Sunday, September 4, 2011

Evolution of a Quilt Design

This is a tile that I brought back from a trip to Barcelona, Spain.  It was a gift from Benedicte Bodard who rescues these tiles from dumpsters.  You can't see it but this 8" tile has about 1" of cement on the back. I brought home 3 tiles from the trip.  To say it was a challenge to transport is an understatement because with the cement the 3 tiles weighed about 20 pounds!  To deal with the airline weight  restrictions, I schlepped it in my carry on.

I was contacted by the magazine, Quilt Life to write an article about using  tiles as design inspiration for quilts.  They requested a quilt that was not in !Quilt Fiesta!, so being the glutton for punishment, I said "Sure, I can do it".  I chose this tile because of its sentimental value and I thought it would give the quilt  a nice diagonal movement. Even though this tile says "craftsmen" to me,  I decided to use fabrics that were jewel tone batiks in a variety of purples, blues and teals.

This was my initial interpretation, but when I multiplied it and created my virtual quilt top, I thought it looked a bit plain. 

So I added the purple designs on the sides. 

I liked it better, but thought the design looked dark (ignoring my horrible photography).

So I added the teal to brighten the dark purple.  It worked.

Since the chosen fabrics made it what I would call a limited scrap quilt, I wanted to try and keep from having too many of the same fabrics touching each other. After I positioned the blocks on my design wall, I used sticky notes on each block to delineate the row and column.  Lately I find myself getting distracted during construction and these location notes help me to keep all the blocks where I intend them to be.

I very rarely buy fabric for the back of my quilts.  I try to use what I have.  This keeps me from having to buy more fabric.  I use up what may be left over from the top.  Sometimes I find myself in a rut always working with the same colors.  When using up these scraps from the current and maybe some previous projects, it forces me to work in other colors.

I am having trouble coming up with a name for this quilt.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear.  In the meantime, you'll have to wait to see the finished quilt when it is published, probably in a winter issue of Quilt Life.  It's a great magazine. You'll love it.


  1. Wonderful design...loved all the tile work in Barcelona! (Another great place for tiles was in Malta...)

  2. And I thought you were relaxing at home eatting bon bons!!!! You are amazing! Love the quilt.

  3. I loved each quilt block in the process. You have such a great eye - the final block is amazing!

  4. Cheryl,
    Your quilt looks stunning. I love the addition of dark purples and blues..It is fun to see how a designer develops her art!
    Your original tile took me not only to Spain but to India too!

  5. Blue, purple & teal has got to be my very favorite color combination. It's so oceany & dreamy to me! And you have done a beautiful job putting it all together!

    How about Bit of Barcelona for a title?


  6. What a wonderful design you made from the tile, love the first one, I tend to go with simple. Lots of possibilities with it.


  7. A couple more tips on labeling your blocks at lay-out time:

    First, I use masking tape and a fine-point Sharpie instead of PostIts. The masking tape sticks without leaving residue. The Sharpie won't rub off the masking tape onto your fabric once its dry -- and drying only takes a second.

    Second, in addition to marking the block row/column position, I write its four neighboring block numbers. That way when I'm sewing the blocks together I'm sure who the "neighbors" are.

    Since I started doing this, I have not misplaced or mis-rotated a block.



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