Thursday, 11 February 2016

Hearts and Roses Fabrics and Tips for Patchwork Quilters

Much as I love painting and illustrating and various crafts, in the past few years, I've discovered that I'm practically addicted to pattern-making! 

So, as I've also done a fair amount of patchwork and quilting over the years, I suppose it's almost inevitable that when I create a pattern collection, the idea of designing sets of coordinating fabrics that could be used for patchwork and quilts is somewhere at the back of my mind.

Today I'd like to present one of my collections, with the aim of demonstrating how easy it is to mix and match the fabrics successfully, if they all come from the same collection.

As we're coming up to Valentine's Day, it seemed appropriate to begin with my romantic 'Hearts and Roses' collection. 

The red roses were originally painted by hand but the collection as a whole involved considerable digital input.

Please click on the image below to see the full collection -

TIP! If you would prefer to buy your fabric from a UK company, my Hearts and Roses collection is also available from Woven Monkey, based in Derbyshire.

It's a while since I did any 'real' patchwork or quilting, due mostly to lack of time. But I've found an outlet for my love of patchwork by creating 'faux patchwork' for soft furnishings in my photo-editing program - and these may provide you with some ideas for your own patchwork products, whether you are a beginner or an experienced quilter looking for fresh inspiration.

Patchwork - sewing pieces of fabric together to make a cloth with a larger design - is an ancient art, going back 5,000 years in China and fragments of patchwork have even been found in Egyptian tombs. 

And patchwork is practised all over the world, though nowadays there are probably more people making patchwork and quilting in the USA than anywhere else. Having visited the American Museum in Bath, I was entranced by the Quilts and Textiles I saw there! 

But I should imagine that in the past, the art of patchwork often arose out of necessity - finding a use for scraps of fabric, rather than throwing them away. A kind of 'recycling' that really appeals to me!

That's how I went about my first ever attempt at patchwork; I cut up old summer dresses and skirts, both mine and my daughters', and made a cushion cover in my favourite colour - blue. It consisted of pieces of plain denim blue, lots of floral mini-prints in blue and white and the occasional 'putty-coloured' hexagon for balance.

At the time, I didn't have as many books on patchwork as I have today and it was well before the days of the internet. So I thought I'd take an 'easy' route and make a random design, just deciding on each hexagonal piece as I went along. 

Big mistake!!! I've since discovered that choosing the pieces one at a time as I went along was probably one of the hardest things to do and that it would all have gone much more smoothly if I'd worked to a plan. 

Soon after I started, I heard that I'd missed a series of tv programmes about patchwork as an antidote to stress. But that first venture of mine was anything but stress-free. However I eventually finished it and I was genuinely pleased with the result. Sadly, one of our cats took a liking to it too and it ended up rather shredded by his claws as he kneaded it - as they do! - before settling down for sleep.

But how on earth can you plan a 'random' patchwork pattern? Surely it's a contradiction in terms? Not quite. Here's a blog post from an experienced patchwork quilter that shows one good, stress-free way to plan a 'random' patchwork. 

Much as I admire the intricate block patterns I saw in the American Museum, for use in my home, I actually prefer a quilt with a more evenly spread choice of fabrics, with no one colour or pattern dominating.

And that's easy for me to plan as a 'faux-patchwork' on my computer, in my photo-editing program! I can easily move the patches around and get a good view of the overall effect without having to lay out all the pieces on a flat surface where they could easily blow away.

Here are the colours I've used, together with white - quite a limited palette. But it seems more varied because I've used the colours in different ways, as checks and polka dots that appear to 'dilute' the colours whilst still making sure they all coordinate well.

So here's a very simple but effective lay-out of squares of related fabric pieces, suitable for a beginner. You don't need to follow it exactly - it's always good to add your own, individual touch to your work. But it'll give you an idea from which to develop your own lay-out.

Idea! For a relatively quick and easy project, you could simply quilt this fabric, following the lines of the squares!

And here are some of my 'Hearts and Roses' patterns on home and fashion accessories in my Posh & Painterly store at Zazzle - 

- they might even give you some ideas for craft projects using these 'Hearts and Roses' fabrics!

I shall be showing you more of my coordinated Fabric Collections in future blog posts, as well as Home Decor tips - so please keep popping by to check what's new.

And your comments are always very welcome!

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