What Shade are You with Laura

Hello everyone! Today it’s my turn to show you my #whatshadeareyou quilt using Cotton Supreme Solids by RJR. Ohhh, and I am so excited…

Just a quick introduction. My name is Laura Cunningham, I am an indie sewing pattern designer and you can find me on Instagram over at Laura_Zuckerkuss. Originally from Berlin, Germany I am now living in Stonehaven, Scotland together with my Scottish husband and two kids. We just moved to this beautiful wee town in the North East of Scotland and love the area and its people so much.

When I was asked if I liked to take part in the #whatshadeareyou challenge, I didn’t think twice. I’ve always wanted to make a quilt solely of solids, so now I had no more excuses.

As a designer, I am not only inspired by fellow quilters but also by the many other independent artists pushing contemporary designs and modern takes on traditional themes. One of my most favourite artists is Frea Buckler. Frea’s prints embrace bold colours and shapes, she plays with illusion and perception to produce work which captures your eye in the most mesmerising way. But it is when she started slicing up her screenprints into postcards that the inspiration for this quilt really took hold, I just kew I had to follow her lead and develop something based on such a striking theme.

Art on a postcard by Frea Buckler, 2017.

I decided to go with what seems to have become my signature colours: pink and peach. That was the obvious choice for me I guess. But I also wanted to embrace the bold colours Frea uses, so I added blue, a little yellow and orange into the mix. And these are the 26 Cotton Supreme Solids I used:

Candyland 86, Ballerina 176, Elephantastic Pink 277, Just Peachy 278, Flamingo 338, Muslin 241, Apricot Ice 387, Hot Pink 217, Lip Gloss 419, Fairy Princess 237, Carnation 135, Charlotte 226, Canvas 150, Saffron 221, Pumpkin 130, Cantaloupe 209, Guava 373, Tickled Pink 330, Jean Jacket 429, Slate 298, Swan 370, Orchid 216, Bubblegum 244, Paris 235, Canvas 150 and Haviland Blue 169

Using Frea’s postcards as a starting point, and applying the improv technique which has served me so well in the past, I set about improv piecing each block. I was keen to create individual blocks rich with interest and authenticity, rather than creating matching lines between the blocks. The result is that each block juxtaposes straight lines with unexpected shapes – presenting a unique and purposefully awkward visual encounter.

In total, I improv pieced 49 blocks, each measuring 8’’ by 10’’, with the final quilt measuring about 55’’ by 70’’.

After piecing the top, it was important for me to break the sharp angles I created within the postcards. I loved the crisp boldness of the shapes, but also needed to allow for organic imperfections, something I believe to be vitally important when making a quilt – I wanted the hand-crafted story to be evident. So I decided to go for hand quilting, which I had never done before… best time to give it a go, right?

And I didn’t regret my choice. It’s far from perfect but I love that I broke the boldness of the design a little. And the texture is just divine, even approved by my little helper…

Now, let me finally show you the completed quilt, ‘Postcards by Frea’. This is a quilt inspired by, built by, and made for… people. And people have informed every element of the quilt’s journey. Indeed, as I set out to show the final piece in all it’s glory, by planning photographs in suitably scenic locations, I realised that my surrounding environment had plans of it’s own. So, as my detailed schedule for posed and lighted pictures was laid to waste by the very best of North-East Scotland’s seaside weather, another twist to this quilt’s people-led story took place.

My husband (expert quilt holder) very nearly had the quilt torn from his hands by the ‘refreshing’ November wind – and rain. Just as disaster is about to strike, a local fisherman jumps to the rescue, runs from the harbour and saves the quilt. He proceeds to pose with the quilt (under the expert direction of my husband, of course) so that I can get the best pictures possible.

I love the final results of this quilt, and the pictures. But what I love even more is that people have been involved in every aspect of it, from inspiration through to the final photo shoot. It feels like the story of the quilt has written itself, and it is something that I’ll be reminded of every time I see it.

I hope you like it!

Finally, I would like to thank the lovely people at RJR Fabrics for trusting me with their luscious fabrics. It’s been a real pleasure working with you! If you fancy, then please do follow my creative journey on Instagram, where I share my makes. Hope to see you there.

Happy quilting. Laura x

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Comments (4)

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    Michele T


    Beautiful colours and I love your hand quilting… perfect little stitches!

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    Love the design! Cudos on the handquilting. While I do mine on a quilting machine now, I look longingly back to my hand quilting days.

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    Love this quilt. You are an out of the box quilter, which I just admire.

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    PS. Love your hand quilting! Pretty darn good for first time.

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