In March, just before our state went on lockdown, some friends visited for a weekend and were enchanted with the Queen’s Garden (QG) quilt (pattern by Esther Aliu) in our guest room.
This was my first Esther Aliu pattern. I absolutely fell in love with applique and Esther’s patterns and have made many since then, as we saw in my blog two weeks ago.
Silver and Brad wanted their quilt “exactly” like the guest room quilt, knowing that “exactly” was not a precise term. For one thing, being artisans themselves, they know that no two handmade items are ever precisely the same. And then there is the matter of fabrics used a couple years ago being no longer available. Plus, as artists we learn and grow and explore in new directions.
So I embarked in a vein very similar to the original quilt: green and purple batiks, both plummy and violet with a hint of gold and a tease of blue. Some old fabric scraps and some new ones. I brought in more greens in the center. I used slightly bolder hues, but it felt quite familiar as I wandered. I began hoping that this new quilt would develop it’s own personality.
The original quilt has a subtle gray pattern on white, with soft gray sashing. The background for this new one, chosen by Silver out of my stash, has an off white background with pretty white scrolls. I searched for a compatible grey for the sashing, but after 6 attempts (some ordered up and some from stash) I was realizing that beige plus grey was not happening. Hmmm, maybe I needed a new direction. I recalled an elegant taupe fabric with white dots purchased at a going out of business sale and pulled it out.
Immediately I was captivated with how the more sophisticated pattern worked with the scroll design in the new background and how the taupe brightened the pale beige. In my mind’s eye I could see the entire quilt, complete with stitching designs and thread color, unfolding. It was like fitting a key into a lock and having the door spring open. The path opened before me; no more wandering.
The colors are a little brighter and bolder than the original; I brought in more contrast. And I “greened” it up by choosing fewer purple/lavender shades in the backgrounds. Silver is not a “purple girl” and often wears green, so I veered in that direction. That change has also brightened the look of the whole top.
Silver did have one surprise up her sleeve; this quilt is not destined to be a Queen size, but a King size! This made me rethink the rest of the quilt as Kings are wider than they are long. EQ8 to the rescue to design a new series of borders.
Along the way, I found this wonderful fabric in a large scale print that incorporated the purples, fuschias and tonal greens. Perfect for an interior border.
I then presented Brad and Silver a choice of keeping within the purple family for the outside border, or continuing along the “greener” path. This fabric was originally purchased for another project, but I could see it hitting all the notes for this tour through the Queen’s Garden. Green, gold, a splash of blue and soupcon of purple.
The garden is under construction and next week, you will begin to see the quilting emerge.