Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quilting Inspiration

Travelling through China has been wonderful, and I've got pics and a travelogue up on my 'personal' journal. But I can never quite turn the creative switch 'off', even when travelling! As a result, while travelling through China, I spotted a few inspirational things along the way.

Like this painting:
Design idea

It's an actual painting, but wouldn't it make a wonderfully eye-catching bargello/postage stamp quilt? Complicated to put together, but so effective!

And this tile pattern near the place where we were staying would make a fantastic quilt block:
Quilting pattern?

I think it would be roughly based on the kaleidoscope block - the octagonal one with the four corners. Tricksy with the curves, perhaps, but the result would be utterly stunning!

And sometimes it just takes things like hotel cushions to catch the eye:
Pattern idea

To say nothing of those hotel gift shops full of nifty little ideas that are so nice to give to people:
silk cosmetic bags

Then there was the quiltspotting! Not that one sees too many patchworked/pieced quilts in China, but we were in a silk market looking through the shops when I spotted these quilts in one of the stalls:
quilts in china

With the kind of quilting detail that is more usually found in exhibition quilts:
quilting detail

I have no idea if it was handmade or machine made, or whether it's cotton or anything like that. I just passed the shop, stopped by, and took some pics! But the detail is lovely, whether it was programmed or someone did the painstaking machine quilting.

And, of course, one can't talk about China and fabric without mentioning the silk:

The silk markets I mentioned had three stories of fabric and clothier shops - mostly silk and wool suiting, some shirting cotton, a few dressy-materials. I looked high and low for something that might approximate quilting cotton, but they didn't seem to have anything - woe! Still, the vendors would not only sell you the fabric, but also make you gowns, dresses, suits, coats - whatever suited your tastes.

I was looking for silk. To whit, enough silk to make a decent-sized quilt.

There was so much colour and so many patterns! The range in the market was much much bigger than anywhere else I'd seen, and it was all beautiful quality and vivid colour. Enough to send even the most restrained fabric buyer into a tailspin!

So I went twice. Once to get a look at what the options were, before turning around and coming out and clearing my head so I could work out what I'd actually need and not go crazy on the spending. :)

I did the calculations and ended up with about 16m, or ~17.5 yards of silk in two colourways:

I'm calling this one "Violet Nights":
silk brocades: blues stacked

And this one "Dragon's Blood":
silk brocades: reds stacked

Don't you love the colours? I swear I must have yanked out just about every bolt in the shop to get combinations that worked - but the finished result is going to look SO AWESOME.

The patterns are a mixture: there are feathers and flowers and animals - dragons, cranes, and what look like some more tribal birds, Chinese characters, medallions and scrolling... All beautiful, and I can't wait to get into it!

Violet Nights with the black (which is going to be the binding):
silk brocades: blue-violets

Dragon's Blood with the black:
silk brocades: reds

And both sets of fabric!
silk brocades

Does anyone know if you should use silk thread to patch together silk quilts? Like the "cotton thread for cotton quilts" rule? I notice there's a company called YLIC that makes silk thread for quilting - has anyone used their products before?

Tomorrow, the parentals and I fly back to Sydney from our present locale in HK. We've been staying with the stepdad's older sister, and it's not a bad location - just a little out of town. And I've been sick for the last week (pretty much since we left China) which hasn't been fun at all. I'll be so glad when we're back in Australia, and I can get antibiotic for this baby!

And, of course, there'll be the sewing to get back to! I'm looking to land a job in the coming weeks, so I'm going to have to get a move on my finished quilt tops for 2012...

But more about that in the WIP Wednesday post tomorrow! :)

In the meantime: Happy Lunar New Year! KUNG HEI FAAT CHOI! Bring on 2012 - Year of the Dragon!

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