Neon and Neutral II

I know, I’m blogging. Miracles do happen, huh? :)  I don’t have much of an explanation but, life happens, ya know? Like almost a whole year of life. But, that means I have a TON of things to post about because I’ve been quilting my way through life. Anyhow, here’s the first one.

Some of you saw photos from the first version of this quilt, Neutral and Neon at QuiltCon in Austin in February. I really did love that quilt. Apparently one of the QuiltCon attendees really loved it too. She contacted me after the show. But, with the original quilt going to travel in a Modern Quilt Guild traveling show (and a secret desire to keep it for myself when it comes home) I decided that I would remake it for her.

I thought about just using the first as inspiration but, when I thought about when you fall in love with a specific piece of art – you only want that piece. So, I tried to make as exact of a version of this quilt as I could. It’s pretty close. . .

I shipped it out yesterday and was able to snap a few photos before it went out:

This quilt was inspired by an accidental stacking of fabric of Yoshiko Jinzenji and Suzuko Koseki. I attempted to make the traditional clamshell modern through fabric choice and layout.



I chose various cotton, linen, and linen blend fabrics to coordinate with the Jinzenji and Koseki fabrics.



A tiny 1/4″ binding helps to frame the quilt but, just barely. It’s perfect for this quilt since it will be used as a wall hanging.



I chose to quilt this with irregular straight lines which gives a very modern organic feel to it.



The 8″ clamshells are all machine pieced.



Yes, that’s a coordinating bag.



And a custom printed label.



I love how the seam allowances on the clamshells show through the back of the quilt. I’m glad that I’m so diligent about pressing – didn’t know it would show through like that.



What’s a commissioned quilt without official paperwork. Right?



I hope she likes it!



angela - June 27, 2013 - 8:10 am

Hi Latifah. I responded on your email to me. At this point I really don’t have time to test the pattern. Can you please let us all know when it is available? I’ve been watching Craftsy but have never had much luck finding things there. Thanks SO MUCH for this. I ordered a bunch of fabrics, and I’m eagerly waiting for the pattern!!!! Of course mine won’t be as beautiful as yours. It’s so inspiring.

Latifah - June 5, 2013 - 11:16 am

It turned out to be more like a free pattern than a tutorial. It’s being tested now – do you want to test it Angela? Let me know!

angela - June 5, 2013 - 6:05 am

Hi Latifah. I wondered if you had done the tutorial for the clamshell pattern yet? Thank you.

[...] Neon and Neutral by Latifah Saafir [...]

Marianna - April 29, 2013 - 12:06 pm

This is beautifully made and designed quilt. Well done!

Lynette - April 28, 2013 - 6:22 am

Whoa!! Those stairs are the perfect backdrop for this wonderful quilt.

Kate Winternitz - April 26, 2013 - 6:58 pm

I commissioned this quilt and to answer the question of whether I like it or not? I! LOVE! IT! I could not get Neon and Neutral out of my head after first seeing it at QuiltCon. As I later told Latifah, I have never before purchased a ” “real” piece of art but I just decided that I was so in love with Latifah’s work that I wanted to buy it if it was still for sale. I was SO happy when Latifah called me back to tell me she was willing to make a second quilt for me. When I received it in the mail today, I rushed home to open the box. First, coordinating bag?! Awesome! And then I pulled out the real deal. Even more amazingly beautiful than I remembered!! I will cherish it for my life. I am so thankful to Latifah for sharing her talent with me. I am ecstatic to be able to see this every day. Thank you Latifah! You are simply the best and I am so fortunate that you were willing to remake this magnificent piece of art! I loved the finishing touches and description on the back makes it even more special. :)

Nicole - April 26, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Holy cow, this is to die for!!!! I love it!

Ali M - April 25, 2013 - 5:39 pm

Fabulous, and great to see a post from you, because I just LOVE your creations!

Jeifner - April 25, 2013 - 5:30 pm

I saw this on Flickr and had to hop over to tell you how beautiful this is. Front, back, clamshell seam allowances, just gorgeous. Love the different tans, neutrals, lines, pops and combinations of colors. Well done. I would love this if it were mine. I also find unexpected combinations of fabric when I pile bolts on top of each other or rearrange my stash.

