Monday, 18 December 2017

Secret Garden: What I'd Do Differently..

They say you 'live and learn', well let's just say I learn more than most. Although I'm always challenging myself, sometimes I make the wrong decision in my quest for finding new ways around creative choices. Secret Garden is an adventure of a quilt - full of romance and detail. It's one of my most beautiful quilt designs and now that I've made my top and can take a step back from all the creative chaos, I see what I would improve and do differently if I could go back in time.
I got the fabrics all wrong and this colouring miscalculation has let down my design on my own quilt top. It should be a shining show stopper - but it's actually a 'look-over' - full of exquisite detail, but easily missed.
 How did I get it so wrong?
I picked the wrong fabrics. 

Don't get me wrong, the range of fabrics I opted for are beautiful and not at 'fault', no, the fault is all mine. I decided for once that I would spare myself the hours of fabric deliberations and simply do with a single pallette that was essentially all worked out to go together and that it would be so harmonious that it would work - and save me hunting out endless combinations of hues. And you know, I do this all the time - hunting out fabric that is. I took the lazy option and it didn't work for me.
Staying within the single pallette turned out to be too gentle and too washed out. The result is a quilt that is too low contrast and too wishy washy. I've looked at my top long and hard and the real issue was choosing the subdued green background. 
It just dulls everything down.
These wonderful and gentle spring hues would have come to life on a white, cream or linen background. 
And I seriously considered unpicking all my applique and restitching it on a new background, but of course, it's all stitched down much too permanently and can't be undone. 

Quilt and learn.
 Do I still love it? Of course. It's an incredible quilt. 
But I made the wrong colour choice. 
And I have serious considerations about re-making it in a completely different colour scheme. 
When? Who knows!
Lucky for me, those of you who have been making your own Secret Gardens have made better colour choices than I have! And I've been thrilled to enjoy the visual feast of them all from dark to bright, to gentle and light. Perks of creating a BOM, even when you get it wrong, you can watch other's get it right. 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Secret Garden Part 12 is Launched

The final installment of Secret Garden has been released. It's out early, allowing those of you on the original schedule to download it. Those of you who started after the original launch date of January 2017 will receive it according to your ongoing schedule.

This month it's time to add the final border - it's made up of leftover fabric pieces, bringing patches of all your gorgeous leftover fabrics into focus and it really ties the design together.

Also this month, you can consider whether you want to embellish the spaces between your blocks. This is a detailed quilt top and I feel that any visual 'spaces' require a spot of embellishment. I have opted for petals to be sewn down in the block corners. It's entirely optional but I think it really adds something - as shown above.
My quilt top is horribly creased, as you can see here, but when I was taking this photo it really didn't look so bad. At least I didn't think so. Anyway, you can see the entwining border, then the mitred border and then finally the borders of fabric patches. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WOW: Secret Garden's Satisfying Centre

 WOW = WIPs On Wednesday 
I'm so pleased that my Secret Garden quilt top is now together. And, as soon as I find a wall big enough, I'll take a photo of the whole top to show you. This is one quilt where the parts are lovelier the longer you look at them - detail overload! This is the satisfying center and I love everything about it.

In the next few days I'll be releasing the final installment of Secret Garden, Part 12 of 12, so those of you taking part can finalize your WIPs and get your schedules in order. December is a crazy month in my household, so I know how helpful it is to get fabrics, projects and plans for the New Year in order. Speaking of fabrics, I'm awaiting a very special delivery, can't wait to show you my new BOM selection as soon as it arrives. 

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Secret Garden: Fixing the Cat Block

As in life, as you quilt - you learn. Once again, my quilting adventure this year has taught me some important reminders. Lessons I already knew but didn't follow and new ways of thinking about colour usage. 

First up, my irritating mistake. I thread painted my cat piece for the block on a separate piece of fabric, as a motif shape, and then, when it was halfway done, I put it into position on my actual block background and continued the thread painting. Now, I knew when I did this that I should theoretically use a hoop to stabilize the fabric stretch. But I was so wrapped up in the creative flow, that I just 'winged' it. Oh boy, big mistake. 

The fabric, bunched buckled and threatened to wreck the whole block - a whole day's work! And it's not just the 'day' that's lost, the original creative spark is hard to recapture on the 're-make'. So I was determined to 'fix' it. I unpicked a tiny bit, coaxed it with some re- stretching and finally stabilized the back.
It's acceptable now. Just. But boy am I mad with myself. Such a careless and inexperienced thing to do. Yes, even seasoned quilter's like me need to follow their own advice. This pic below shows the back of the block, stabilized. 
My second learning experience was the use of an introduced pink fabric beyond my chosen pallette for the flower heads. It's much too bright for the quilt and throws out the soft low contrast colour balance. It completely interrupts the flow. 
And when the blocks came together, it was too obvious. 
Something had to be done to tone it down a notch. 
So I'm 'washing' over the bright pink with a white milky wash in thin layers to bring to tone down.

These crayons are Caran D'Ache and this particular series of NeoColour 11 Aquarelle is colour permanent once heat set. You can find a link to these specific crayons on my sidebar if you're interested in playing around with permanent crayon colours.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

WOW: Secret Garden Finishing Touches

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
Today I'm sewing down the finishing touches on my Secret Garden quilt top. Then I only have the last border to put down (which I intend to do right after my morning coffee) and then voila - a WIP no more.

Oh sure, it won't be 'finished' but getting the quilt top done is right where I want it before I stop for Christmas festivities. Phew, I am so glad this gorgeous, romantic beauty has finally come together.

And the best bit? So many of you are following suit and Secret Garden progress pics are coming along each day in my Facebook BOM Group.

Keep it up everyone, it's one WIP worth getting done to make way for an epic 2018 starting soon..

What's Your WOW?

Monday, 4 December 2017

'Glad Tidings' by Gail Smith

'Glad Tidings' by Gail Smith
quilted by Angela McCorkle

Look at this Christmas beauty! It's my pattern 'Glad Tidings' made by Gail Smith. Some of you might remember that Gail Smith made my Christmas pattern 'Red December' in 2015 and incredibly, she's done it again! Click here now to see that post.
I just love how perfectly "Christmas" this quilt feels. 
Isn't it stunning? This is exactly how I pictured it in my mind!
 I still have plans to make my own Glad Tidings, but you know me .. more designs than time
How dreamy is this quilting? It's gorgeous!
so it's always really special when people take the time to send me pics of the quilts they've made from my patterns
Thanks for thinking of me Gail, these pics made my day

This quilt made by Gail Smith is from my pattern 'Glad Tidings'. To read more about Glad Tidings and visit my 'Glad Tidings' post archive, click the image below.

Glad Tidings Christmas Patterns

Friday, 1 December 2017

Secret Garden: Part 11

It's December 1st and that means it's time for Part 11 of my Mystery BOM, Secret Garden.
There are 12 parts to this BOM and every single installment matters. So although this quilt isn't much of a mystery anymore, I'm fairly sure this border will take some of your by surprise. 

This month it's time to gather together your gorgeous fabrics scraps and create an entwining border that will pull together the shades and tones used throughout your centre. That's how I've made mine - it's a medley of mixed fabrics I've used throughout and it looks really effective. 
Of course, in saying that - I'm sure there will be some of you who opt for a striking contrast border instead of my suggestion - and that's half the fun - seeing what the rest of you get up to and how you interpret my design. I know you're all extra eager to get your quilt top done before Christmas, so I'll be releasing Part 12 early, in a week or so instead of making you wait out the month. 

I can't wait to show you my top.. very soon!
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