For those of you who are interested in the upcoming hand applique class I will teach at Prairie Queens Quilt Shop in San Jose this coming October, I thought you’d like to see it before it goes off to be quilted. The design is from the new Kansas City Star book by Blackbird Designs, A Cold Wind Blows, and is called “Frost on the Ferns”. (http://pickledish.kcstar.com/?q=taxonomy/term/12)
The inspiration for my fabric selections came from a piece of raspberry french toile that my friend and machine quilter extraordinaire, Ronda Beyer, gave me. I used it for the vase, the stars, and some of the leaves. I happened to have the butter and raspberry dot background fabric in my stash (score!)…and with a short trip to my local quilt shop for a few additional raspberry fabrics and I was ready to start stitching.
Creme Framboise (“Frost on the Ferns” renamed) is packed up and is being sent off to Ronda to do her magic. I cannot wait to see how she quilts it. She never ceases to amaze me (and the quilting world as well) with her talent.
I’ve been getting questions lately from some of my students about how I approach color selection for my quilts. I wish there was an easy answer. Most of the time I’m inspired by a particular piece of fabric that I see as primary to the quilt…or it could even be a fabric that never quite makes it into the quilt but has great color combinations. Other times I want the quilt to have a particular time period feel so I select fabrics that represent that period. There is no set rule where my whims take me.
I feel strongly that most quilt patterns can be done in just about any fabric style; you just need to think a little outside the box. This quilt would have been equally as interesting if it was done in all batiks on a black backround, sweet 30s prints on a polk-dot, or even reproductions on muslin. But, I have always found that I need to *love* the colors of the quilt in order to put in the time into making it. That’s why I am also an advocate of purchasing fabric that you *love* when you see it. And, yes, I purchase big pieces; I hate running short. So, rather than finding a quilt pattern first and then going shopping…I wait for the pattern to come around that fits the fabric I already have. I then purchase whatever supporting fabrics I need to complete the project. It just works better for me.
But suppose you don’t have a stash half the amount of fabric of a normal quilt shop like some of do…well, then you should always begin with something you absolutely love and build from there. Assemble some bolts of fabrics and then stand back…at least 10 feet…look at your fabrics from a distance. Do the fabrics all appears the same in scale or color? Do they harmonize even though they aren’t exactly the same shade of red? I often use this “stand back” technique when selecting fabrics off the shelf. I seems to be easier for me to see what works, what’s missing, and what seems like a total foreigner. An employee of that late, great, quilt shop “In the Beginning” once told me that not all the fabrics can be leaders in a quilt. Some have to be supportive and a little quiet.
If you have any words of wisdom about how you approach fabric selections, please leave a comment and let us know what inspires you.
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