It all started with a piece of green and pink fabric in the clearance bin. I had to have it! Do I have anything to go with it? No, I do not. I think it has an asian feel to it, though. So, over the next two years, whenever I see a fabric with that same 'feel' to it, even though not overtly asian, I ask myself, "How would this go with that pink and green?"
Eventually, I had added a black and green circle, a pink dot, a green vine, a taupe flowering branch, and a metallic copper with a tiny 'fish scale'. The final touch was a stylized floral that incorporated everything except the black and metallic.
Now, they sit for a year because I can't find a pattern that speaks to me. It must incorporate all of the fabrics and it must have that asian influence.
Then, one day it all came together. One of the quilting magaines I read had a full page ad from Wilmington Fabrics featuring BIRDSONG, a Japanese lantern quilt using their fabric line (http://www.wilmingtonprints.com/projects.aspx). LOVE IT! With only two reservations... 1) I don't have their fabric line 2) It is a queen-size quilt. That should be no problem, I have my own fabrics to use and I don't follow patterns anyway!
So I used the motifs from the quilt pattern, made my own layout with my own fabrics and ended up with a large lap quilt.
Let's have a peek at the fabrics first. This is the pink and green that started everything:
Here is the black and green I chose next. I liked that the circle motif was carried over from the pink and green:
I chose the taupe branches just on their asian feel and that the pattern was quiet enough to read as a solid if I chose:
I selected the pink dot and the green vine that have been used a caps on the lanterns next. And then I brought it all together with the stylized floral:
The metallic copper fish scale was the final touch to unify these all into a Japanese collection. You can see I was careful to make sure the scales were always going in the same direction:
Here is the final result:
I quilted it with free-motion, using different motifs in the lanterns. The pink and green got swags following the lines. The floral got meandering. The green and black got small scallops following the underside of every third row. The taupe lanterns got multiple free-form patterns. In the black block areas I quilted tiny lanterns strung up on wire:
The outer border got some serpentine diagonals along the edges of the circles, the green border got meandering, and the copper was stitched in the ditch.
I did a different kind of binding on this, too. Just the day before I was set to do the binding I ran across this blog entry: http://sweetgrassdesigns.wordpress.com/category/tutorials/bindings/ and knew I wanted to do that myself. I used the copper for the inset and black marble for the binding:
I just love everything about this and it used the asian fabrics to perfection. In fact, I was using so little of my fabrics during the initial cutting session that I cut all the parts for a second one at the same time. I stitched them up together and only changed out the two borders. I haven't quilted or bound it yet... but soon.