Debbie-Esch House Quilts - April 25, 2013 - 7:03 am

Love #2 as much as #1! Great modern take on the clamshell and how can you go wrong with Jinzenji and Koseki :)

amy - April 25, 2013 - 3:45 am

GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS! Your quilt is spectacular!

Betty Ayers - April 25, 2013 - 2:07 am

This is the second time in as many days that I’ve seen and fallen in love, again, with the Clamshell. Your interpretation is spectacular – so inspirational! Maybe I’m destined to make one she said hopefully.

Latifah - April 24, 2013 - 9:21 pm

Wow! Thanks for all the awesome comments!

Maureen from Ventura - April 24, 2013 - 8:57 pm

Oh my! Since I couldn’t attend QuiltCon I searched daily for QC tagged photos on flickr. I stopped dead in my tracks when came upon the photo of Neutral and Neon. It’s perfection!! I’m completely obsessed with it. I love everything, everything about it. I can’t thank you enough for this post. It completely made my day. :-)

Lynda M O - April 24, 2013 - 5:56 pm

Incredible-like the other commenters there is nothing I don’t adore about this quilt. The palette is inspired and inspiring; the quilting magnifies the piecing elegance. Wonderful-lucky recipient.

Ann - April 24, 2013 - 4:07 pm

What’s not to like.? She’ll loooove it. I particularly like the piece that says Torso.

Erica - April 24, 2013 - 1:53 pm

This is AMAZING, I absolutely love this! Well done Latifah!

Carrie B. - April 24, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Seriously? I think that may be the coolest and most interesting quilt I have every seen. Jinzenji and Koseki are two of my absolute faves. I liken Zinjenji to John Cage music on fabric-spartan and minimal. Almost too much space. About to collapse. Your quilt is stunning! And the palette couldn’t be more NOW. Big smooch. cb

Emily - April 24, 2013 - 12:34 pm

This is one fabulous quilt! Thanks for sharing it with us… I hope you’ll pop in here a bit more often. Your work is so inspiring!

Paula Prass - April 24, 2013 - 12:21 pm

I didn’t go to Quiltcon, so I was blown away when I saw this on Facebook. From a distance it looks like cool graphics on corrugated cardboard. Bravo!

Lynn Douglass - April 24, 2013 - 11:26 am

This was one of my favorites when I saw it at Quitcon! There isn’t anything that I don’t love about it! The recipient of #2 is a very lucky person!

Shopping List Tote Bag

You may have seen the grocery bag and produce bags I made for the LAMQG Tote Swap. Well, look what I got during the swap! Total SCORE! It was made by the fabulous Lori L the Secretary of the LAMQG and a very good friend. I realized I hadn’t shared any pictures and wanted to do so before it got too dirty because this baby is used often! Lori always comes up with the most inventive things. The bag is designed to look like a shopping list and it’s double sided! The front is for when you go to the grocery store.

Vodka? Check!

Shopping List Tote by Lori L. for LAMQG Swap


The back is for when you go to the fabric store. Brilliant!

Shopping List Tote by Lori L. for LAMQG Swap

Thanks Lori! It’s been used for both.


Latifah - April 24, 2013 - 12:49 pm

Mary and Melissa, thanks so much for the support. I’ll be trying to pop in here a little more frequently! Hugs!

Melissa - April 22, 2013 - 7:30 am

Just seconding Mary Erdman. Hope all is well, beautiful blog and I love your style.

Mary Erdman - March 4, 2013 - 4:27 am

Where have you gone?! I just found you! I feel devastated that I can’t find you!

Patty - March 3, 2013 - 10:15 am

What a wonderful idea! You scored, for sure!

Tina in Boston - April 26, 2012 - 6:58 pm

I love it! Is that your fabulous kitchen in the background??

Latifah - April 26, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Haha Pippa, I don’t drink at all which makes it even more perfect!

Pippa - April 26, 2012 - 5:47 pm

That bag is fabulous! Even though I’m more of a tequila girl myself ;) Love it.

Emily - April 26, 2012 - 1:01 pm

Oh my goshness! I LOVE IT! I NEEEEED to make one of these! Lori is use too brilliant for words! Miss you, Latifah!

Lauren Hawley - April 26, 2012 - 12:13 pm

This bag is so awesome, Latifah! I’m so jealous—Hey, Lori?

