Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BFF Setting

So, there's kind of a long story behind the idea for my setting for Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever stitcheries. Feel free to scroll to the end to see the final plan, and if you wonder how I came up with that idea, you can come back to the top and I'll tell you now. :-)

In the summer of 2012 I had two new English Paper Piecing projects in mind -- Texas Star, which is now well under way, and Botanic Roses. Botanic Roses was a reworking of this old UFO that I started almost ten years ago:


This quilt design was on the cover of an old issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting. Each block has 72 pieces! All are hand cut from templates and hand pieced. For me, the cutting was the worst part of that, but there was also a problem with the white-on-white background fabric, which was printed with gummy ink that was terrible for hand sewing. The quilt ground to a halt.

When I learned about English Paper Piecing, and I saw that you could buy these kite shapes precut, I wanted to revive the project, but with a more disciplined colour scheme. Botanic Roses was born. My idea was to interpret my favourite dishes as a quilt:


I thought this would be a good way to restrict the colour palette, but right from the start I had trouble showing all the detail in the rose. I just hated that clumsy hexagon in the middle of the block. I tried many variations:


I played with cutouts:


Finally I realized that the batik fabrics I bought for the project were too busy, and they would blend out all the tricky piecing, so that would just be a waste of time. The whole project went back on the shelf.

This summer, along came BFF, and I suddenly realized that the clumsy hexagon which gave me so much trouble on Botanic Roses, would be just right for the hexagon stitcheries:


It fits perfectly!

So, there you have it. Having seen the photos now, though, I am pretty sure that I will change the background from this pale green solid to something a little darker and with a slight pattern. I didn't want to detract from the blocks at all, but now I see that this doesn't do them justice. One of the threads I'm using is a cooler, jade green, and I'm thinking that may be a good background colour too. Now I have something to shop for again!

Ironically, some of the yellow fabrics that I bought for this quilt have the same gummy ink that set me back on the original version of this quilt almost ten years ago! I can't believe I made the same mistake again! Fortunately it is only here and there, so hopefully it will not be as bad.

And, Botanic Roses is still not dead, I have a new plan for that one too. But there is a fair bit to get done before that...

The Needle and Thread Network has not seen me in a while, so I am linking up with WIP Wednesday there. Happy stitching!




18 comments:

  1. Very interesting to read about your creative journey! Your new blocks look great and I can see why you wouldn't want to put the work into blocks with blendy fabric.

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    1. Thanks for reading it all, Audrey! Detailed work with blendy fabric, or in cross stitch with very similar threads, is a pet peeve of mine. So I couldn't do that!

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  2. Glad you had a happy ending. Your blocks are just wonderful.

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  3. I love it when a plan comes together like this. The beautiful rose china is a wonderful inspiration, but being able to execute the complexity of the roses with the very pastel colors would certainly have been a challenge. I always admire pastel quilts, but the few times I have attempted it, they have fallen flat. Not enough contrast somehow. This also keeps me from diving head first into Japanese taupes. They take more finesse than I have. Anyway, your blocks combining embroidery and patchwork just sing!

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    1. Thanks very much, Mary Ellen. I agree, the pastels are tricky. It certainly has been a learning experience to try to reproduce those roses! I'm hoping my next plan for them will work out better. But there are so many things to do before then! Unless they jump the queue, lol...

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  4. Love what you are doing here, think this is another stitchery I want to have a go at, so far only hexies and easy shapes have been tried. Wonder which edition of the patchwork magazine the pattern was in, might see if I can get a back copy

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! You do not really need to look for the old magazine, this pattern (the original with 72 pieces per block) is widely available. I noticed it again recently in Material Obsession 2, where there are two different quilts made with the same block. Happy quilting!

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  5. These are lovely you have wonderful stitching fingers and I love how your creativeness brought you to this great idea

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  6. I enjoyed hearing about the evolution of your blocks. To use the your stitcheries in the centers of your blocks is genius, they look wonderful !!

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  7. What an inspired idea! Your embroidery looks absolutely perfect set into the hexagon. The rich colours you have chosen for the outer petals of the hexie do a marvellous job of setting off the embroidery pieces. (You have given me an idea of what to do with some of my vintage embroidery!)

    I'm glad that you're not giving up on your Botanic Roses. They are too beautiful to forget about.

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    1. Thank you very much! I brought the threads to the store to match them with the fabrics, so I'm glad it shows. I will be interested to see your idea too!

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  8. Brilliant! It's a perfect match of concept and resource. I agree the background would be better darker and with a bit of pattern. It's going to look great. You are an inspiration.

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    1. Thank you very much, Jillian! I appreciate your comment, because inspiring others is certainly one of my goals. :)

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  9. Your hexagon stitcheries look great. Looking fwd to seeing what you will do one day with your Botanic Roses.

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    1. Thanks very much, Jenny. I think it will be a while, though!

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Happy stitching!

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