Well, it seemed to take a really long time to get all the blocks assembled, but it’s done.
But… it doesn’t really look done, does it? It needs something, some kind of border. Not just a typical plain border, though.
Sometimes daydreaming can be very productive. I was staring at the quilt, daydreaming, studying the construction, when it hit me – what to do about the border.
Aha! Much better! I really like how those corner blocks extend the center of the quilt out. And it’s different.
But. Hmmm…. it still needs something, doesn’t it? A bit of applique, perhaps, to soften up all those pointy angles. Off to my local quilt shop I go, top in hand.
I auditioned teal, purple, and pink solid or read-as-solid fabrics. The colors matched the ones in the quilt, but the fabrics just did not blend well with the design. They overwhelmed it instead.
Enter one of the best things a quilter can have in her life: a wonderful, knowledgeable, and creative Local Quilt Shop Owner. My favorite LQSO is named Cheran Bee, she owns Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington (Vancouver not B.C., Washington not D.C.), and she’s an absolute gem. Cheran looked at the top, agreed that the borders needed something, and she didn’t like the pink and teal fabrics either. She thought a minute, disappeared into the depths of her shop, and reappeared with this:
Wow – I know where she’s going with this. I gasped and blurted out “Broderie perse!” It was PERFECT. I bought a couple of yards and ran straight home, did not pass Go, did not collect $200.
Confession time. I’ve never tried broderie perse, and to be honest, I’ve never really liked it when I’ve seen it in magazines and quilt shows. But I realize that’s probably because when I have seen it, it looks like a still-life painting to me. Boring, yawn, Ho with a capital Hum.
But it’s a challenge and I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I did some research. I learned that broderie perse was quite a popular technique back in the day, whatever day that was. Quilters would loosely cut around floral prints, then applique (needle-turn or buttonhole stitch) the shape onto the background. According to Barbara Brackman, “traditional broderie perse is harder today because large-scale florals with white backgrounds are rare” and it’s harder to match backgrounds. However, quilters can solve that problem by cutting the entire background away from the print.
People, that kind of detail work is right up my alley!
I ironed some fusible web onto the back and started snipping happily away. I LOVE intricate, detail work.
A few hours later, I have some working pieces to play with: dahlias and carnations. I tried the dahlias first.
Hmm. This doesn’t balance. I tried placement of the flowers by size, first putting the small ones in the corner, then reversing the order and placing the larger flowers in the corner. Neither worked. Okay, let’s try carnations:
I like that better; I like the delicateness of the carnations. They’re not big and blobby like the dahlias were. But it’s still not cutting it; the carnations don’t seem to flow with the quilt either.
How about combining both types of flowers? I really didn’t think that would work well, which is why I separated them in the first place.
Wow, I really like that! I like how it starts off large in the corner and tapers out toward the center of the quilt. I like how the carnation stems give some flow and continuity. I like how the small, delicate carnations balance the big blobby dahlias.
Yes, I think this will work! Off I go to cut more flowers for the opposite corner.