Saturday, January 18, 2020

Where Do You Get Your Design Inspiration? Appliqué Inspiration From Interior Design Fabrics

I'm still plugging away at my Spirit Song quilt top, albeit intermittently.  So far I have four of the twelve 16" blocks completely assembled:

Four 16 Inch Blocks Assembled, Eight More to Go
It's tedious piecing at this point because I'm matching up triangles with seams that don't nest.  Lots of unpicking and finessing to get those triangle points to match up to my satisfaction!  But meanwhile, my mind is on other projects, inspired by everything I see around me.  If you're one of those sensible people who has made a resolution not to start any new projects or buy any new fabrics in 2020, you should probably stop reading this RIGHT NOW.  You have been warned...

So this gorgeous photo landed in my email in-box the other day in a newsletter from the interior design fabric supplier F. Schumacher

Linen Print Roca Redonda in Carbon and Multi from F. Schumacher, Retail $248/yd
I love how fresh and current this 18th century French botanical pattern looks in this colorway, updated with shades of coral, emerald and turquoise against that carbon gray background.  Wouldn't this be a fun color palette for an historic or traditional appliqué quilt pattern?  I especially love that dusky background color.

Moda's Ombre Confetti in Soft Black, available on Etsy here (affiliate link)
Moda's Ombre Confetti in Soft Black, available from an Etsy seller here, would give me a similar effect as a background fabric.  The black and gold metallic dots are clustered most densely near the selvages of the fabric and are much more sparse in the lighter parts of the fabric, so I'd likely use the middle areas of the fabric for my appliqué backgrounds and then use the areas along the selvages for borders or in pieced blocks.  

If you're not a fan of the metallic dots and you want to stay truer to the background in the inspiration print, you could try Sketch in Charcoal from Timeless Treasures, available on Etsy here:

Sketch in Charcoal from Timeless Treasures, available on Etsy here

Then, for the applique elements themselves, there are all sorts of delicious possibilities.  I could see this Jade Green Batik Blender from Timeless Treasures for some of the leaves:
Jade Green Batik Blender from Timeless Treasures, available on Etsy here
Kaffe Fassett Collectives prints from Free Spirit Fabrics would also work well for the appliqué elements.  
Philip Jeffries for Kaffe Fassett Collectives Bundle, available on Etsy here

I love fussy-cutting for applique from the oversized prints from Kaffe Fassett.  An emerald and turquoise flower or feather can make for a striking appliquéd leaf.  So much fun!  Back to the inspiration fabric from F. Schumacher:

Appliqué Inspiration Fabric, Roca Redonda in Carbon and Multi from F. Schumacher
Although I like Kaffe Fassett Collectives for some of the green and turquoise elements, the other colors in this palette are a bit more subdued.  To recreate the corals, aquas, and ochre shades found in my inspiration fabric, I'd probably turn to prints from Anna Maria Horner's Conservatory collection for Free Spirit Fabrics:
Anna Maria Horner's Conservatory collection for Free Spirit, available on Etsy here
Of course, I wouldn't be using ALL prints for my appliqué   I'd want plenty of solids and tonal solids as well.  I feel like I'd need to mix in a handful of luscious shot cottons for this project:

Peppered Cottons from Pepper Cory, available on Etsy here
In the photo above of Pepper Cory's Peppered Cotton swatches, you can see that different color yarns are used for the warp and weft of shot cottons, which gives them their fabulous color-shifting properties.  They're much more interesting than plain solid fabrics, yet the colors aren't hyper-bright to the point of distraction.  The effect is subtle, especially in an appliqué composition where the shot cottons are combined with batiks, prints, and true solids.

Last but certainly not least, I adore the tiny detailed elements of the F. Schumacher inspiration print fabric, many of which would be too small to execute as applique.  Those delicate vines, tiny leaves, and other details would be exquisite if they were embroidered using Sue Spargo's beautiful threads from Wonderfil:

Sue Spargo's Eleganza Threads from Wonderfil, available on Etsy here
And, while we're at it, some of those flower centers would probably benefit from a smattering of seed beads here and there, so long as our quilt isn't going to be used on a bed and frequently laundered.  My pick, to keep the palette true to my inspiration fabric while adding just a subtle bling, would be these size 11/0 Czech glass seed beads from Etsy seller lanabeads2:

11/0 Czech Glass Seed Beads in Taupe, available on Etsy here
Have I inspired you to start a new project yet?  Here are a few patterns that would be beautiful in this color palette: 

Love Entwined, Historic Reproduction by Esther Aliu, pattern available here
Like the F. Schumacher inspiration fabric, Esther Aliu's masterpiece historic reproduction pattern "Love Entwined" was based on an 18th century antique quilt, so I'd expect it would look amazing rendered in the updated Carbon & Multi colorway of the linen drapery fabric.

However, this color palette would also be delightful for one of Sarah Fiehke's whimsical applique patterns such as her 2017 Down the Rabbit Hole BOM, for which patterns and instructions are available here:
Down the Rabbit Hole by Sarah Fielke, pattern available here
Ooh, and imagine using this color palette for Karen Kay Buckley's Majestic Mosaic appliqué quilt, pattern available on Amazon here:

Majestic Mosaic by Karen Kay Buckley, pattern available here
One last peek at our inspiration photo:

There are a lot of books and workshops out there on color theory, but you really can't go wrong if you choose your color palette based on a mix of colors that speaks to you immediately as soon as you see it.  Interior design photos, fine art paintings, travel photos -- all are terrific sources for selecting colors for your next quilt.  

