December 13, 2018

Using large-scale print fabrics

I have the good fortune of having received a large supply of African and some South Asian fabrics from two different sets of friends, both of whom had collected fabric over years of travels; photos of the collections are here and here. Beyond making return gifts for these friends, I hadn't used the fabrics. But last week I took a great class on using large-scale fabric from Bill Kerr, of Modern Quilt Studio, and I brought along these fabrics as well as some large-scale domestic prints.  Most people in the class worked on a version of Modern Quilt Studios "Follow the Leader" pattern, but we were encouraged to work on whatever we liked, so I chose a pattern by Blair Stocker that I've had my eye on:
"Leaving the Nest" by Blair Stocker, Wise Craft Quilts

I reduced the size the the triangles from 12" (long bottom edge) to 9" and used a variety of solid colors for the background instead of all white. When choosing the solids for each block, I aimed for some contrast between them, in order to minimize the dominance of the parallelogram shape between the print triangles. I used hand-dyed green fabrics that I had on hand, but also added in a couple of commercial solids in blue--fabric that I bought when I took my first class with Bill and Weeks in 2005!  I made a crib-size quilt, 36x55." I'll probably quilt it with horizontal lines, and will use one or more of the African fabrics for the binding. 

I made the flying geese blocks with a method that starts with one large rectangle (the print) and two squares (the solids). When trimmed, this results in 4 half-square triangles left over for each block, 2 solids and 2 prints.  The photo at the top of this post is a photo of the leftover print triangles. I've now started playing around with another quilt top made of just these print triangles. I tried adding in some scattered solid triangles, but I find myself liking the "hot mess" of all the print triangles.

Each of the 2-triangle squares is 4x4"; these are not sewn together yet. There will be a lot more moving around as I make more squares to have enough for a quilt. (The squares above would sew up into a piece only 21x28, so I have a ways to go.)

It is a great pleasure to spend time lining one fabric up with another, with so many choices possible. Not every pairing works, but many do--or they will when put together into a larger mosaic.  To show you some of the possible pairings, I chose four of my favorite African fabrics, and paired each of those with four other fabrics. In the photo on the left, the favorites are positioned so that they make a large on-point square in the middle of the four small blocks. On the right, they're positioned to all be in the bottom right corner. To better see the pairings, click on each photo to enlarge. In some there is a strong contrast between the two fabrics, creating a clear edge between them on the seam. In others the fabrics are closer in color and/or pattern and the contrast is less vivid. But if, when I tried out a pair, they were so close that they looked like they could be part of one pattern, I didn't use that pair. 

Four fabrics, each paired with four other fabrics (4 same triangles positioned in a central on-point square)

Here the 4 same fabrics are position in the bottom right of each pair.

I will be interested to see how this one turns out. . .

1 comment:

  1. I did a large scale print quilt called Mishegoss. I'll email a pic. It now lives in my brother's apartment in DC. It was fun to make so I know how much fun you had!!!