Using Backgrounds

Autumnal greetings and welcome new followers, I really appreciate you being here xx

image of Concord Massachsetts

Just a beautiful pic of Fall in Concord, Massachusetts for you to enjoy

Y’know… I’ve been thinking about how you, my dear friends, can get more out of these blog posts.

How can I make them more informative and inspiring for you?

And if you’re not in near proximity to where I’m teaching (though that IS expanding), how can I share with you the fabric inspiration I talk about in my workshops?

As I’ve been stitching the Suffolk Coverlet (new), that pondering has been taking shape.

image of Hexies

My nightly companion… Hexies for the Suffolk Coverlet

I realised I’ve actually been looking at what I want to share with you for months, it just took me a little time to figure it out.

It’s *Backgrounds* and how I…

Choose what I’ll use,

and use what I choose.

And why?

image of Antique fabrics

See that patina? … the blotches and age stains? Simply put… that just rocks my boat.

In ‘Quilts From the Colonies’ I talk about the nostalgia and familiarity I felt (even as a child) looking at antiquities.

 I don’t really know *why*it*moves*me*… but it does.

There’s just something about old stuff and how it makes me feel.

Old, faded, battered & stained = Well used (loved), handled & cherished by generations and it has a history.

image of Antique blocks

A few more from my collection… I buy these just because they make me feel all warm amd fuzzy inside.

So of course… I want to get that *look*.

I just want it to look like this.

image of antique quilt

In earlier days my MO was to Tea Stain pretty much any background print,

and any print that had white,

and any print that had too high a contrast going on.

I loved the print and I loved the colour, but I didn’t always love the colour value.

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

 I would also use the wrong side of fabrics to tone things down a bit.  I wanted to flatten out that high contrast.

This pic shows what I was wanting to achieve, and my love affair with brown.

Antique fabricThere’s contrast here (above), but the background has discoloured and now sits (imho)  more calmly against the print.

Below is a recent finish where the print evokes the same feelings of calmness and nostalgia.

Indiana Medallion 2018

Indiana Medallion 2018

Quantities permitting, if I’m using a plain fabric my absolute preference would be to use a tea stained fabric.

Left. Patty Harants print (Gold Star for that one) and Right. Marcus Bros Aged Muslin

Left. Patty Harants print (Gold Star Miss P for that one) and Right. Marcus Bros Aged Muslin

 There’s a few that are commercially available.  Alas the Patty Harants fabric above left is from years ago.  But the Marcus Bros Aged Muslin is one I have used in many quilts, it’s a standard line for them and comes in many different tones from off white through to brown. And just FYI, it comes in colours too.

But what I’ve been doing with the Suffolk Coverlet is …

Anne Romsey's Coverlet c 1790 Dedham Essex/Suffolk

Anne Romsey’s Coverlet c 1790 Dedham Essex/Suffolk

…using tone on tone prints to create the look of random discolouration, or patina.

Suffolk Coverlet backgroundsWhy did I decide to use these four fabrics?

Far right is the background for the centre Broderie Perse appliqué … not a lot left so can’t use that.

Far left is the background to the Pentagon border … didn’t have a huge amount left but have since sourced more from Margo Krager.

But I didn’t want to just switch from one background fabric in the centre, to using a whole other background for the rest of the quilt because I think that is too big a jump, I want to blur the meeting point.

So as well as repeating the two already used, I added the tiny spot… tonally and scale wise the three are similar.

But what’s with the fourth? Why is that fabric there?

FabricBecause I like it,

Actually, I love it.

Because I have only a few off-cuts left and it’s been in a couple of my favourite quilts already (and I have a feeling this one is going to be another favourite quilt)

Because  I think every quilt should have something that doesn’t quite fit… but you love it and that’s all that matters.

And because I don’t want to make the *obvious* fabric choices in my quilts…

and may I be so bold as to say,

I don’t think you should make the obvious choices either.

