I always find that on hot summer days working on projects that have lots of blues, greens and purples are especially pleasing. Here are a few of the coolest American Quilt Collection patterns that are truly classics, in that they are my versions of traditional Amish quilt designs. With their rich, deep jewel colors, Amish quilts never fail to please and never seem to be outdated....
Here's one of my absolute favorites, SHINING STAR, because the complex variegated thread palette makes this look difficult but really, the stitching is quite easy once you work the rows of diamonds and set up one quarter of the design, then use that first section as a reference to work the other three sections:
Another cool classic is SNAIL'S TRAIL, which is more of a stitching optical illusion where you really have to focus on which color of whirling "snail" you're stitching on, because of the confusing interlocking arms. I used a variegated #5 pearl cotton for the background color, which further complicates things, but you could definitely stitch a pale solid color background so your main swirly snails would stand out!
You can change the color palette on this one by first picking out a variegated Watercolours thread you love; then use it to pick out four different solid colors of #5 pearl cotton that coordinate. The tricky part is finding a variegated thread that actually has four different colors in it -- sometimes that's the most challenging part of pulling/changing threads in a design!
Another classic quilt pattern called Tumbling Blocks prompted me many years ago to create a small wall quilt in an assortment of jewel-tone colors. After staring at the small quilt (which looks exactly like the pattern below) it occurred to me that it would make a terrific geometric design as well, so I designed and stitched up this TUMBLING BLOCKS beauty:
I just recently revamped the pattern a bit (enlarging the color graph so you can see it better) and then added it to my website, under the American Quilt Collection (scroll down the sidebar on the left). I originally stitched it on light blue canvas with the darkest navy blue thread I could find, and alas, you can see the canvas peeking through a bit.... but working it on a darker canvas with dark blue (or even black, if you're a purist) pearl cotton would eliminate the canvas "dandruff" you see in the photo.
So if you're in the mood to create your own American classic, please put on your bonnet, hitch up your buggy, and trot on over to my website to see these traditional quilt beauties!!