Sunday, 20 March 2011

Purple Fest!

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm having a purple phase.  It's lasting a little longer than I thought it would but I just love the depth and power of the colours.  Secretly, I'm a little nervous that I'm sliding the way of Jenny Jospeh's poem Warning.  Perhaps I am just preparing those who know me for the time to come (read the poem). So, this weekend I indulged unapologetically in a sewing purple fest - bliss!

What brought all of this on?  The shabby state of my existing sofa cushions, and a couple of needlepoint, woollen cross-stitch ones which are very out of place in the lounge since the arrival of the purple and green quillow. It really is time to replace them with something fresh and so a creative spurt ensued.

Step one was unearthing my purple scraps.

To be honest, at this point I did feel a little overwhelmed with where to begin. How far would these scraps stretch? What designs would they work with? With some inspiration from cushion-love around blog world and a few doodles, tweaks and calculations, I set to work on the beginnings of three new cushions.

Cushion 1 will give a nod to two personal favourites - the rectangular cushion and paper-pieced hexagons.  So this was my starting point - three granny flowers.  I am very excited about this cushion which will be inspired by Ariel's beautiful creation.  I love how the traditional hexagons have been given a modern feel by appliqueing them on to a simply pieced cushion.  I am so excited about how mine will turn out, but the end result is on hold until I can buy a little more purple fabric to allow the piecing of the larger rectangular sections.  So for now, the hexies are as far as I've got.

Moving on to cushion 2, I decided on a cushion front with vertical purple bars of fabrics.  I wanted to keep some of the larger strips of fabric remnants in tact just to show off the gorgeous regal depth to the colours and the lovely patterns.

I cut a few strips from my larger scraps then topped and tailed them with deep violet solid.  There was much ordering and re-ordering of the bar strips to see which layout I preferred, but eventually I made up my mind, stitched them together and added more solid purple to each end.

As someone who hasn't mastered the art of free machine quilting, I am often disappointed that books and tutorials place such huge emphasis on this style of quilting.  One of my little wishes is to see more projects and quilts which are quilted in interesting ways the beginner can manage.  Often it makes a big difference to the overall effect of a project and it would be good to have a few more ideas for non-free-machining.  Anyway, off my hobby horse and back to the purple bars!  I didn't want to do much quilting on this cushion front.  I wanted the fabrics to speak for themselves but didn't want to just quilt in the ditch.  So I braved judging the quilting margins to stitch around the entire bar section in an outline style with lavender thread.  I am really delighted with the result - it's not rocket science to most of you, but I think it works well in this instance.  Due deference paid to inspiration of Bethany's cushion by Rags to Bags.

Finally, I tackled a modern mosaic style cushion front a la Oh Fransson's fab tutorial.  Elizabeth's instructions were spot on and this was a real pleasure to do, though admittedly not a speedy process for me.  I did wonder if it was ever going to get big enough as I kept adding pieces and sashing but it just kept drawing itself in in terms of measurements with all the many seams that were on the go.

the beginnings of order from chaos

coming together nicely

Elizabeth uses stipple quilting for a lovely effect on her cushion but not possessing that skill yet I unpacked the walking foot for my new machine and quilted along the middle of the sashing lines.  I am really impressed with myself because I think the effect really suits the mosaic style of the cushion front (not sure if you can see it on this photo), and of course I'm now in love with my walking foot!

Well, all of these lovelies need some extra bits and bobs to allow me to finish them up so I'm off now to order zips and backing fabrics!  It has been such fun this weekend and of course now I can't wait to get them backed and zipped and filled and on display in the lounge!  I'll let you have a peek when they're done.

Hope you too had a creative weekend!


  1. You have been busy! I particularly like your mosaic cushion :)

  2. Wow! These are stunning! And they're all going to work really well together. Can't wait to see them finished. I laughed at the poem (can't quite see you spitting, but then you never know!). Jxo


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