Kite Tails Quilt

Many of you saw glimpses of this quilt in the tutorial on the Modern Quilt Guild blog but, it wasn’t quilted yet and I literally just showed a peek of it in the tutorial. It’s a very simple quilt using HRT’s that makes for a quick baby quilt. I love the color combination of the coral-ly reds, pink, citron and gray! I think I’ll definitely be using it again.

Kite Tails Quilt, Latifah Saafir

This quilt layout completely reminds me of kites in the idyllic image in kids books with the bows on kite tails blowing in the wind. Kinda like this:


:-)So I call it Kite Tails.

I have been struggling SO much to get decent pictures of my quilts. Does anyone else have this problem? Please let me know I’m not alone. But, the stars (and the clouds to be honest) all lined up perfectly today to allow me to easily take a few decent shots.


Kite Tails Quilt

This quilt is pretty small at just 34″ x 36″ but, it was made specifically for the tutorial. It would be perfect for a tiny baby girl though.

Kite Tails Quilt

The backing uses three of my current favorite fabrics. I’m sort of in love with the Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch fabric – like, in all of the colors!! The upper left corner fabric is one of my favorite colors of the Crosshatch Sketch called Citron. To the right of it is Simon & Kabuki Juicy Blossoms Gray Dot (which I desperately need to find more of). And the bottom is Laurie Wisburn’s Modern Whimsy Circles in Saffron.

Kite Tails Quilt Back

The quilting is super simple.

Kite Tails Quilt Detail

The binding is Kona Coral.

Kite Tails Quilt Folded

And, last but, not least my go to label when I’m too lazy to create a real one.:-)

Kite Tails Label


I’ll be back soon!

Cheryl Kozuback - April 9, 2014 - 6:45 am

That is so sweet.

Michelle - January 25, 2013 - 1:08 pm

That’s so pretty! I think I’m going to have to try making half square rectangles.

Clair - January 25, 2013 - 3:05 am

Such a beautiful combination of colours and amazing precision. Love it Latifah!

carol sulcoski - November 18, 2012 - 7:23 am

Wonderful quilt — love the shapes, the colors, and the WOW factor!

KatieLynne Peterson-Victor - November 17, 2012 - 11:36 am

Through Kathy Mack’s superior radar report, I arrived here. I’m so taken with this quilt—both the design and colorway is so very pleasing. It gives me the same pleasant feeling that I get when viewing Japanese designs—soothing, comforting, peacefulness. The execution of your dream is astounding!

Sherri ~ daintytime - May 16, 2012 - 6:17 pm

Sweet & clean. I like this!

liberty - May 15, 2012 - 9:56 am

the pics look great Latifah! (and the pics of your yellow tote are awesome too!!!)

I love that crosshatch fabric too. yum.

Jolinda - May 3, 2012 - 4:09 pm

Love your work Latifah! Where do you get your labels/tags at?

Jenn - April 27, 2012 - 12:40 pm

I have the worst time getting pictures for my blog in general. Spring has definitly helped though. My main problem is not having time to shoot in daylight (I work full time) and my apt set up not allowing a sewing table near the window. Lovely quilt by the way!

Melissa - April 26, 2012 - 1:01 pm

That quilt is gorgeous! And I’ve got photo problems, too – maybe I need a nicer camera and a photography class! :)

Donna SeaHorseQuilts - April 26, 2012 - 4:35 am

Cute quilt. I have trouble with the photos, too. I want to photograph the whole project, but then you can’t see the details or, most common, lighting is wrong, wrong, wrong. And photo editing often does strange things to fabric colors. But all your photos have always looked beautiful to me. I’m surprised to hear your question. I just assume I’m the only one who has this trouble! :-). And I’m also happy to see you blogging here again. You’re quilts are always inspirational.

Ali - April 25, 2012 - 10:43 pm

That’s just lovely! Pinned and am going to have to make one of those for myself.

Lisa Redmond - April 25, 2012 - 5:34 pm

I love this quick and easy pattern for HRTs when you posted it earlier on Modern Quilt Guild blog. I’ve already used it to make a quilt for my cancer charity workshop using donated fabrics from Lauren. Thanks for sharing. AND I’m so glad you’re blogging on a regular basis now!

Debbie-Esch House Quilts - April 25, 2012 - 1:27 pm

I definitely have that problem with photographs – seems like I often have too much or not enough light. Kite Tails is darling!

