Aug 10 11
These pictures really don’t do this top justice; the colors are so luscious and rich that it’s been a very stimulating experience to work on it. I started this quilt back in the first week of June when I was in North Carolina. I have a large fusing surface (2 hollow doors covered w/batting/fabric that lie on top of a queen size bed) and it’s a wonderful set up to create applique scenes improvisationally. I never have a drawing or a pattern or a “plan” when I start a new quilt like this. Usually, it’s based on a feeling I want to convey or a notion of a few colors I’d like to put together. The hard part is that I always have to leave the project until it’s far enough along that I can begin fusing objects into place. (This is because you can’t pick it up until all the major “characters” have been fused.) When I left that first week in June, this is what things looked like:
I had fused a few flowers together and just laid them on the surface along with one swirl. This gave me the sense of a color scheme and also the notion that I wanted flowing, curving movement. When I have to leave a project like this for a couple of weeks, I feel kind of sad, like I’m anticipating missing it, so I often take a photo like this so I can think about it while I’m gone and maybe come up with more ideas about it. When I got back to NC, I added more flowers and swirls and it looked like this:
Again, nothing is fused here; I was just going for a general layout/scheme. You can see that I’d thrown in more details as well, like some leaves. Everything on this top has been cut with my Sizzix machine except for the swirls, and because there are many different leaf shape dies, there are always many options for leaves. I went with the teardrops because they add to that sense of movement and also to that sense of whimsy and fantasy. Because the flowers aren’t really meant to represent real flowers, taking a little liberty with the leaves made a lot of sense to me.
This quilt actually began by cutting up tons of blue/purple/violet scraps into petals of all different sizes. I’ve really come to appreciate how much punch you can add to a quilt by throwing in details. So, I started cutting up more scraps in contrasting colors to add those details. I’d grab a wad of scraps that had similar cutout areas like these:
and if you touch an iron to it for 3 seconds, they flatten out so you can stack em up high and cut a ton of shapes from those scraps in one crank of the machine. So, you can dress up a plain petal by adding a yellow highlight:
…and then if you fuse a bunch of those petals together, you get a nice flower like this:
Now I really like that flower, but sometimes you want even more detail, so you end up slicing up more scraps and adding to it:
Here’s a similar type of arrangement, but I started with a different baseline petal and color scheme:
(I think you understand how addictive this can be!) Some of the flowers are kind of big, like this guy:
…or this guy:
…and others are relatively small and simple, like this little guy:
Because of that, parts of the top are more simple and somewhat quieter:
…while other parts are much busier and louder, almost riotous:
There is a tremendous amount of thread work that I’ll need to add to this (both free motion machine embroidery and trapunto) before it ever makes its way into the final quilt sandwich, so I’m just getting going on this baby. (And don’t forget, I’m still plugging away on my tulip quilt.) In the meantime, though, all these colors sure do make me happy!