Readers old and new alike, welcome to my stop on the Beyond Neutral blog tour.  Now, you must excuse me if I suddenly yell out for smelling salts or a paper bag to breathe into.  You see, this is kind of big deal for me.  Regular readers of this blog will know how I’ve talked about John Adams, AKA Quilt Dad, at length.  He was the first male quilter I stumbled across whilst navigating the then-scary world of quilt blogs some years back, and as if my collaboration with him in the #NGAQB wasn’t enough, I now get to talk about his amazing new book!  How much of a groupie do I feel right now!

All images courtesy  of Martingale and Brent Kane

Beyond Neutral does exactly what it says on the tin.  For so many quilters, the background of their quilts are always destined to be some shade of white, grey or cream.  How refreshing then to see a book full of quilts that challenge that norm.  Sixteen quilts, each inspired by the beauty and wonder of nature.  The natural world is my go-to source for inspiration (Vegetable Patch Quilt anyone?) for so many of my own projects and John’s book looks to nature’s palette to inspire his bold and exciting colour choices; so far beyond neutral that neutral’s still packing its bags!

Any quilt that cites grass, trees, waves or rocks as a source of inspiration is going to be a hit with me.  There are so many great quilts in the book that I struggled to pick a favourite.  The beautiful locations and gorgeous photography make each quilt jump from the page and demand you make it before all others.  It’s no surprise that Pacific Crest became the cover star.  I was in love with it the moment I first saw the book.  The dynamic piecing coupled with John’s ballsy fabric placement creates a real sense of  movement and a quilt that truly wows.  Beginner quilters needn’t shy away from these designs either.  John’s clear and concise instructions along with simple piecing make the quilts in Beyond Neutral approachable for all skill levels.  The countless options for fabric selection makes each quilt so versatile and open to interpretation you’ll probably want to make more than one version of each!

Another that pulls at the heart-strings is Fox River.  Simple yet strikingly effective, the unusual pairing of woodland-themed prints with cool teals and yellow-greens makes for a visually intriguing quilt.  The eye is drawn across the top by intersecting lines of solid fabric that punctuated the prints in a most non-traditional way. I love it!

With so much quilty goodness, I couldn’t possible keep it all to myself!  The lovely people at Martingale are offering one reader their own digital copy of Beyond Neutral.  To be in with a chance of winning simply leave a comment on the post telling me what inspiration you take from nature, the more creative the better!  I’ll pick a winner in a weeks time.  Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who entered!


  1. I am massively inspired by the woodlands that surrounded my house whilst I was growing up. I love doing bark quilting and the vivid greens against blues or browns really speak to me.

  2. The forest, in every season, going from the white snow and deep shadows of winter, to the spring greens and new leaves of the deciduous trees mixing with the darker green of the evergreens, then summer with the berries decorating the bushes and autumn when there are pockets on the mountain sides that look as though they were on fire with the changing colors of the leaves.

  3. I’m inspired by the way all colors are part of nature! When I look at a field of wildflowers, or see the amazing creatures in a deep sea photo, or a blazing sunset in the desert, it helps me be more creative in my color choices when I’m deciding on fabric for a quilt.

  4. That is such a difficult question – not to think of an answer, but to think of a CREATIVE answer as it’s all quite clichéd really. There are the colour palettes of nature, the groupings of odd numbers, the scale of nature, but for me it’s mainly rainbows and bunnies that give me inspiration.

  5. I find nature doesn’t discriminate based on color – in a field of flowers you see shades of blue, orange, red, yellow, pink, green, white, black and brown, from small to large scale and with a plethora of fragrances. You can mix it all and make it work in a quilt, it’s all about balance and neutrals!

  6. I am inspired by all aspects of nature, in particular the Fall when the colors of the leaves change, in fact in about 25 or so days I will be taking a road trip in the NE states/Bermuda and expect to get lots of inspiration for quilts from there!

  7. Looove all outside things of nature! the colors, sky, trees…walking thru our Woods..watching the clouds movin & makin pictures! 🙂 FUN! to do…. All the Seasons have tons of changing Inspirations..glad I don’t have to choose just one thing.

  8. HI, I love the Rainbow and either trim in rainbow stripes or make a total Rainbow quilt; if I make another type of quilt I still usually use a rainbow shaded backing>Yes, I love Rainbows!

  9. I am inspired by the blues you see. The sky. The water. My favorite place to feel inspired and small is to be out on a large body of open water where all you see is water.

  10. Living in PR, theres no better inspiration than the Rain Forest and the sea… the flora and fauna that abound are unique and beautiful. inspiration.

  11. All of nature will wake you up if you open your eyes. Even the nasty yellow jackets are quite colorful. We live in an area of red clay, not rich black dirt. That is amazing color, trees, leaves, flowers, birds, insects, butterflies, everywhere around me is a world of color and shapes.

  12. I don’t see the colors of nature and try to put them in my quilts so much as I want my quilts to feel like I feel when I stand on my mountain and look over the stands of aspen, the lava flows, cattle grazing on hillsides and in the distance , the sharp, deep sudden slits of color that form Zion National Park. I want my quilts to reflect the freedom I feel with the wind in my face, or the rain bouncing on my roof, or the surprise of hail in the middle of a miraculously noisy thunderstorm. Some quilts show the summer shimmer of sunlight while others reflect the stark whiteness and cold of winter. Thanks for asking, I haven’t thought like that for a while. Thanks.

  13. All of nature is beautiful, but what I love most are the animals! Songbirds, bunnies, butterflies, turtles, snails, crickets, and even neighborhood cats 🙂 I find that I pay more attention to the beauty and animals around me when I am with my two year old daughter, so I can teach her to love her surroundings.

  14. I love blues and greys so I take inspiration from the sea. What is great about the sea is all the extra little hints of colour it gives – the yellows and browns of the beach sands, the greens of the sea plants and the many colours of the beautiful little fish and sea creatures. I love all the colour combinations the sea can provide!! Thank you for the chance to win!

  15. I’m so fortunate to live in the Maine woods with the ocean just a few miles away. All I have to do is turn my head in any direction and see all the inspiring colors of nature and the gorgeous geography of granite boulders, blueberry barrens, rocky coastlines, hills and mountains, rivers–it’s all here. Multiply all of this beauty by 4 very distinct seasons (plus mud season) and the possibilities are endless. John’s book is truly a revelation!

  16. i’m inspired by nature to create, though my quilts don’t always reflect nature in them. I love seeing sunsets against the clouds and being out in the woods hiking with the wind in the trees.

  17. I favor the awesome colors of flowers that Mother Nature provides. Not only are the colors perfect for quilts but so are the flowers designs themselves.

  18. I’m inspired by flower and leaf shapes. The first block I’ve done, appliquéd as a 2 color block, is a mexican hat wildflower. The shape of the flower becomes very important when you are only using 2 colors, foreground and background.

  19. I find inspiration in the vibrant colors of bright spring flowers. Since I make many charity quilts for a pediatric infusion therapy unit (kids chemo). Those special children need brightness in their lives.

  20. The little things in nature inspire me like spider webs and acorns and also the incredible scenario of the mountains and lakes where I live. All scales take my breath away!

  21. Nature inspires me most in the fall. I love the changing colors and the weather! These autumnal colors match my home’s décor just perfectly!

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