Raving about Reds

When in need of a bit of tlc, I find I always revert to using red background for my applique.  All colours sing off red and their contrast puts me in a great mood whatever chaos is going on around me.  I have a distinct memory of my school art teacher telling me that you should never put red and pinks next to one another.  Whether it is a change in the times (look at all the clashing reds and pinks in the fashion world) or my better understanding of colour, I would disagree with her and say, on the contrary, you can put any colour next to red and it will work to the benefit of both.  Red functions as a neutral and, for me anyway, it has a positive effect on all the colours that sit next to it.  Greens are greener, blues glow and pinks shock.  My house is full of red – quilts, sofas, carpets and now that autumn is upon us I love the extra warmth they bring.

Whilst looking through my photos of past work last week for a bit of inspiration, I came across this photo of the deep pinky red cushions that I made as a present for my eldest son and his partner, thinking they might work in their cottage.

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They were an experiment to see whether it was possible to sew my classic floral designs with plaids.  It seemed a great home decorating idea for a couple of trendy guys with lots of style – classic floral but with more masculine plaids thrown in.  I gave it a shot and it really worked.   Rediscovering this photo now I’m tempted to go the whole hog and try a full size bed quilt in the same vein.  Just imagine how gorgeous that could be….

My flowers reappear in new projects all the time and the three petalled flowers and sunflowers in the cushion on the right above appear together in my new Sunflower Heart Block in Floral Impressions.  I worked so hard all last week correlating all of the paper patterns, templates and instructions for the BOM send out and I’m confident that they’re water tight.  But so that I can sleep at night, worry free, I had decided to work the entire quilt again using only the patterns, instructions and templates that I will be sending out to everyone as of next month.  And just when I had decided this, my best friend the FEDEX man knocked on the door.

Brilliant parcel.  Best ever.  I had asked Michael if he could send me some of his Cadiz ruby red to back my, oh so very nearly finished purple applique quilt.  But, lucky am I to be so favoured, Michael sent me two complete lengths so, just like that, abracadabra, the background fabric for my re-make had magically appeared.  It is so sumptuous, so gorgeous, it defies belief.  When you shake the whole length out,  the light reflects off it in a way that I have only ever seen before in a silk.  Drop dead gorgeous.  Ruby Red shot through with vivid orange.  Incredible.

That evening our son Max was busy working on a bit of sound editing for his music, totally engrossed, wrapped up in headphones and cables in the kitchen.  I appeared at his side and just flung open the length of Cadiz.  

Max, headphones off….  “Whoah.  Oh my God, that’s CRAZY” (for he is 20 and that is how 20 year olds speak), “What is that?  Silk?  It’s unbelievable”

Me “No, it’s an Oakshott,  Michael sent it to me”

Max “Oh my God that’s so crazy.  I think it’s just so cool that you get sent things like that.  That’s incredible.  So cool.  Crazy.  Wow.”   

So he was impressed.

I sewed the Sunflower Heart Block from the new BOM quilt on Cadiz.  For this version of Floral Impressions I have kept the background in one length and have basted my 12 inch block lines with thread to avoid sullying the front of this cloth with anything as tawdry as a pencil mark.  (To do this just pencil your perfectly measured lines on the back of the cloth, hand baste your markings on the reverse and hey presto, you have your lines marked on the front with thread.)

I wish I could do some time lapse photography, I wish I could capture the Cadiz glow, but it seems I’m lacking in that department.  Instead here is the block finally coming to life with each bit of embroidery added….

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I’m hoping that next week I might be able to manage to bribe Gus to do some video recording for next week’s blog.  I see that I can upload a video with this new blog site so perhaps the time is right for some hand applique demos before you all get started on your BOM next month.  Fingers crossed that son, camera and computer all co-operate.

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