Design wall update no.3

Aha! New things on the design wall. Actually, the whole design wall is covered at the moment, so I have had to establish a secondary design wall for some extra projects. The official wall is taken up at the moment with 13 vertical rows for a quilt in Japanese indigo fabrics with a touch of red. I have had these indigo fabrics in my stash for at least fifteen years, I bought them at a quilt shop in Brielle in South Holland called the Quiltnaald (the Quilting Needle) that unfortunately no longer exists. The shop was establishing a corner for exotic fabrics, and their first delivery was these yummy prints in indigo and taupe from Japan. I bought a number of fat eighth bundles and added them to my stash, together with a plain Japanese red. I have taken them out and fondled them through the years, but had never found the right pattern to make me feel like slicing into them with my rotary cutter: it had to be something Japanese in feel, and that would let the fabrics come into their own. A year or so ago I added a red patterned with cherry blossoms, that I saw on E-quilter, to the pile of ‘future Japanese quilt’. And then I saw Harmony Flower by Joanie Holton and Melanie Greseth in Quilters Newsletter. I immediately saw the quilt in my Japanese fabrics…

The sewn together columns on the design wall

The sewn together columns on the design wall. The colours are a bit bleached out in this photo

The original quilt was too small for me, so I have extended the number of rows and  patches to make a sizeable lap quilt.  I cut merrily into my stash and then spent a couple of days laying out all the patches on the table in my studio so that the different patterns were evenly distributed across the quilt, and no two patches the same adjacent. I decided to make the linking patches from both types of red: 2/3rds patterned and 1/3rd plain. I also determined their position carefully, so that there is a maximum of five adjacent red patches from the same fabric in any direction.  In keeping with the Japanese theme, there is an uneven number or rows and columns and I have tried to avoid symmetry. Last weekend I sewed the vertical columns together and hung them on the design wall. Each row has a label pinned to the first patch so that they don’t get out of order. I haven’t pressed the columns yet, as I wanted to check that the distribution was correct first. So this weekend I will be pressing and sewing.

A close up of the indigo’s shows a bit of the detail of the fabrics. I’ll put a narrow red border round the top when I have finished piecing the rows, and also plan to use red binding, perhaps a combination of patterned and plain. I have a couple or noren panels that were brought back from Japan for me by my husband from a business trip (yay!), and I think I will incorporate one of them in the backing, so that the back also has some interest.

Japan detail

A detail of some of the indigo fabrics, showing how rich the colours are

Further, on the temporary wall some Jelly Roll strips: I still have a cushion insert without a cover, so am making a simple patchwork form Jelly Roll leftovers to make the cover. The pattern is a connector block from Pam and Nicky Lintott’s book Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts. Cut the pieces today and will start sewing as soon as I’m done with this blog post. Further updates as soon as there is something new to see!

The 'connector block' Jelly Roll strips on the design wall

The ‘connector block’ Jelly Roll strips on the design wall

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