Please use the fabrics that give you joy, and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Making shapes and sttiching them together

Making shapes and stitching them together.

More hexies

The four ‘background’ prints are totally random. No rhyme or reason to it at all.

Hexie Rosettes of all colours and prints

Hexie Rosettes of all colours and prints.

I’m so sorry this has been quite a mammoth post, I hope you’re still here til the end.

As I don’t have time to blog as much as I’d like, I’m wanting to offer you quality over frequency… I want to share fabric choices with you on a deeper level than just showing pretty quilt pictures.

I really hope I haven’t bored you.

Thanks for sticking with me

Til next

Happy stitching

Margaret xx

A gentle start to 2018

image of Nectarines

It’s been a hot, hot summer here at Quilt Station. Christmas and January were spent in perfect harmony. Family, Friends, Food and Festivities. Some Granddaughter time…  And a touch of garden/home reno …bliss on a stick I say. There was fruit picking galore… The Boysenberries, Nectarines and Apricots were particuarly abundant, and Delicious, this summer.  […]

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Quilts from the Colonies (not the book) Part 3

After dinner show and tell, the others had gone to bed but a few of us decided to have a little show and tell

Hello again, I think you’ll find this final part of the Colonial Quilts posts totally swoon-worthy… I sure hope so. Our tour made its way to the small town of Te Aroha in the Waikato region to view a c 1820-1830 Broderie Perse Chintz coverlet.  This coverlet, which I first visited in 2014, was the […]

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Quilts from the Colonies (not the book) … Part 2

image of 1870 English Medallion maker unknown

Welcome back… It was very hard to pull ourselves away from The Elms Mission in Tauranga. But we had to… we had an afternoon visit arranged about an hour down the road in Whakatane. Whakatane Museum https://www.whakatanemuseum.org.nz/  is closed for a year + long complete refurbishment.  So it was the  beautiful Te Kōputu a te whanga […]

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Quilts from the Colonies (not the book) … Part 1

Anne Romsey Coverlet c 1795-1830 Made in Dedham, Sussex, England. In the collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand

Yes already I see I’m going to have to do this in parts, photo and info heavy post right here. I’m not long back from my wee jaunt across the ditch… to New Zealand that is. Have I got your attention? Yes… my travel companions were amused by the constant use of the word ‘wee’ […]

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Pour l’amour du fil 2017

image of Misao Wado's Nantes

Nantes was where it was all happening… As I load these photo’s I am reliving a most amazing time (Apologies in advance for a long blog post) Misao Wado’s ‘Nantes’ But of course to get to Nantes, a trip to Paris is pretty much *a must* As soon as I arrived at The Hotel Henriette […]

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Pour L’amour du Fil…

Pour L'amour du Fil

And Quilts from the Colonies book launch …here I come. The bags are packed; the kits for my classes are contained therein.  A bit of Show and Tell is also on board. I have my sewing organised for the plane and transit (all 25+ hours of it) I’ll be stitching some small blocks for more […]

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A new quilt for the New Year and a busy year ahead!

Then pick a winner.  And stick with it.

Since I posted last, my book Quilts from the Colonies has arrived in my hot little hands… I am so so thrilled with the result.  It is perfect in every way.  Quiltmania‘s talent in bringing all the quilts, photographs and patterns together in to one beautiful package just bowls me over. The two quilts shown […]

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Christmas Catch-up

image of Quilts for Life Made with Love

I know I’ve really (really) been Missing in Action. But this is what I’ve been doing… designing and finishing seventeen quilts for my very first book! Quilts that once only had *working titles* now have real names; Quilts that have been a long time in the making are finished; And new Quilts have been designed […]

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Throwin’ a Friday arvo sickie…

image of Connecticut quilt

…cos I feel like blogging not working. I’ve been continuing with this quilt over the last couple of months but before I show you how it’s evolving I want you to see how the 1800s Sunburst is looking now that all the blocks are together. We all know what a nice feeling it is when the […]

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