First attempts at fabric design

Driftwood cushion

I am between quilting projects at the moment so while waiting for inspiration I have been having a go at designing my own fabrics and was excited to receive the first samples of my work last week from Spoonflower. I was really happy with how they turned out. They were even better than I was expecting because being my first attempt at creating repeat patterns it took quite a lot of trial and error to get the designs as I wanted them but I enjoyed the process and can’t wait to try some more ideas.

fabric samples from Spoonflower

I have used my quilt designs, drawings and photographs for inspiration for the fabrics. The gecko fabric is from one of my appliqué designs, and the flowers from drawings and watercolour sketches of periwinkle flowers that grow in our garden.

Inspiration for my periwinkle designs

The Driftwood fabric started off as a photo that I took of some driftwood on the local beach and then the image was mirrored and then mirrored again so that I could use it for a repeat design. I made this up into a cushion and I think it would look really great with outdoor furniture or very elegant on a plain cream, burgundy or back sofa or arm chair.

Driftwood cushion on chair

 

Memory Star – 4 patch block

I don’t often do any traditional patchwork piecing these days but I do still enjoy it when I do. I’m teaching a nine block sampler quilt course at the moment and wanted to refresh my memory and make a new class sample so last weekend I made this Memory Star block.

Memory Star Block

 

 

This block has always been one of my favourites and I raided my stash of batiks to make it up in these lovely autumnal colours of burgundy, tan and greens.

The block is a good revision of techniques that we’ve already covered in class already. Half square triangles and flying geese blocks but in smaller sizes so requiring accurate cutting and piecing.

Half square triangles for the corner blocks.

Half square triangles for the corner blocks.

Half square triangles for the corner blocks.

Flying geese blocks for the spokes of the star.

Flying Geese blocks

Careful pressing and accurate stitching make the blocks easy to put together.

Careful pressing and interlocking seams make it easier to piece accurately.

Careful pressing and interlocking seams make it easier to piece accurately.

It’s not a difficult block but it does need some care when putting it all together and making sure all the half square triangles are going the correct way. It’s easy to make mistakes!

It's easy to make a mistake when putting it all together!

It’s easy to make a mistake when putting it all together!

The same block made in a different colour scheme combining some of my hand dyed fabric, batiks and a print.

Memory Star in grey and purple

English Paper Piecing

Back in Brunei again, back to the sewing room and making another version of a hornbill wall hanging that I sold just before Christmas.

A few days ago, Traci, one of my Facebook friends asked if anyone did English paper piecing and it reminded me of the unfinished ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ quilt that I probably started over thirty years ago. She was keen to see a picture of it so I dug it out of the cupboard so that I could photograph it.

Grandmothers-flower-garden-

In my opinion the top looks better in the photo than it does in real life but I was surprised at how enthusiastic people were about it and everyone who commented said I should finish it. When I look at it, I see the fabrics and they are so different from the batiks and hand dyes which I love to work with now. I don’t like a lot of the colours and patterns and some of the fabrics aren’t even 100% cotton. Back then, however long ago it was that I started it, there were no shops selling the wonderful quilting fabrics that you get now, at least there weren’t where I lived in England. Quite a lot of the fabrics in the top are ones that I bought for dress making and then others were bought whilst traveling and living in various places overseas.

Floral fabric bought in Morocco many years ago

Floral fabric bought in Morocco many years ago

Many of the blocks bring back memories of living in Morocco and first time round in Brunei, travels to California, Malaysia and Indonesia.

This was dress making fabric bought in California and I remember making a lovely Vogue patterns full circle skirt and top out of this.

This was dress making fabric bought in California and I remember making a lovely Vogue patterns full circle skirt and top out of this.

 As time went by I started buying fabrics specifically for quilting and so these fabrics have also found their way into the quilt, so it really is a patchwork quilt in the true sense of the word.

This fabric came from the Philippines

This fabric came from the Philippines

The problem with trying to finish it off now is adding more blocks that are in keeping with the original ones, but then maybe that doesn’t really matter as it is already such a mixture. Another New Year’s resolution:  to finish this top, my other is to try making some of my quilts on a larger scale.

My original template set from all those years ago

My original template set from all those years ago

Of course the cats are attracted by the bright colours and it didn’t take Millie long to spot it and make herself comfortable.

Millie quick to choose her spot.

Millie quick to choose her spot.