Saturday, 26 June 2010

A scrap quilt finished.... forgotten photos.... tiny scraps

I am realising that I have to be more systematic with the photographing of quilts before they leave home....Of my last 6 UFO finishes I have only managed to photograph 2..... (Dolphins above and the cream silk in the previous post). Yet when I think about why I did not take photos - they went too quickly to those who needed them perhaps I should not get too intense about photos.

The dolphin quilt is one of my "use up those tiny scrap designs". I pre cut the smallest pieces into 3" , 4.5" , 6" , 7.5" strips (any width that is less than length) and bag them up. When I want boarders for a quilt I sellect from the bags the colours that go with the key piece. and sew them together into long Boarder lengths.... and hense a quick quilt that does use up those little bits.

Silk Quilts finished (finally!!!)

I have just finished the third of a group of silk quilts made from silks collected over a number of years by a friend's father.
Originally I had thought of making a "crazy quilt" style quilt but when I recieved the fabrics I found that many of the designs were large and the colours just did not blend that well. Therefore i ended up making three quilts. In the cream background quilt above the main difficulty was that the silk were very fine scarves so each one had to be backed. Originally I had thought of iron on woven backing but the fabrics were so sheer that this killed the colour. Therefore each scarf was back with the appropriate coloured poplin.

The design of the purple quilt was determined by the fact the silk was hand woven and the check is not actually regular or really square - hence the strong lines along the joins. The red one was just very strongly coloured - so needed to be separate from the pastels or it "killed" them

More pictures

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Recent finishes - I spy fairies, Bunches of flowers

I spy fairies. This quilt is one with a theme - fairy fabrics and a colour scheme pink and purple. The blocks were made with squares and 2.5 inch strip and cut after piecing to give the more random effect. The most difficult thing was getting the outer triangles right. While I have made several quilts on this design I am still finding the process of getting this boarder perfectly flat a challenge This is probably because the mixture of biases.

This is a quilt where I began with the colour scheme and chose fabrics accordingly.

Bunches of flowers. This quilt began life as a table cloth with a print that I really liked. The main challenge of the quilt was that the cloth's printing was not actually square. Therefore The pieces which became the central block are actually smaller than the pieces in the outer blocks because this was the amount of availabe fabric. To make this a positive feature i boardered the central block with a deeper pink with embrodery anglaise lace over the top.

This is a quilt wherre i knew i wanted a pink effect and chose the tabel cloth panels and then had to find toning other fabrics to set them off.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

What happens when the key fabric has a really large print..... but is not a panel

The issue of large prints was brought home to me when I was given some fabrics to use for bushfirequilts that had large surfing and whitewater rafting prints. Please note .... i was really glad when I got them as I had been trying hard to design things for males who did not want "fussy flowers".

However I realised that if I cut them into small pieces much of the impact of the pattern could be lost. The first Two quilt i made with the white water rafting fabrics were medallion style (yep a common theme with me .... may be deep in my British heritage?)

I think that comparing these two is interesting as it shows what changing such details as the tone and brightness of the sashing changes how the whole quilt looks in terms of colour scheme and emphasis.

In both cases I chose the larges section of print to make a panel for the centre In the first quilt i was able to get two borders in the waterrafting print but in the second one only one. As is often the case this was influenced by the amount of the fabric I had.  personally I find the paler one more restful but them bright yellows do not do a lot for me.

I have just finished my third quilt which contains this fabric. This time i only had the tiny piece left over from the other quilts. so I was not able to use them in large boarder but rather had to takcle the fabric another way.    ........ I will post more about this when photos are availabe.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Stage 2: key fabric, panel, block.

Having decided on the basic colour scheme for this quilt - I look for a suitable fabric, or panel, or block that is left over from another project. This becomes my key piece. The choice of this may be influenced as much by the style of the "key piece" as its colour scheme.

For instance I had a young girl who really wanted white unicorns as the feature piece (nothing like being specific) but also wanted the quilt in the palest pastels or beiges. Unfortunately the only picture I could find of white unicorns was with really bright rainbows in the background. Therefore In choosing the other fabrics in the quilt I had to consider not making the panel look rediculous while toning down its over all impact on the colour scheme.

Also the panel was rather small for a bed quilt so I chose to do a medallion style to focus the eye into the small panel. This is helped by the tiny repeats of the panel in the first square boarder.

To tie in the rainbow I used paler versions of the colours in the rainbow in the pieced scraps This helped the panels look like a deliberate feature rather than a sore thumb. I picked up the colour of the unicorn in the recuring narrow sashing a technique that I find conveys that this colour is significant look at it. The larger triangles and staight boarders were chosen to be in the desired colour scheme to set the overall colour of the quilt.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Where do I begin in making a quilt? Colour

When I begin designing a quilt I begin with "who is this for?" . This may be a defined as a particular person or more general such as a teenager, male, who likes sport and autumn toned colours.

For many years I have been interested in the relationship between colours and individuals - initially in terms of choosing clothing that suited my children but this has spread to wider issues. During the 1980's the book
"Colour me beautiful" was very popular here in helping people to choose colours that suited them. This book groups people in to 4 basic groups of colours that look good on them. (Summer Autumn, Winter and Spring)..

Evidently these groupings were based on the research done by  Johannes Itten of the Bauhaus Art School in Germany into which colours artists liked to paint. .

 As a mum trying to choose clothes that suited my children I had the challenge of none of them were in the same colour grouping as me.  This was important for me as I grew up as one of 4 sisters, 2 of whom were considered pretty (dressed them in the right colours) and the other 2 plain (dressed us in the wrong colours)  Over time I came to realize that my children would be far happier if they not only had clothes that suited them but also that the colours used in decorating their rooms also suited them.

Years have rolled by and this has affected my quilt making. I have found that most people like the quilts in their own colour scheme best .. Even when I think it is not so good probably because they are not my colours. In fact I now have a good friend who I go to with some quilts and ask her if it works or not as her colour preferences are different from mine.

When making a quilt for an individual I try to work out their probable colour tastes first and try to work dominantly within that colour range. The effectiveness of this was really brought home to me this week when showing a quilt top to a young teenage boy - initally I was going to offer him one of the quilts from my stack of finished quilts but the more I looked at it the more I realised the colours were wrong for him. Therefore I made the quilt top for him out of scraps and so there was some unusual piecing in the quilt - but that did not matter to him because I had the colour right. He is actually an Autumn - a colour scheme I do not relate to well personally - but by using the colour in the group the quilt does work even though they are not the colours I would personally choose.

The next strand in my inspiration is that I often have to work entirely from stash as there are no local fabric shops. So I look with in my stash for a fabric that I think the person would like by both colour and pattern and work on from there to make a quilt around that key fabric.