The floor and table in my work room both now seem to be covered with lots of tiny snipings of painted papers, I was trying to be reasonably tidy and mindful when I swept up the cut papers, however since Bernard sprawled himself out on the work table and knocked loads on to the floor then that plan has gone right out the window…..the snipings stick to my socks and then I find I’m traipsing them down the stairs…when my boyfriend came home from work I tried to explain the paper mess wasn’t my fault, but was all Bernard’s doing …nothing was said, but an eyebrow was raised so I got the hoover out while the kettle was on……..
It’s been years since I’ve collaged and I’ve found it’s been really helpful in planning out my patchwork designs….cutting out the little squares and triangles and arranging them out in print suddenly seems to create new and different patchwork ideas that I wasn’t even considering before.
In the last couple of posts about painting papers I’ve mentioned Phoebe Wahl as an influence, her collages are just gorgeous and rich and full of detail. he way she captures the look and feel of textiles whether it’s knitting or a nice comfy quilt is just perfect. Several times I’d seen on her blog and Instagram page how she paints up pages and then cuts out shapes to use on top of her illustrations and I thought that painting up some of my own papers might help me in planning out my patchwork…..and you know, I think it’s been one of the best ideas I’ve had for a long time.
Painting the papers allowed me to stop thinking about the patchwork for awhile (I felt I was going round in circles regarding the design) and was finding it really hard to imagine the finished patchwork, even when colouring the blocks with colouring pencils something wasn’t working……
….but a few days away from trying to concentrate on designs and instead spend the time listening to nice music (favourites include Vashti Bunyan, Emmylou Harris, The Webb Sisters and Kate Rusby…..and Kate Bush is never very far away from my CD player) and really just play with paints and making little motifs and patterns has really helped me both relax and enjoy again designing the patchwork.
Having the papers all painted and decorated up to look like fabric has helped so much…( if I’d thought about it then I would have reproduced some of the fabrics that I already have…..but hey ho…the technique has worked and most of the colours if not the prints are similar to fabric colours I’ll be using)…….see this was another problem which I haven’t even gone into yet….
If I didn’t know what the patchwork was going to look like then how could I start to order fabric. I wasn’t sure if I’d be using sashing so would I need fabric for that, (if so plain or patterned)…..really the only fabric I could be sure about was the backing, but then I kept changing my mind about that…..as for the fabrics to be used on the front I finally decided to just trawl through a whole array of shops and then pin any fabric that I particularly liked.
Once I’d done that I was able to go through the list and highlight any favourites and see which complimented fabrics I already have which I could use……..eventually I was able to whittle down my choices to about 20. Making pinterest boards helped me no end in deciding my final choices.
I did have to get some advice from one of Peggy and Pearl’s aunties (Awesome Ally who is the best barista ever, who I made the almond biscuits for last year…..)….I know the quilts are meant to be a surprise but I wanted it to be a nice one not a “ew” one so asked about motifs and colours and she said “stars…..stars are good and not pink…” it’s not a lot to go on but suddenly the designs that weren’t stars could go out the window and I was able to focus more on designs that used them…..
Anyway with a clearer idea of what patchwork shapes to play with, I started using the painted papers and then the patchwork seemed to wake up and become more lively……even designs I’d originally tried but had felt weren’t working just looked completely different once pattern was introduced…….
Some ideas for patchwork I intend to come back to another time but for now I’m focusing on star blocks…….
Not pink…okay, well I don’t have heaps and heaps of it in my stash…..I tend to use reproduction and vintage looking fabrics in my patchwork, I like that “ole timey” effect they give and prefer to use these fabrics when sewing patchwork….
(My lovely friend Sylvia gave me a big stash of vintage fabrics a few years ago so I’m lucky enough to incorporate genuine vintage fabrics with feedsack reproductions. ) …. and I find myself using lots of different colours, generally the more the merrier. Some are bright but mostly they are quite soft……there are a few pinks, and I used some pink fabric in Olives quilt the other year but these are very muted or have nice prints on them….they aren’t that horrible “hubba bubba” colour that seems so popular with toy manufacturers nowadays.
Anyway the designs are finally beginning to come together and in a matter of days I’ll be able to start cutting out fabric and sewing it together….like all my patchwork quilts these will be sewn entirely by hand so I want to get started pretty soon as hand sewing does take longer but I find the end results are always worth the extra time and trouble…(not that I find hand sewing a trouble, it’s my favourite way to sew patchwork but it does take more time than if I was sewing them up on a machine).