Thursday, February 20, 2014

all the flowers

Inspiration can come at the wildest times.  Be ready to catch it!

This December our family went to see the Nutcracker ballet.   During the Waltz of the Flowers scene my heart fairly floated away watching all the colors swirl about.  The flower dancers had vivid emerald green bodices paired with skirts in a contrasting hue.  Amongst an emerald and bright pink set, the flowers waltzed:  pale blue, magenta, butter yellow, turquoise, soft pink, vivid blue.  I drank it in and in and in.  One giddy glance at my mom and she knew what I was thinking.  A quilt!

4567sm

Arriving home late that night, I tucked the littles into bed and scurried to my fabrics, anxious to capture those colors before they faded!  Since photography is not allowed in the theater and the ballet has been unable to pass along a photograph of their own, this little set of fabrics was absolutely key to saving the thought.

Background fabrics for Gathering Flowers

Next step - gather up fabrics.  I didn't have near enough emerald green in my stash, and many flower colors (like soft, true blue and bold blue) were seriously lacking.  Focusing on the greens, I found 4 Kona cottons and some prints to suit.  From top, the Konas are Willow, Leprechaun, Clover and Kale.  I purposely chose a mix of warmer and cooler emeralds to keep things interesting.  The prints are Pearl Bracelets Chard, Botanics Metallic Fern and Botanics Stripe Fern on left; and True Colors Sealing Wax plus an unknown polka dot on right.

my Kona solids for Gathering Flowers quilt

These solids represent the flower colors in my quilt.  From left they are Konas Cyan, Cerise, Ocean, Lake, Buttercup, Pomegranate, Pansy, Med. Pink, and Red.  Each solid becomes petal tips in the Gathering Flowers quilt pattern by Anna Maria Horner, which I'm using for my Waltz of the Flowers quilt.  It will be a twin-sized bed quilt for my niece!

Flower Waltz fabrics

Because I needed to source fabrics anyways, I worked with some fabric stores to create custom bundles. The bundles at Intrepid Thread are ready now and some from Mad About Patchwork in Canada will be available soon.

a bundle at Intrepid Thread

Each bundle has several emerald prints and a print fabric for every flower color.  You can buy them with or without solids to match here at Intrepid Thread.

gathering flowers blocks

Now months later, I'm finally stocked with all the right fabrics and bits of time to make my Waltz of the Flowers quilt.  The Gathering Flowers pattern is a bunch of template cutting and lots of curved piecing, but it's been coming together easier than I thought it might.

awaiting...

In fact, if I leave a flower arranged temptingly by my sewing machine, it tends to get sewn up in bits and snatches within 24 hours. I really don't have time to get cozy with my machine these days.  I've been doing lots of writing instead.

makeshift design wall

Over the weekend I was thumbing through a quilting book that said I ought to put up a design wall whatever way I can.  Just make do!  Don't wait for the perfect set up.  I needed to hear that.  Now I've duct taped batting around (2) 4' x 8' foam insulation sheets. They're lightweight and easy to move.  I'm planning to sort of juggle them around the house for space and better lighting.  Today I have one leaning against a bookshelf in my sewing space.  It's so fun to enjoy and share what I have in progress this way.

And now... I do believe a flower is calling.  There are some minutes left before dinner prep begins!

33 comments:

  1. Lovely! Looking at your work lately I have the feeling you have reached a whole new level with your work. Curious if it feels like that to you?

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    1. Thanks so much for saying so! I didn't respond right away, because I feel kind of shy about it. But, yes, I think I have grown a lot in the past few years from teaching/designing classes. I notice that I do my best work for classes. The drive to go above and beyond with my students definitely motivates me! I don't know yet how to characterize my style or how I've grown, but I guess I sense it too.

      You are a sweetie!

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  2. It is hard to come by truly Emerald fabrics, I have very little in my stash too. Your quilt is looking wonderful and those flowers really do pop. When done, I imagine it will look like a field of wildflowers with "grass" underneath. Great!!

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  3. Such a beautiful idea for a quilt! Those first blocks look gorgeous.

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  4. love how you share the process with us. i would never think of this pattern for you but it is looking totally stitched in color already!

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  5. Oh! I cannot wait to see the finished quilt!! Beautiful start!! And you may have just inspired me (again) to make this quilt! ;-)

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    1. It's nice to follow a pattern sometimes. I'm enjoying the straightforward process!

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  6. I love the Nutcracker. I can see why it inspired you. Your flowers and the colors are breathtaking. Spring can't come soon enough for this New England resident!

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  7. THAT is going to go viral. It's gorgeous and your stash is so awesome!!!!

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  8. Good for you setting up your design wall! You will be thanking yourself over and over again. Love the flowers...

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  9. Oh I LOVE the scrappy emerald green background! Green always gets me, it's my favourite colour, and seeing it like this, with the beautiful bright flowers on it, is just wonderful! I can't wait to see it when it's all put together! :^)

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  10. You always get it so right! I wasn't sure about the blocks, but then your photo of the 4 together looks so fabulous! I love the inspiration too. It's nice to hear about that 'ah ha' moment :)

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  11. The quilt is going to be amazing xx

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  12. this is so beautiful Rachel. I am loving your work at the moment and your style of blogging. Thanks for sharing with us xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Deborah! What a lovely compliment.

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  13. Love those flowers ~ the one that isn't sewn together made me think of pie ~ a flower pie ~ really sweet (no pun intended)!

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  14. Very pretty!! The purple is my favorite. :)

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    1. Yes, I like the purple too. I probably didn't have to be so monochromatic about my color choices, because the other colors are what is drawing me to the purple.

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  15. Wow! I cannot wait to see the finished awesomeness that is going to be this quilt

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  16. This is so pretty and I love the emerald green!

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  17. these are so lovely, Rachel! I love how you treat these flowers, dainty and bold.

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  18. I love the costumes from that dance at our local ballet company, too, but never thought of putting them in a quilt. Did you check your ballet company's FB page? That's where I always get photos from our company from (for my scrapbook).

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  19. Beautiful! A great reminder to keep our eyes open to all around us for inspiring colours and combinations. Love the perfect pairing of colours and pattern! Just stunning!

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  20. Those are really looking beautiful. Can't wait to see the completed quilt.

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  21. Swooning over those flower blocks! Always adore your choice of fabrics and I can't wait to see it finished!

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  22. Beautiful! Julie put together a nice bundle. : )

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  23. Beautiful, they look like twirling dresses from a viewpoint above.

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  24. Wowowowow! Just.so.pretty! Ditto on the twirling skirts! xx

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  25. I just love the flower blocks. I tend to shy away from curved stitching.

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