Saturday, 27 September 2014

Fab Fabric

With one quilt nearly finished (the top at least) for an english friend, it was time to start talking turkey with my japanese friend, Noriko, about a quilt for her. I know I have occasionally mentioned her in the past but I don't think I've really gone into how good a friend she has become. She started off as the-woman-pooch's-company-hired-to-help-us-move-to-tokyo. She was awesome at that and made the logistics of the move amazingly simple. She found our temporary first flat for us. She then took us both to be registered as foreign residents, took me house hunting, took me to ikea to furnish the flat once she had negotiated the lease and done all the paperwork, took me to the supermarket to tell me what all these crazy vegetables and sauces were and which went with which. She helped me open a bank account, register at the library, find a doctor...everything! She went above and beyond what the company had contracted her to do and once she found out about my love of craft she took me to craft shops and the amazing Folk Craft Museum, which we actually visited again together a few weeks ago.
Plum Blossom at Ikegami Baien
We soon started going for regular lunches and she would whisk me off to beautiful gardens or lovely shops. Her husband, Nari, is also lovely and it probably helped that he was very into the two games Pooch has been working on - Metal Gear Solid and Pro-Evolution Soccer (called 'World Soccer' in Japan). So I knew I wanted to give them something lasting before I left and a quilt seemed called for.

Noriko and Nari lived and worked in England for about two years and Noriko became a National Trust addict. I wanted to make her something that would tie in with the countryside chic sort of thing and also fit with the decor of their mountain flat where they vanish off to for occasional precious weekends. She told me it has oatmeal walls with white tiles. So countryside chic and neutrals - completely outside my usual palette for a second time! Here is what I came up with.
fabric for noriko's quilt
And the pattern is going to be a simple nine-patch with white sashing.

I used to have no confidence at all in putting together fabrics for projects. It was only after taking an online colour course by Stitched in Color that I really got the hang of it. And while the course was very good, I think it was getting into the habit of choosing colour palettes that helped - overcoming that initial fear and just getting stuck in. My current method for choosing fabrics goes like this...

  1. Think long and hard about the person you're making for, and what kind of things they like. What clothes they wear, how they do their hair, whether they are an angular or curvy person, plain or print etc. 
  2. Go to an actual fabric shop - I am still not confident about choosing online - and spend a long time mooching around. Look at everything. 
  3. Find one print that you think the recipient would like. For me it was the second one from the left in the photo above. Hang on to that bolt of fabric like your life depended on it. 
  4. Carry that bolt around the shop with you and keep laying it next to possible fabrics. Pick out a colour from the print you have chosen and look for fabrics that use that same colour until you find one. Now you're carrying two bolts of fabric. 
  5. Choose another colour in one or both of the bolts you're carrying and find a third fabric. Now you're carrying three bolts
  6. Repeat until you've got enough. 
Of course this is if you're going for a melodious, harmonising colour scheme. If you're making a blue and orange beastie then you'd be looking to make sure your blues and oranges were matching each other and none of the minor colours were clashing with each other. But I would still start with a single, favourite fabric and go from there. 

1 comment:

Createology said...

Beautiful fabrics for your friends. I can tell you have put a lot of thought and care into the making of this quilt gift. Creative Quilt Bliss...

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