and turns as the natural reaction could be in nature. Okay, so if that doesn’t make a lot of sense then just consider this abstract interpretation! Art is subjective after all (grin).

Let’s try this again – a more pleasing layout in my mind’s eye


Once the layout was agreeable then I added background fabric to fill in the blanks

I loved the way the background fabric, Celery, seemed to give it an outdoor feel. I debated about a sky blue, but I liked the idea of thinking it was more of a meadow behind my blow flower than the sky. To avoid a lot of seams in the background units I figured out how many “singles”, “doubles” and “triples” I would need to add as spacers between my seed pod units.

Construction was a little creative, make blocks within rows, join as rows and then join the rows together working my way down the quilt top.

Blow Flower in The Wild

My “quilt retreat” location was perfect for taking outdoor photographs, including a photo with their dog Boone, my doggie nephew.

Blow Flower, original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler


Blow Flower, original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler


Blow Flower, original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler


Blow Flower, original design Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler with my dog nephew Boone Overton

I enjoyed stretching my imagination to create a modern quilt. I always enjoy the challenges offered to the Island Batik Ambassadors. I hope you will continue to follow and check out the other ambassadors’ monthly projects.

Northern Woods fabrics and Aurifil threads

The fabric used in this project was from the Northern Woods collection with “leftovers” from my Mint Chocolate Chip pattern. With the exception of the background fabric Celery (an Island Batik basic), all fabrics were provided to me as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program. I purchased Aurifil threads suggested for the Northern Woods collection to piece this project.

Thank you to Tracie Henkel, one of my Instagram friends, for allowing me to use her photo in this blog.  When I was searching for a dandelion in the yard to photo and finding none,  I found her beautiful photo online instead! Check out her IG photos!


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

On a personal note, I can’t wait to get back into my studio and have the longarm set up so I can quilt my Blow Flower quilt – we are soon approaching the 10 month anniversary of Hurricane Harvey and I am so hopeful this displacement will soon be in my rearview mirror and I can get back to some serious quilting (among other things of course).  Hope you are finding time for your own summer-lovin’ quilting time! Share your highlights in the comments! Let’s talk quilts!














10 thoughts on “Summer Lovin – Blow flowers

  1. Elaine/MuddlingThrough says:

    I LIKE it! And I really like you sharing your “process” as you made it happen. We need to play around with the fabric sometimes. After all, it’s supposed to be fun, and what a wonderful result you had!

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      My husband always tells me to slow down and enjoy the process, but sometimes in our busy world of deadlines (whether family, business or yes even quilting), that’s an easy thing to overlook. This quilt was a stretch for me but I do think I like it and can’t wait to quit it!

  2. Kathleen McCormick says:

    Great interpretation of the blow flower seeds. I love the story and your effort to make it work for you. Hope to quilt mine tomorrow when I am reunited with it.

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      Sometimes the best thing to do is not have a plan! That seemed to work on this project. I really like the way your modern quilt turned out! Hope my blog readers are following all the Island Batik Ambassadors – so inspiring!

  3. Brenda says:

    Wow, Karen – I love your thought process and the end result! This certainly reminds me of blow flowers! I still love blowing dandelions!!

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      I couldn’t believe I didn’t find a single one to photograph in my yard or the house-sitting yard! But aren’t the memories of blowing dandelions fun – can’t wait one day to share this with my grand-daughter! Wow, that’s going to take a bit getting used to saying! Baby countdown

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