Quilter’s Brain, Shelly and Klimt

Coloring inside the lines was never my favorite activity. And patterns are no different. As much as I might love a pattern, tinkering with a pattern is so much fun.

The pattern I am modifying here is an Esther Aliu applique pattern called “Shelly”, which is a pattern featuring stacks of appliqué clam shells. Originally, I planned to do the pattern as printed using my Klimt fabric stash. (Klimt was an Austrian artist who died in 1918 and was famous for his symbolist paintings. Kaufman Fabric has reproduced designs from his paintings. The movie Woman in Gold is a story about one of his most famous paintings.) I am a bit obsessed with Klimt’s art and have featured his fabric in earlier applique pieces.

I had just finished the African panel and had spent a week or two prepping the many Klimt clam shells needed to complete Shelly. Suddenly, my quilter’s brain said “You could do a Klimt fabric panel with the clam shells”. What??

First let me explain that I am not a big fan of fabric panels. While good for making a quick quilt without piecing, for holiday or children’s pieces, or practicing FMQ, they tend to be used in fairly unimaginative ways. A panel. A border. Outline the elements in the panel. Quilt the border.

But after the African panel, which I loved making, I felt a challenge to take a panel and make it really interesting and fresh. The quilter’s brain can be demanding. Off I went in search of Klimt panels and found that the Birch Autumn panel was still available.

The panel was rectangular with some added elements and the Shelly pattern center 42″ is square, so I removed the extraneous elements for use elsewhere and added some Klimt yardage around the center. It’s not quite square, but it is 35″ x 37″ (an accident, as I was shooting for 36″, but I decided to go with it).

Klimt Autumn Birch panel trimmed and with additional fabric to square it.

It’s taken a couple weeks to draw, copy, cut, fuse and turn the edges on all clam shells. Each side took a couple days to decide on placement of the various shells. Several shells were made with the remnants of a Klimt charm pack and are one or two of a kind.

The first section of shells, and my applique thread.

Metallic thread – dark gold and bright gold – is used to machine applique the shells, with the dark gold on the outside rows and bright gold on the inside rows.

If you look closely, you can see a path into the woods just left of the center of the panel.

I do plan to add the full Shelly pattern border to this piece, which will make it finish at about 40″.

A narrow inner border in the green, before the outter border is added.

But in the meantime, I am just letting the quilter’s brain run wild.

Exciting and happy quilting,


1 Comment

  1. Lennea, the skill it took to make this beautiful piece. You excelled yourself. From getting the right fabrics and blending then together as you have done. It is an excellent piece of work. Love it ❤


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