Merge Quilt and just what is a HRT?

This week we’re going to look at a fun little tutorial that I wrote up on the Modern Quilt Guild blog for making HRT’s. What is an HRT? Well, if a Half Square Triangle is an HST shouldn’t a Half Rectangle Triangle be a HRT? Plus, Half Rectangle Triangles is just too many syllables so we’ll just call it the HRT. The fun thing about HRT’s is that they are maybe even more versatile than the HST. [Geeky side note: Since a square is a rectangle, isn't a HST technically also a HRT? Just sayin!]

This week I’m going to show you a few quilts that I’ve made or am working on using HRT’s. Plus, I’ll fine tune the tutorial a bit so that you too can make long skinny HRT’s with minimal fabric waste.

The first quilt in the series is a quick baby quilt made with the long skinny HRT’s that I call the Merge Quilt. Ever since I was able to accept that Green was my favorite color, I always stash great green fabrics when I see them. I also have a pretty substantial collection of grey prints as well. So, when I saw the super cute Green Owl fabric by Annika Wester for Kokka I knew I had to make a quilt with all my green and grey fabric! I love this quilt and think that it is quite unisex. I have an idea for a much larger quilt using HRT’s of the same dimension but with lots more solids and a little less juvenile. If I can only find the time!

(Now that I’m posting this I realize that all of my pictures are blurry. :-(  So I’ll have to update this and share a few clearer pictures with you later. But, I’ll go ahead and post it for now.)

Here’s the clearest shot:

A little detail of that great Owl fabric!

The blurry front.

The back – also blurry.

Merge on a turtle.

I’ll take a few better pictures and post them soon!


Nancy@OwensOlivia - November 19, 2012 - 5:47 pm

I’m so glad I found you! I love all of your quilts and your aesthetic! I like that you approach quilting with an engineering mind. My husband is an engineer, and I don’t have any of that in me! :)

There was one particular quilt that sent me here and it is behind you. It’s orange and white with two blue stripes. They are spherical. I just can’t find it on your blog.

I’m excited to try this tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing. I wish you the best of luck in the future.


liberty Worth - April 12, 2012 - 2:00 pm

After seeing this quilt, (in it’s many stages) you’ve got me so itching to try that tutorial. love this quilt.

Kelly - April 12, 2012 - 5:54 am

super cute and innovative!

Life before the MQG. . .

Sometimes, I sit and try to remember what my life was like before the Modern Quilt Guild. It’s only been 2, almost 3 years since we started the LA chapter but, it is such a part of my life that it seems like it’s always been there. Good friends, great outings, weekends away, shoulders to cry on, laughing till it hurts, sharing life with people who love the same things as you do! What more can a girl ask for?

I can’t wait until our Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild meeting tonight! My mom is in town and I’m bringing her so that should be fun. And our swap committee has organized our first swap of the year. It’s a white elephant style Tote Bag swap in honor of Earth Month. The main rules are that it has to be awesome and that it has to include some patchwork or quilted element. This is what I made. Well, the bag not all the goodies inside.

Grocery Bag
Not quite a tote but, it’s a great reusable grocery bag AND I made 4 reusable produce bags to go with it so I thought it worked. I chose to make a grocery bag vs. a tote because it can fold or roll down nicely to fit in your car without taking up too much space. When it was finished I thought the bag was a little small so next time I’ll enlarge the pattern. So cute though! I think I want to make a bunch for myself to use to go grocery shopping!

I started to make my own pattern but, in the interest of time I used the Simplicity 2806 pattern for the grocery bag. I liked it because it looks like a grocery bag and it had a lining which I needed because I wanted to include patchwork on the front. The only changes that I made to the pattern were the patchwork piecing on the front of the bag, I didn’t include a pouch, and I added a french seam on the bottom. Easy great pattern though!

I got to use a random combination of a lot of my favorite fabrics. The background is Kona Coal and the lining is Alexander Henry Heath in Tomato. The patchwork on the front includes Art Gallery Pure Elements Lemonade (a new favorite), Lotta Jansdotter Echo Woven in Espresso (love this), more Tomato Heath, Connecting Threads Taupe Solid (yummy), Kona Robins Egg (I use this way too often), Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch in Nectar (perfect in all colors), Robert Kaufman Metro Living Dots Blue (the perfect blue) and last but not least the green is a print from Liesl Gibson’s Lisette Collection at Joann’s (LOVE).

