OK, totally cheesy title, but I couldn't quiet resist. Sue me. But the quilt is certainly not cheesy. I think it's more annatto ... "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg."
Pattern: Kaffe Fassett's Parade from Quilts in the Sun
Fabric: Amy Butler's Belle plus Kaffe's shot cotton for the sashing
This is pure stash-busting goodness; nothing new was purchased in the making of this quilt! Two weekends ago I was digging around my AB fabrics, musing about a patchwork tote bag, when this quilt just demanded to be made. Picked the fabrics quickly and started working last Monday. Thought I'd include the following photos because I know I like to get a peek into other people's creative process. This sounds a little silly after saying that, but I've struggled with sharing my own process on this blog. We all have our ways and I generally don't ask for input while I'm working. I often don't show my interim renditions even to family because, to be honest, I'm not taking votes. I like to let things percolate in a vacuum. So many self-deprecating places I could go with the vacuum/brain metaphor, but basically, I don't want to be influenced while I'm creating. And after, well, it's done so nothing to be gained from sharing options that were dismissed. Yep, I HATED group projects in school and still avoid committees like the plague. I'm not being at all snarky or sarcastic when I say I'm very thankful that many people are good in groups so I don't have to be.
Anyway, my creative process generally starts small with me kneeling on the floor with a couple of fabrics placed to one side while I dig for more. My fabric
hiding place storage is in the armoire on the right. When the mood is right ideas start flowing and soon I'm tossing fabrics left and right to test the combinations. I often start "safe", then go looking for interesting outliers that will move it beyond matchy-matchy. I'm not so perverse that I eschew coordinating fabrics, but one goal is to keep it from feeling so balanced that it's bland. This quilt is going on our bed and that room needs some good, strong colors to dominate the room.
My fabric is sorted by general vibe and color, so I didn't realize the fabrics I ended up with were almost all from Amy's Belle group until I opened the fabric and started cutting. I'm perfectly willing to mix and match designers and lines, but this one just worked this way. I wanted big, loud, dramatic prints, very little white, minimal negative space, and this strong color mix of orange, blue, chartreuse and olive. That orange peacock fabric framed by a striped fabric was used in the book as the center of another pattern, but I wanted to use the Parade pattern because I've been thinking about a quilt with large prints and solid sashing, so I combined the two. Tested several colors of Kaffe's shot cotton, but this one took the lead immediately. What's interesting is that the cinnamon color is not actually matched in a single one of the fabrics I ended up using, but I think it holds the orangey, brighter fabrics together with the darker, earthier tones. Not too dark, not too light ... just right. I am well aware this is not a palette to everyone's taste, but boy is makes me happy.
Started cutting last Monday morning. Took a little planning because the pattern calls for a bunch of 5/8ths cuts and I only had 1/2 yard or less of most fabrics. Analyzed the pattern to get a feel for the weighting of the prints - how many big and small blocks of each fabric are used. Because I used more fabrics I was on my own from there, so after getting the measurements I didn't use the pattern again. By the end of the week I had this first version:
When we rearranged the living room I lost my mantel-as-design-wall, but it turns out I like this set up even better. Laundry pins clip the batting to the tops of the window cornices to make a workable, if temporary, quilt design wall. I've said this before, but it really is so much easier to design vertically.
I was pretty set on this layout, even to the point of taking it down in sewing order, but the next morning I looked at this photo and just didn't like the blue geometric pattern just below the right corner of the center medallion. It technically has the right colors and even had the cinnamon of the sashing, but it just stuck out as too sharp to me. Once I took it out, it's sister (bottom row, second from right) had to go too. Went back to my rejects and decided to jack up the yellow side of things by adding the blue/yellow eyelash fabric. For the other new blocks I sorted through my remaining scraps to pull in certain colors for balance. Rather than struggle to keep the layout with so many color changes I started over. You easily can see some of the additions in the photo below because I didn't add the sashing until I was sure about the changes. Took this photo at the end of the night then slept on it.
This is an example of a point when I don't ask for input, even from family. The fabric I took out was safe and the quilt would have been just fine with it. The one I put in is kind of loud and probably doesn't appeal to many people, but I like it. I wanted to brighten the overall design and provide a little tonic to the bigger motifs. Photographs flatten colors, but in person everything moves and blends nicely. In the morning I still liked it, so I cut more sashing and started joining the blocks.
Finished the quilt top over the weekend (OK, 12:15 AM on Monday) but I'm not ready for quilting yet. This baby is large - about 90" x 90", so I'm having to piece the back from several fabrics. The pattern's worked out but I'm still cutting and sewing. Planning simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting with some free-motion in the middle.
When I have the free-motion foot on the machine I'll quilt the story block (upper right) I missed on the Funky Monkey quilt, but otherwise it's done. The chenille-it behaved as advertised and after washing fluffed up nicely. This is the third time I've tried to photograph this. Finally found some good spots for quilts that are big enough with bright, indirect light. I have to stand tiptoe on the edge of our squishy mattress to get the best angle, so if I fall and crack my knees it will be in the service of this blog.
Of course I still have my helpers, who waited until I was perfectly situated on a step stool before running in from stage right like sword fighters in a Shakespearean comedy to literally tear up the scenery.
Here's a quick update on a few other active projects:
Yo yo's are multiplying like tribbles (if only!) ...
Blocks are tumbling...
The geraniums are finally potted ...
Those poor geraniums sat neglected in nursery pots for months and months. Man those plants are tough! There's "limelight" licorice in there with them that will tumble down the sides in a few months. I've been grooving on the lime/chartreuse and red combo every time I go out the door.
Orchid fever has struck again! The tell me this guy, paphiopedilum pinocchio, is ever-blooming. Bought him back in February with one bloom and the other developed a week or two later. Apparently when the oldest one drops another will come on and you can already see another bud on the right stem.
The best light for it is also in the highest traffic spot in our house, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.