Sunday, September 30, 2007

Japanese Quilt Block: Spring Pillow for Fall

Here's my latest pillow, which is based on a block from the inspiring book Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match by Susan Briscoe. I just discovered her website and I'm thinking about reaching out to her - I've gotten so much out of this book! I'm hoping she might like to see some interpretations of her work.

I also have her book The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook, but I'm trying to resist the siren song of sashiko as I already have my hands full with an ambitious original embroidery project.

As folks who read my August posts know, I've been experimenting with patterns (primarily using dark blues) from this book, including:

Block #14: Kurume kasuri musubi (knot)
Block #5: Kurume kasuri igeta (Kurume well curb)
Block #6: Yamato kasuri igeta (Yamato well curb)

For this next pillow my specific goal was to enliven up a room that was somewhat depressingly matchy-matchy, and I wanted it to go with the colorful Heather Bailey pillow I'd already made for the bed.

I wanted to chose a design that would showcase Heather Bailey's bold fabric from her Freshcut series. Briscoe's book has a few patterns that remind me of a frame or window onto a vista, giving the block an elegant dimensionality. I settled on block 29 - Yosegi koshi kumitate (check frame).

I sketched out my interpretation of the block on graph paper. All the designs in the book are for 9" quilt blocks. I prefer the look and size of 16" square pillows but I wasn't up to doing the math - I simply "doubled the recipe" to make it for an 18" pillow.

Briscoe's designed calls for 2 different background colors, with the middle square cut on a diagonal. I merged these into my one featured fabric.

I went about this project very carefully and methodically, because it involved a lot of small pieces, and a "fussy" piece of fabric - fussy meaning that I wanted to keep the pattern framed in a specific way, so it was important that I didn't get confused and turn a piece upside down or change its orientation in the block.

I generally like to take shortcuts, like cutting as I go, or piecing together multiple strips fabric and then cutting them, but I knew there were too many potential pitfalls to take this approach.

The only shortcut I took was string-piecing the smaller pieces.

I enjoyed taking photos in the natural light!

I followed the instructions to end up with three large strips:

You'll notice by this point the natural light has faded as I push the project into the evening...

Finally done!

As usual, I put some special effort into the back:

I love to look at all the colors and patterns together:

... and somebody else does too!


Anonymous said...

what a beauty! it reminds me of cool, fresh spring grass. and it looks like icebat is enjoying the freshness, too.

Badecca said...

thank you! I must admit, I find the green a bit daring - I may try a brown "frame" if I do this pattern again.

Anonymous said...

You did a lovely job on these pillows. That Heather Bailey fabric on the Japanese block pillow (great pattern -- now I'm interested...) is my favorite (well, one of my two favorites of hers!) -- you can see some of my projects using it at Junie

amy sahba said...

these pillows are so lovely! well done!

Susan Briscoe said...

Fantastic pillows - I love the bold effects you've achieved by enlarging the blocks and your great fabric choices! Thanks for being so complimentary about my book too! Best wishes, Susan Briscoe