Where do YOU find your best design inspiration?  Let me know in the comments.

Meanwhile, there are a bazillion coral-colored Birds in the Air blocks waiting for me to sew them together for my Spirit Song quilt...

Still In Progress, my Spirit Song Dress Code Quilt

Happy weekend and happy stitching, everyone!  I'm linking up today's post with:

·       Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts  
·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag

·       Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday Updates: Spirit Song Quilt, Frankenwhiggish Applique, a New Fabric Shop, and a Puppy Portrait

Hello and happy Monday!  The "little one" (my 6' tall 16-year-old son) is back to high school today, but I still have my 19-year-old son home for a few more days before he heads back to college.  Now that it's Epiphany and Christmas has officially ended, Bernie is taking down our Christmas trees today.  I've been sewing 4" Birds in the Air blocks together over the weekend for my Spirit Song quilt (whose color palette was inspired by the contemporary choir dress code colors for which I never have anything to wear).

First 16 inch Block Sewn Together for Spirit Song Quilt
I'll need twelve of those 16" blocks in a 3 x 4 layout for this throw-sized quilt.  This is a total procrastination project, by the way.  I have no intended use or recipient in mind for this quilt. But, since it's Design Wall Monday, here are all of the blocks (before I started sewing them together) laid out on my design wall:

192 Four Inch Blocks on the Wall, Final Layout
Colors are weird in that photo because I took it late at night and then tried to correct shadows and yellow cast from incandescent lighting, etc.  But that's the photo that I printed out to use as a placement guide as I'm assembling the blocks into a quilt top.  

I'll be working on my never-ending Frankenwhiggish Rose needle turned applique project this afternoon with my SouthSide Stitchers Bee amigas.  I feel like I've been making little green leaves FOREVER...

Hand Stitching for Today's Sewcializing Bee
Colors in that photo are weird, too.  Here's the first completed block:

Block One of Nine for Frankenwhiggish Rose Quilt
Colors are more accurate in this photo.  I completed the first block in its entirety to see how I liked it, and then started making eight more identical blocks assembly-line style: all of the stems, all of the large petals, all of the circle centers, and now I've been bogged down with putting sixteen leaves on each block for aeons...  I am so looking forward to finishing the leaves and moving on to the reverse appliquéd tulips, stuffed berries, and broderie perse rosebuds at the center of each block!

One of my quilting friends and I checked out a new local shop yesterday afternoon, and I came home with some goodies:

Shopping Treasures from a New Local Shop, Stash Charlotte
The store is called Stash (located in the Plaza Midwood area, for those of you who are fellow Charlotteans), and they used to sell only yarn and knitting supplies until they were bought by new owners who decided to add fabrics and Janome sewing machines.  I found out about them at the Charlotte Quilters' Guild, because Stash is one of our sponsors for our upcoming March quilt show (they've donated a Janome sewing machine as a raffle prize) and I've been meaning to check them out ever since.  It turns out that they are the ONLY non-chain quilt shop near Charlotte that is open on a Sunday afternoon, a crucial piece of information that I will be storing away for sure...

Stash is a very small shop and they have a lot more yarn than fabric...  BUT...  the fabric that they do carry is an interesting mix with an aesthetic that I like, and the manufacturer names on the bolts were kind of off-the-beaten-track, not the same lines that are carried by other quilt shops in our area.  I noticed a few Japanese fabric companies that I've only seen in online shops before, and OH MY GOODNESS, y'all -- they carry LIBERTY OF LONDON!!!  I have eyed those fabrics online, but with a skeptical eye due to the higher price point.  Now, having seen the fabrics in person, I'm officially a groupie.  

Liberty's Strawberry Thief Print on Tana Lawn
The crisp clarity of Liberty's highly detailed prints reminds me of the magnificent (and stratospherically expensive) screen prints from Scalamandre.  And the cotton lawn fabric that Liberty prints on has the softest hand and drapes like silk charmeuse.  I know that Liberty is a favorite with quilters and crafters, but I'm thinking of using it for a light-as-a-feather blouse, skirt, or dress -- maybe in Spirit Song colors so I'll finally have something to wear to church!  :-). Wouldn't this fabric be luscious for a blouse like this one from the Danish pattern designer Personal Pattern?  

Blouse 4253 from Personal Pattern, available here

You might have noticed some yarn in that photo of my shopping treasures, too, even though I have never even considered learning to knit.  I picked two of the thinnest, most interesting variegated wool yarns because I couldn't stop petting and squeezing them like I was that crazy lady in the "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" commercial!  I'm planning to experiment with them in my bobbin with decorative machine stitches, and if that doesn't work, I'll play with them in my serger loopers, and if THAT doesn't work, well, I might have to sign up for a knitting class at Stash!

I have one final picture to share with you before I wrap up this post.  I have to show you what one of our pastors surprised me with after church yesterday.  He had seen my Facebook post about losing our dog Otto to cancer just before Christmas, and he painted this for us from one of my photos:

Painted by Drew Goodson, Associate Pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC
I was so overwhelmed.  I had no idea that Pastor Drew was gifted with artistic talent in addition to his gifts for ministry.  I so appreciate the outpouring of love and compassion from my blog readers as well.  Thank you all so very much.

Well, once again I've lost track of time while writing a "quick blog post" and I'm on the verge of being late for my sewing bee!  

Linking up today's post with:
·       Slow Sunday Stitching at  
·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag
·       BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts  
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