Organically Gramma™ presents Red Sand Blossoms, a flower basket quilt design inspired by the picturesque America Southwest desert. Hand-dyed cotton and wool appliqué, embroidery and bead embellishments. 

Journal Entry: November 29, 2020

The last appliqué flower basket quilt in the Organically Gramma™ Pretty Pot series was inspired by our travel through southeastern Utah and northern Arizona. In the design of Red Sand Blossoms, I wanted to capture the essence of the rock outcroppings, the red sand that surrounds them and flowering succulents.

Red Sand Blossoms flower basket quilt
Red Sand Blossoms. Designed by Tricia Patterson for the Organically Gramma™ Pretty Pots flower basket quilt series.

Traveling the Southwestern Red Sand Route: Colorado –> Mexican Hat, Utah –> Tuba City, Arizona

Striated red rock outcroppings…

I’d venture to guess Native American baskets were the first to appear in the United States. We can see the colors of natural red rock and white-gray sand in the forms of their artistic legacy.

American Indian Baskets
A book of inspirational American Indian Baskets—American Indian Baskets: Building and Caring for a Collection

To create a similar effect in Red Sand Blossoms I tie-dyed Kona cotton PFD fabric using Terracotta Fiber Reactive Procion dye to make the fabric strips.

Hand-dyed fabric
Terracotta hand-dyed fabric, tie-dye techniques.
Red Sand Blossoms flower basket quilt background.
Red Sand Blossoms flower basket quilt background.

Hardy succulents of greens, whites and reds…

A couple of sources inspired ideas for the colors and shapes of succulents found in the Southwest. I purchased several plants from our local Home Depot last summer and remembered seeing rows and rows of them from the visit. The snap below shows a great variety of succulents!

Southwestern Succulents
Floral Inspiration: Succulents from the American Southwest.

A couple of additional books were useful to identify flowers. I learned more about the types of succulents and their particular shapes by studying Peterson Field Guides Southwestern and Texas Wildflowers.

Book inspirations for flower basket quilt
Book Inspirations: Quiltmania Publications’ Voyage autour de la Laine (A Trip Around the Wool) and Peterson Field Guides Southwestern and Texas Wildflowers

Embellished Wool and Cotton Hexagon Flowers

The imagery found in one of Quiltmania’s publications, Voyage autour de la Laine (A Trip Around the Wool) by de Segolaine Schweitzer, really inspired me. My first thought for the flowers in Red Sand Blossoms was to create only embellished wool-filled hexagons, embroidered with a sampling of southwestern flowers. Here’s a few I made to test the concept. 

Embellished Hexagons flower basket quilt
Original embellished hexagons made for Red Sand Blossoms.

Then, looking back at the succulent photo I’d taken at Home Depot, I changed my mind. I decided I really wanted Red Sand Blossoms in my flower basket quilt to be more simply colored. So, I dyed more Kona cotton fabric, this time with shades of red and green for the appliqué flowers.

hand-dyed quilt fabric
Hand-dyed quilt fabric for succulents.

And I made more hexagon ‘flower’ clusters with wool and dyed cotton. These were embellished with green and teal Perle cotton embroidery and copper beads.

Embellished hexagons
Embellished wool and cotton hexagon clusters.

Finally, I sprinkled in a few mini hexagon flowers and small embroidered flowers to add filler to the flower basket quilt.

Red Sand Blossoms floral bouquet
A flower basket quilt filled with embroidered and beaded appliqué succulents.

The Organically Gramma™ Pretty Pot Flower Basket Quilt Series

I began the Organically Gramma™ Pretty Pot series a little over a year ago. When I finished the first flower basket quilt, I had no idea that we would be facing a major pandemic in America–one that would keep us in masks and social distanced for so many months. That first quilt started a binge to design and make a collection. I’m extremely grateful the project came along to keep my mind active and my hands busy during this challenging time. I send a special thanks to Karen Gibbs, Design Director of Banyan Batiks Studio at Northcott for staying in touch this year. And, for providing one my favorite fabrics to appliqué from her new batik collections.

Click on the following to read the backstory for each of the Organically Gramma™Pretty Pots.

All the Organically Gramma™ Pretty Pots patterns are available through the Quilter Exchange Mercantile and QuiltWoman.com.

What’s next? Visit my journal again to find out…

Wishing you quilty fun,

Pretty Pot Series
Red Sand Blossoms flower basket quilt
Red Sand Blossoms