Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to use a focal print as background

When Cathy Miles created her "Asian Garden" quilt (using our fabric line of the same name), she chose to highlight the coordinating tonal prints, reserving one of the allover prints (butterflies!) for the background of the pieced blocks. 
"Asian Garden" by Cathy Miles;
featured in Quilt magazine, August-September 2013 issue

We love the result! What do you think? 
Read what Cathy has to say about her quilt design, which reminds her of Chinese lanterns.

Q. What attracted you to the Asian Garden fabrics?
Cathy: There is good contrast between the various fabrics, and I seem to be drawn to designs that have a definite light/medium/dark palette so the design of the blocks really shows. But really, butterflies! Who can resist?

Q. What are the two blocks you used, and why did you decide to pair them?
Cathy: The mostly purple one is Aunt Dinah and the pink one is Lucky Clover. I like the strong chain effect that surfaces when the blocks are alternated. I experimented with different ways to use the fabrics, but the final one reminded me of strings of Chinese lanterns.

Aunt Dinah block

Lucky Clover block

Q. Why did you decide to make the pink, green and purple prominent in the design?
Cathy: Green and purple has been a favorite duo of mine for years, it reminds me of spring with lilacs, pansies, hyacinths, all those great blossoms that tell us spring is here. Adding the pink in this one made a riot of color that played well with the background butterflies.

Q. How do you think that busier design of the butterfly print in the background enhances the quilt?
Cathy: I think the print used as background softens the effect of the strong colors.

Q. What do you like best about the quilt?
Cathy: This one turned into a more personal design than expected. We visited Butchart Gardens (located in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia) and the nearby butterfly garden with my parents several years ago, and I was reminded of the masses of flowers and beautiful Vancouver with hanging baskets along the sidewalks.

Q. Were there challenges to designing/making this quilt?
Cathy: Trying to achieve a good balance with strong colors was a challenge. I wanted to avoid having one color dominate the quilt.

Q. What do you enjoy most about quilting? 
Cathy: I have such great fun with quilting! If my 'play' has become 'work,' it is all good. 
My husband has also been very helpful and supportive of my projects, so it is fun for both of us. He is involved with hanging quilt shows and taking care of the racks, which was a big job last year when there was a fire in the storage area. He hand sanded every piece because he knew it was important to eliminate any possibility of soot staining the quilts or having a quilt show that smelled like smoke. He always finds someone to chat with as we visit various shops. I think he has been surprised at the number of men he meets who also support their wives in various ways.

Find the kit for "Asian Garden" here.
See the entire Asian Garden fabric collection here.
Find Quilt magazine here

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