Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Applique Project No. 3

I am making Kim Mclean's Flower Garden Quilt.  This is the quilt that Kim taught at our Workshop this time last year, with Kim, Kaffe and Brandon.  So twelve months after everyone else has started the quilt, it seemed like the right time for me to start.

Here is what Kim's quilt looks like.  She has used all Kaffe Fasset, Brandon Mably or Phillip Jacob's fabrics from Rowan.

I love the way Kim uses these fabrics, it has become her quilt signature. You should add Kim's blog to your list, and watch her newest quilt "Pandemonium Quilt" coming together.  This one looks great fun, but a lot of applique!!  Kim's blog has been added to our list.  

So Flower Garden is officially my Applique Project No.3 for the year.  I started sewing it this year, so it is a 2012 project.  The fabric collecting has been going on for a few months before I started (and needless to say is continuing daily).

I have often been asked how I go about working out a colour scheme, and then how I choose the fabrics for an applique project.  So I thought I would remember to take photos of this quilt at it's various stages.

My first decision was not to make the quilt in "Kaffe's" fabrics.   Not because it isn't beautiful in those fabrics, but as a challenge to me.  Also, I think at some stage I will make another of Kim Mclean quilt patterns in Kaffe's fabrics further down the track.  So I needed a colour theme and a fabric theme.

Colour Theme

I'm going through a rich saturated, colour phase at the moment (and have been rather surprised that quite a bit of my palette is turning up in this season's winter clothing, never knew I was so tuned in with the fashion world).  I also had a large chunk of cream fabric with a fine gold and grey stripe pattern, that seemed perfect for this colour scheme.

I love that slimy acid gold, plums and pinks.  I added some chocolate browns and blacks to bed the colours down.  It needed a spark so I put in bright turquoisey teal.  I ransacked all my fabrics from home and brought them into the shop on a day when we were closed over Christmas, I needed the big table.  This is my first "approved" selection of fabrics, mainly based on their colour.  I chose a nineteenth century dark green fabric to be the stems in every block.  This would act as a controller, to stop the quilt getting too scrappy. 


Fabric Theme

Not every fabric in my stash, that met the colour test, would be suitable for this quilt.  Looking at the pattern, the applique pieces are quite large.  Much larger than I am used to working with when making an reproduction antique applique, for example my Phebe Quilt (Project No. 2).  Therefore scale became very important.  I decided that the fabrics would be eclectic in their genre.  Orientals, reproductions and brights could all play together.  Scale and pattern were the important issue.

These are two of the first blocks I completed.

Again, I am often asked how do you balance colour in a project like this.  You don't want all the gold blocks to be in one corner.  The answer is a big table. 

Once a have a few blocks made, I lay them out on the table as they will be positioned in the final quilt.   I like needle turn applique with freezer paper, so I came with the freezer paper shapes already cut and labeled.  Then lay out about six new blocks at a time (I find making up more than that number of blocks at a time can led to colour problems).

Once I am happy with the fabrics for a block, that it works within the block itself, and is sitting happily with its neighbours, I iron the freezer paper shapes on to the fabric.  I can then just pack everything up and take it home to sew. 


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