Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trillium in Technicolor and Problem Solving

Trillium in Technicolor as seen in my book Dancing with Thread
This post will show you how I have spent the last week or so.  I will also share several tips I've learned along the way. Obvious yes, but they are worth mentioning.  This is enough information to fill a half day workshop!

Trillium in Technicolor is a quilt I was very proud of. There were several new things that I tried and they were successful.  However, something has always bothered me about the quilt.  

So here is the big tip: I hung the quilt up in my bedroom where I would see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  After several weeks I figured out the problem,  the largest flower was bright orange and it always seemed to scream at me.  The solution was to change the flower.  Am I crazy? I finished this quilt 2 years ago, why am I fooling with it now? Well, I'd like to show a grouping of trillium pieces in my autumn show at the LaConner Quilt Museum.

I knew the replaced flower had to be in the pink or rose color family, it would blend better with the remaining flowers.
Auditioning soft pink fabric:  not too bad, maybe I like it!
Auditioning deeper rose fabric:  I like this better!

Parchment pattern piece on lower right petal
I had to think about how I was going to do this and work up enthusiasm for the project. With pencil, I traced the three petals onto parchment paper. I added a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance for turning the edges under. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I cut out most of my images using scissors. These petals have wavy edges and I think it works better. I cut out the rose fabric for this first petal and began to see a transformation.
The first rose petal is hand appliqued into position. I also added a light pink edge on one side.
 Using tiny hand stitches, and matching rose colored thread, I used the needle turn applique technique, and stitched right up to the dark leaves. I am really pleased with the results. It did take all evening to do this.
On the second evening, I cut out and appliqued the second petal

I am encouraged as I like the pink, but I still seem to see it as an orange flower!
All three petals are appliqued into place.

I hung the quilt in my studio all day so I could admire my new pink trillium.  It is good. With a steam iron I lightly steamed the flower to make the edges flat.  Now, how am I going to quilt this thing?

Using one of the parchment pattern pieces I doodled some designs that would be effective and similar to the quilting patterns used on the smaller flowers. There were two different Rainbow Variegated Threads that worked with the rose color:  I chose #814 because it added more depth to the quilting.

First I worked up my confidence level, then I began to quilt. It really didn't take too long, even though I took my time, this is the LAST chance for this Trillium.
Detail show of the new and improved rose colored trillium
I'm very pleased with the changes I have made.  Even after all this time, I feel the flower has more detail than the original orange. The light pink edges give the quilt more depth and realism.  Even the quilting is better because I took more time to develop a design for it. I have no idea what I was thinking when I fused the Orange one on in the first place.

So here is the completed quilt, I'm looking at it right now, as I am writing this. It is successful, the colors work well together, and I'm thrilled with how all the quilting patterns have formed a cohesive whole.

Trillium in Technicolor an original quilt by Ann Fahl
Yes I made the changes by hand. This was done because I had so many curvy edges to cover.  I could have maybe fused the fabric down, but I didn't want to flatten the quilt. The final quilting was done on the machine and unless you read my quilt statement about the quilt, no one would ever know that the quilt was altered! I admit. I did a good job. Go to my website to read more about the quilt and see larger images.

This method will work for you, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation!  Be calm, take your time, think the solution through, maybe even making a test sample first. Wearing a bright colored pair of socks will always make you feel better and get you in the mood for "quilt improvement."

If you have a problem quilt, put somewhere you can see it all the time.  Eventually the answer will come to you. Then you can decide whether to make changes or not--that's up to you. You have put so many hours into your work, it would be a shame to stuff it into a closet and try and forget about it! Maybe there is a simple solution that will improve the quilt.

Have a rose filled holiday weekend.

Ann Fahl


Kathie's Quilted Chaos said...

Ann, your transformation was amazing and it did make the quilt sing. Thanks so much for sharing the tip because it is one I doubt I would have tried. I guess I need to learn to think outside the box!

stichnRN said...

i like them both. they both have a depth to them with the darker color i the front. i do like the quilting. great detail added.

Laura Wasilowski said...

Great idea Ann and yes, it does transform the quilt. Thanks for the tip!

Gram said...

I think the pink is more complimentary to the purple next to them. Your quilting is awesome. Thank you for sharing your talents. Joan from Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

sharidan said...

I am a great fan of your work. I honestly can't choose which I like best. I am curious, however, did you remove the original orange quilting before quilting the pink flower?

annieQ said...

I think Gram "hit the nail on the head" when she said the pink was more complementary to the purple flower next to it. In other words the orange really didn't! Thanks gram.

And sharidan, I left the orange quilting in place. It would have taken a week to pick those stitches out. I used the rose/red variegated thread to re-quilt with a deep rose bobbin thread. When the quilt is flipped over, you see the rose thread, not the lighter orange which was the original stitching.

Laura Krasinski said...

I love these trilliums.. it is one of my favorite flowers. Amazing how you can change the look with just changing colors...