Thursday, 18 April 2013

An ugly duckling

This piece started out many years ago as an experiment in dyeing. I wanted to create muted colours by doing a colour run between complementaries - and for some reason chose various shades of pink and  green. The result was not pretty! The material lay forlorn on a shelf, where I occasionally looked at it and decided I so disliked the colours, I really wouldn't like what ever I made with it, which quite discouraged me from making any effort.

A couple of months ago a slow roof leak just above my stash of fabric forced me to wash everything and brought these 'ugly ducklings' to light. I decided to over dye them with charcoal. I wish now I had a photo of the original to show you. At first, I wasn't quite sure about the colours but it was definitely an improvement. So, out with the rotary cutter - and here is the result - a somewhat small throw - and I now love the colours. I hope you agree with me that my 'ugly duckling' dyeing turned into a swan in the end.

This gives you some idea of the size - not very large, but I didn't have enough material for more.
At the moment, I am focusing on free motion quilting - my other passion, apart from surface design.
I cut the pieces into 2" squares so that I could quilt a motif in each one and pieced them in a spiral. I also decided that although I really like the greys and taupes, they need a little lift, so I added thin slivers of silver insets which catch very nicely in the light.

I wanted the whole piece to have a randomness to it. There is no pattern to the sequence of colours or where the silver insets come. Likewise, the fmq motifs have no sequence, but I did try to avoid putting the same motif twice close together.

I did at one point toy with the idea of making every motif different, but that was a bit too ambitious! I used a lot of paper doodling to come up with the number I had anyway! Besides which, I think it looks good with some repetition in it.

So there you are - my first serious blog.


  1. I definitely like this quilt and I like the story. Sometimes you just have to work over it to have a wonderful result.

  2. Many thanks Martina - it is one of my favorites too. I am just sorry I didn't keep a record of the original dyes I used, so I can never repeat it.

  3. I think you are an artist and artist cannot be bookkeeper at the same time. That would be unusual. And you can always say this is a very unique quilt. That is great!