Showing posts with label Botanic Roses quilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Botanic Roses quilt. Show all posts

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!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mail Call

Are you familiar with "haul videos" on YouTube where people share the results of their shopping trips?  It kind of felt like that around here today, so here's my version!

I had all kinds of goodies in the mail today.  From Stitchin' Heaven, the foundation papers and instructions for Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star:

The people at Stitchin' Heaven are super nice.  I called them right at closing time because I always get the time zone in Texas wrong, but they very kindly stayed and answered all my questions, and then sent this out for me the next day.  I love their newsletter too!  Now that I am such a paper piecing fan I had to try this quilt.  It will be for my dad, but in different colours, which I still have to work out.  It will be a few months before I get started on this.

And for the other kind of paper piecing, the pieces for my Botanic Roses quilt arrived today from Paper Pieces:

I also ordered these huge 3" hexagons (6" across) for yet another project:

The 1/2" hexagons are beside them so you can see the scale.  The customer service from Paper Pieces has also been excellent.  They gave me the heavily discounted sale price on the large hexagons even though I placed the order before the sale started.  I think that is really admirable, and I am planning another order from them soon!

From Nordic Needle I received my perle cottons for Sedona Star:

I had a weird exchange with Nordic Needle this time, which I'm hoping was just an aberration, because they've always been good in the past.  These are Size 8 DMC perle cottons, which were actually finer than I expected.  They will probably be excellent for quilting, but I am considering ordering some of the heavier ones for the seam treatments and embroidery.  I really want something chunky that will show up well on the quilt.

And to top it all off, my issue of Inspirations 74 arrived today:

As you can imagine, I haven't had time to even open it up yet!  But, I think this will all keep me busy for a while!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Botanic Roses Quilt

As I mentioned yesterday, a new English Paper Pieced project is in the works.  It has been growing in my mind for several years now!  The idea started with this old UFO of mine:

This is a design that was on the cover of Australian Patchwork and Quilting several years ago.  The blocks are made up of what I now know are called "kite" shapes.  Each block is 18" across and has 72 pieces.  It was made by tracing the template for each piece, carefully cutting with a 1/4" seam allowance added, and then hand piecing in the usual way with a running stitch.  It was very slow and painstaking work!  I really hate piecing from templates, by machine or by hand - never again!  The project ground to a halt four or five years ago mainly because the white on white background fabric is printed with a gummy paint that is very difficult to hand sew.  I had wanted to hand quilt it too, and I realized that it would be impossible with that background fabric.

Just over a year ago I learned about English Paper Piecing and that it is possible to buy pre-cut paper pieces.  It was quite a revelation!  No more templates, no more worrying about seam allowances, what a relief!  I almost restarted the project right then, with plain white fabric for the background.

But, somehow I didn't want to do exactly the same thing that I had already been doing.  I felt that I hadn't been disciplined enough in my fabric choices and strayed from my original plan.  I wanted to narrow down the colour scheme.  In my mind, these blocks had always reminded me of roses.  One day I was looking at my favourite dishes, and I had an idea!

Botanic Roses by Portmeirion

I decided to reproduce the colours of the roses in the blocks.  And, I thought, why not add the leafy border from the plates around the whole quilt?  I wanted to keep it to a lap quilt though, so I also decided to shrink down the blocks to 12", which would require 2" kites, which were readily available. It seemed like a good plan.  But still not perfect!

I had a close look at the plates and thought about how to convey the impression of roses with the fabrics.  I noticed that the roses on the plates have a lot of detail in the middle, while the original quilt pattern is kind of blocky in the middle.  I realized that the English Paper Piecing technique would allow for smaller pieces and more detail, so I decided to subdivide the centre hexagon into smaller pieces like this:

The very centre will be a solid 1/2" hexagon, surrounded by 1/2" half hexagons, surrounded by modified kite pieces.  I can buy the first two, and the modified pieces will be easy to make by trimming the regular kite pieces.

The final piece of the puzzle was fabric choice.  I did not have enough of the right colours in my stash.  About a month ago I realized that it would be beautiful to do all the roses in batiks.  Another revelation!  I spent a considerable amount of time playing with various fabrics on the eQuilter design board.  They are great, you know, I find the colours are generally very accurate.  My one worry was that my fabric choices would result in a very low contrast colour scheme, and all the detailed piecing would be lost in the final quilt.

So, I took the lowest contrast set of fabrics from my cart (for the pale pink rose), printed them, cut them, and made a paper mock up of the final block to see how it would look:

It IS pretty low contrast, but you can still see the piecing.  And it will be fun to play around with different arrangements of the same fabrics, because each rose will be done two or three times.

Sold!  Now I am back to my usual routine of waiting for packages to arrive.  I have no pressure on myself to finish this project quickly.  I have found that English Paper Piecing is a great thing to do when I am unwinding in front of the tv, so I will save it for my quiet times.  Although, I do have the feeling that I am going to be extremely keen when the fabric arrives!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...