Christine here, happily home after a delightful time teaching on Kauai. Many thanks to Jenny Conley and all the lovely quilters I met. You ladies were so much fun! And oh, the fruit, the flowers, the surf, the air, the clouds. And—of course—the colors. My friend Kari Hannickel and I were inspired and excited by what we saw everywhere, every day. I came home determined to continue my vacation by creating a new quilt design. Isn’t that a great reason to travel, to find inspiration for new projects?
• showcase a pattered fabric in the large, on-point center squares,
• take advantage of the darker areas of Gelato ombrés (in the photos below, colors 301, 304, 903, and 305, available in my online Store),
• create vertical and horizontal bands of color where blocks meet, and
• create a light-and-airy background.
The main pieces of the block were easy. Phillip Jacobs has given us so many delicious prints, and ombrés allow you to isolate just the colors you want.
But what about the background? I wanted it to recede and play a supporting role, and not take away from the colorful ombrés and prints. When I started auditioning fabrics for these cut-and-paste blocks, I was quickly reminded of what a difference the background fabric makes. Here’s my first try:I love the square dots in the white-and-black fabric above, but you can see what happens where four blocks meet—the design is fragmented. And it’s a bit busy with the other fabrics.
I also love the Kim Schafer white-and-black “stripe” shown above. If you run the design in opposite directions as I did, a wonderful secondary pattern emerges where the blocks meet. I think this design would make a great quilt. . . but the background doesn’t recede.
Finally, I found the fabric below in my stash. The openness of the design and the preponderance of white space give the eye a place to rest and create the illusion of two different planes, as if the bright bands of color and on-point squares are floating above the background. This would probably be my first choice for a background fabric.But of course it’s up to you to decide what works best in your quilt. I encourage you to make mock-blocks to audition your choices. (We’ll do mock blocks on the first day of the retreat, to show you how to create luminosity and luster.) You just can’t tell how fabrics will “get along” until you see them cut into pieces and touching.
Here are a few of my favorite images from our trip, most taken by Kari. I’ll start with photos we took on the fruit-and-chocolate tour that happens at Jenny and John’s farm twice a week. The cacao pods are amazing, so richly colored and textured. And look what’s inside. Beneath the sweet white “fruit” are the makings of chocolate. (It was the best chocolate I’ve ever had.)Tasting the fruit is a big part of the tour too. I just had to take a shot of the grapefruit, sliced and lined up for our enjoyment. And enjoy we did!After I finished teaching, we went to the Princeville Botanical Gardens. The wind was blowing hard that day, but the forms, colors, and textures were a visual treat.I hope you get the opportunity to be inspired by the colors of Kauai. Until next time, keep playing with the colors in your world (and in your stash). As Nancy McDonald once said, “The quilt you’re working on now is practice for your next one.” Amen!