L – R (clockwise): Martha Negley Variegated Garden Dahlias in Aqua with Lagoon Kona Cotton, Joel Dewberry’s Kaleidoscope in Tangerine with Sketch in Tangerine, Anna Maria Horner Field Study Raindrops Poppies in Bronze with Sketch in Yellow and Martha Negley Farmington Collection Feathers in Aqua with Azalea Kona Cotton.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up with an itch… an itch that just had to be scratched. I’d been playing with an idea in my head about doing another swoon quilt but this time using a textured background.
I had been listening to one of my craftsy classes, Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks Ringle, and in the class Weeks talks about moving out of your comfort zone and using patterns, colours and textures that you normally wouldn’t. Basically she’s prompting you to re-evaluate your personal preferences when it comes to quilting.
I love the swoon quilt. My first one is one our bed and everyday I see it it makes me happy. I struck on the idea to take a pattern that I love and try to work with fabrics I normally wouldn’t; big patterns.
I’m never really sure how to use a big pattern to full effect. I struggle a little to find a harmonious balance with them. I want to show case the pattern but I also want the quilt to not be over powered by the pattern.
I was in my sewing room staring at my fabric stash when the idea struck to take a bold pattern, combine it with a solid and use a background fabric that I normally wouldn’t play with.
I selected Architextures Text print in Black as my background fabric because I thought the text would provide an interesting texture to the quilt and because I have been drawn to quilts that have a lot of white in them so I wanted to go the other way.
I then picked a bold pattern, Joel Dewberry’s Kaleidoscope in Tangerine, and paired it with a solid, Sketch in Tangerine (not strictly a solid but it was the only orange I had on hand).
The block went together so quickly and the minute it was done I knew I was in love and hooked. I had to make more.
I hit my stash and found fabrics that I loved but was too scared to use. (I even picked a brown palette because I strongly dislike brown, but I wanted to prove that I could use it in a way that I liked.)
Over a week or so I put 4 blocks together, then we went on holiday and 2013 turned into 2014.
When I got home from holidays I was busting to get working on the swoon again. One problem, my stash had run dry of big prints. Time to go shopping (it’s such a burden!).
I picked up some more big prints and got my hands on a selection of Kona cottons and went to work.
I knew when I started working on the quilt that I wanted the middle block to be a white star and I found the perfect bold print to go with it; Floating Mums in Taupe by Philip Jacobs. I just love the combination of the champagne colour with the purples. pinks, and rust colours. The white is actually Alison Glass’s Sun Print Text in white. I thought the use of a printed tone on tone would give the block a bit more drama.
The next block I worked on was Philip Jacobs Brassica Cabbages combined with a Regal Kona Cotton.
It’s at this point that I have a confession to make – I don’t like Kaffe Fassett fabrics. They’re really popular here in Canberra and I find them really garish (sorry!). However, when I did the Shimmering Triangles class in May 2013 there was a lady in the class using a cabbage fabric (Cabbage and Roses) by Kaffe that I just fell in love with.
When I decided to work with bold patterns I had it in my mind that I would get some of that cabbage print and use it as it symbolized the fear that I had around big prints. I couldn’t find any so I purchased this Philip Jacobs instead (which I love) and I’m so happy with how this block has turned out.
The latest block in the collection is also a Philip Jacobs print, Lavinia – Natural, and I’ve combined it with Cerise Kona Cotton. I adore this block. I love the print because it reminds my of the Chinese/Japanese flower tattoos (one of which I should get finished on my leg). Funnily enough this block is also HUBBY’s favourite.
I have two more blocks to go before I can join them altogether (I did toy with doing a 4 x 4 arrangement but I just love the 3 x 3 because it has a clear “center”). I suspect there’s going to be a lot of playing around with the final layout on this one in an attempt to make all those big patterns play nice with each other.
I find myself just sitting and staring at it as I try to work out what the final 2 blocks will be. I enjoy the deliberating over fabric combinations… it’s like a puzzle to solve.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the back, although I had an idea for something last night. I’m also not sure what to do with the quilting, although I do have a semi-idea for that forming, I just know that it’s going off to Raylee (of Sunflower Quilting) to get some of her custom quilting magic worked on it.
I promise to share the last 2 blocks with you before I send it off to be quilted (and hopefully I’ll have some better quality photos to share then too!). I’m just totally in love with this quilt and it’s so far out of my comfort zone it’s not funny, but I’m thinking that despite that it still works for me.