Produce Bags
For the the produce bags I found this great tutorial. I followed it roughly.:-)I used netting instead of the “scrubbie mesh”. I used the rough dimensions. I would probably make some of the bags larger. I made my own ribbons which I would make a little different next time so that they’re not so bulky. But, what I LOVE about the tutorial was the way the bottoms of the bags are sewn. Genius! Overall I love how they turned out and I know what I’ll do differently next time. I need at least a half dozen of these as well. I guess I’ll have to add it to the list!

For the straps I used Lemonade again, Kona Robins Egg, and Persimmon Shot Cotton.

I personally love it! I’m just concerned that everyone else’s “Tote’s” will be a lot more complicated compared to my simple grocery bag. Is it awesome enough? Let’s see how many times it gets stolen tonight! (Question: Ummm, can you steal your own gift in a white elephant gift exchange?) If you’re in LA come join in on the fun!

Shelby - August 8, 2012 - 8:29 pm

This bag is beautiful and a wonderful idea! I’m a member of the Knoxville MQG. We’re having a swap soon, and I’m defiantly going to ask for some of those mesh bags.

NaomiRuth - May 23, 2012 - 9:58 am

I love your bag and thanks for linking the tutorial. I’m wondering what the netting material you used was? I haven’t been able to find any – can you show a link to the material?

[...] may have seen the grocery bag and produce bags I made for the LAMQG Tote Swap. Well, look what I got during the swap! Total SCORE! It was made by the fabulous Lori L the [...]

Holly - April 24, 2012 - 5:03 pm

The MQG has definitely changed my life for the better and I thank you and Alissa for getting the ball rolling!

Sherri ~ daintytime - April 18, 2012 - 7:25 pm

Love your GIANT photos. And I’m impressed that you have your blog plan in place. Isn’t it a lot of work to keep it up! Welcome back.

How many people attend the LA Modern Quilt Guild?

Liberty - April 10, 2012 - 9:00 pm

These are great! If I’d been able to come the other night, surely I’d have stolen those in the swap.

Mary Ann - April 10, 2012 - 6:04 am

Now these are wonderful bags, I am off to mark the tutorial and find the pattern. I have resolved to be more “green” in my day to day activities and having such cute bags will surely help me remember.

Nicci P - April 9, 2012 - 7:39 pm

I just read your feature in the Feb issue of LHJ and wanted to say congrats! I follow your blog already and admire your style, but particularly enjoyed your comment about how your grandpa loves to watch you work. I, too, would set my sewing machine up at my 94-year-old Papa’s dining room table in order to spend more with him and he loved it. He was a welder by trade, but an engineer at heart and he was always thinking of ways to improve my machine and the quilting process. I think he practically designed a long arm without realizing it!
Keep up the good work!

Lisa G - April 5, 2012 - 1:36 pm

I love how humble you are! Über talented and yet you feature a grocery tote and admit you used a Simplicity pattern! You are my newest favorite gal!

Emily - April 4, 2012 - 2:56 pm

These are so awesome! I love that your guild has a “swap comittee” I think ours needs one! I love swaps and the bonds that form because of them!

Kristy Daum - April 4, 2012 - 2:41 pm

Reminiscing about life before the MQG…Wow, I’ll have to do a blog post of my own like that. What I do know is that it was super boring before :-)

I think your “totes” are great and anyone would be excited to get them…especially because it’s a 4 in one gift.


john - April 4, 2012 - 8:43 am

Hey hey!!! so glad to have you back. I really love your color choices and style. I’ve missed your blog. Thanks for publishing again.

johnny b.

Cristina Schweitzer - April 3, 2012 - 10:54 am

Wow. Great bags. I’m sorry to have missed the meeting. I’ve been redecorating my son’s room and swamped with that. I hope you’re well! Enjoy having your mom in town! Cristina

Kelly - April 2, 2012 - 7:27 pm

i love the fact that you – who is so talented, and makes amazing things ALWAYS – questions whether or not it’s “good enough.” it’s an awesome bag. wish i could be there!!

sue - April 2, 2012 - 7:06 pm

awesome – i love the mesh bags.

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