A flower basket quilt design filled with colorful flower dot shapes made from embellished appliqué batik and hand-dyed wool.
Journal Entry: September 18, 2020.
Well, I missed a goal of finishing my second flower basket quilt by the International Dot Day, September 15. A day of celebrating creativity, courage and collaboration seemed like the perfect target for introducing my latest Pretty Pots flower basket design Panier de Points (translation: Basket of Dots). Instead of rushing the project, I let my energies concentrate on enjoying the process. I love finishing with hand appliqué, embroidery and adding embellishment the most. Handwork feeds my spirit, calms my soul and gives me lots of time to reflect…as well as conjure up more quilt ideas than I’ll ever have time to make.
In Batik Quilt Fabric with Wool to Dye For I describe the backstory of my fabric selections for Panier de Points. The colored dots in Color Me Banyan Dot Necessities, a Banyan Batiks Studio collection, provided inspiration for the theme of this flower basket quilt. The dots in the fabric remind me of a painter’s watercolor smudges, a rainbow of different colors playing together against a background. Joining the play, simple flower shapes, embroidery and beads, added my own ‘dots’ to the fabric mix.
About the Flower Basket Design
A woven French market basket inspired the on I made Panier de Points to hold the flowers. Choosing a simple Log Cabin square and black background fabric for half of the square gives shape to the basket. The dark and light shades of the Colorfall gradated fabric also helps to define the basket’s weave.
The colorful dots in the Dot Necessities fabric alone provide a lot of visual texture in the quilt. Adding appliqué shapes of circles and ovals was a no brainer to move the dot theme along. And, interspersing the wool I dyed to match the colors in the fabric only added more texture to the flowers.
One of my biggest fiber fun discoveries from a trip my husband Earl and I took to South Africa last year was House of Embroidery. A home-based South African Fair-Trade Company notably provides employment for disadvantage South Africans. My husband learned during visits to local industries that there are large number of single mothers whose sole income supports their families. House of Embroidery supports these women by giving them employment hand-dyeing fibers. So, not only are these threads simply gorgeous to use, thread sales support their industry. This cause commits me to purchasing these embroidery threads.
I was truly delighted to discover suespargo.com carries House of Embroidery thread in the United States. Five and eight weight threads are used in my flower basket quilts. I admit it; I’m a fiber and embellishment geek. Honestly, along with selecting beads, it was great fun to select a thread to coordinate with the colors in the Dot Necessities fabric. My conclusion: these threads are made to use with that fabric.
As with my first flower basket quilt, Gardens & Trails, use of a simple straight-line stitch for the background quilting kept focus on the flower basket. A curved line of stitching behind the flowers became the foundation for ‘leaves’ between the flowers. These vines connect the dots in Panier de Points. (Yep, that is a bad pun.)
What Do I Get From My Basketwork?
There’s a theory around design thinking that’s being explored in the business community right now: Ideation versus Imagination. It’s like a chicken and egg kind of thing. I don’t know which actually comes first during a creative event, but I sure do believe they often work together. I get a lot of pleasure from letting my imagination guide my creativity, organically, without the worry of rules. Panier de Points is my second flower basket quilt design for the Organically GrammaTM Pretty Pots series. And, my imagination has me working on three additional sketches of baskets in my mind. Ideas are really endless, particularly if you let your imagination flow.
How will I carry out these ideas? Identifying the techniques I use to make my baskets are also part of ideation and imagination. There are so many quilt block designs that I can leverage for a basket base. Making flowers involves only the basic skill of needle-turn or raw-edge appliqué. I don’t have a set plan for embellishment. Free-form embroidery only requires my imagination, and perhaps a study of nature’s bountiful flowers for detail ideas.
There are a lot of resources available for embroidery stitches to guide you in making them. I always keep a couple of my favorite stitchery books close by. When I’m stuck on how I want to embellish a flower I peruse the books for stitch ideas. I use a lot of simple basic stitches. Buttonhole, Chain, Lazy Daisy, Cross, Fans, Fly, and Running stitches seem to be favorites for my flower basket quilt series.
What’s next in the Organically GrammaTM Pretty Pots series?
I’m adding the finishing touches to the patterns for the first two Pretty Pots, Gardens & Trails and Panier de Points. They will be available in the Quilter Exchange Mercantile. Bundles of the hand-dyed wool I use in the Panier de Points will also be available in the shop.
As I’m pulling together the supplies for another flower basket quilt I’m finalizing the design elements. Winter holidays is the theme for this project. Continuing my designs with batik fabrics, it will feature several fabrics from the Lustre collection by Banyan Batiks Studio. I’m pairing some luscious reds and greens with Banyan Batiks Classics and my own hand-dyed wool and velvet.
Until I have progressed enough to share…
You’ll find me working on the next flower basket quilt,