Monday, November 1, 2010

Under a Blanket of Blue - for Blogger Quilt Festival

The warm July sun touched the upturned heads of sunflower after sunflower as their eager heads followed it's rays as if attached by an invisible puppet string.  The fields were full of millions of bright, bursting, blooming yellow flowers atop their tall sturdy stems, against a canvas of brilliant blue sky, seemingly painted by the stroke of a master's hand.

This was the picture of my summers in France, where I lived for 10 enchanted years.  I could mark the seasons by the flowers blooming in the surrounding fields.  Early spring, yellow fields of rape seed, the flower by which canola oil is abstracted from.  Late spring, red poppies dotted the fresh green fields of grain.  Tulips and varieties of Irises grew in clusters in parks and in front of homes. Summer brought flower boxes overflowing with geraniums and petunias, sitting in front of wide open windows with fluttering lace curtains. And in summer, bloomed the beautiful sunflower fields followed by gorgeous purple lavender.  Is it a wonder artists flock to France?  It's a constant ever-changing painting!

Before I lived in France I went as a student. Can you guess what kind of student? Yes! An art student.  We sketched and painted all over Europe.  Ironically, I also learned to quilt in France, by an American woman who lived on my street.  So much of what I learned from my studies and life in France are reflected in our Lizzie B quilt designs now.  It's been so fun to draw from those inspirations and using fabric, recreate some of my most favored impressions. 

When designing this quilt, I wanted something that reminded me of standing near those fields of sunflowers, with them towering over head, and the blue, blue sky as a backdrop.  Beth devised the perfect sky by picking beautiful blues and utilizing the disappearing nine-patch technique.  In this quilt, which I made recently because I would like to hang it like a painting on my wall, I choose a variety of Kaffe's bold, brilliant blues and mixed with them some gorgeous African dyed linens.

I love the hint of purples that seem to bring out even more blue!  Exactly like the watercolors I used to paint...blending the colors together until their vibrance shimmered off the paper. The sunflowers I also cut from the African dyed fabric.  I thought the texture and color of the fabric brought the flowers to life. (although sitting here on my sewing machine in pieces, I was told they looked like slices of sweet potato!)

The flowers were hand appliqued on to the blue background, petal by petal.

And to me, the finished quilt looks like those paintings of my traveling watercolor-toting self from way back when.  The kind that has me imagining, in a Mary Poppins-esque sort of way, that I could count to three, turn around, put my finger to the side of my nose, and LEAP right in... to run through those fields in France which I loved so much!

But for now, I'm happy to settle for wrapping myself up, 
in my blanket of blue.

Thanks for being a part of the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side! Loved sharing my story and even MORE reading all of YOURS.  Leave us a comment, we'd love to hear how you're enjoying the BQF!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival


  1. Stunning quilt. I love the idea of getting the variegated background look out of the 9 patch, clever trick I've filed away, thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the color that you used, very nice:)

  3. I love your sunflower quilts. I love sunflowers and they do represent France quite well.

  4. Very nice. There's a vibrancy to the colors. I too will be tucking away the idea of the d9p for a background piece.

  5. love this piece and the colors you chose were wonderful... thank you for sharing this!

  6. What a stunning quilt and striking colors! A work of art for sure! Love it!!

  7. What a great adventure! Your quilt is amazing.

  8. I love your quilt. The colours are fantastic.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I certainly enjoyed reading about the process of this quilt. As a collector and maker of sunflower quilts, yours certainly caught my eye. It is truly an amazing quilt. Thanks for the view!

  10. The petals DO look like slices of sweet potato.
    I am going to try your background technique. It's so creative !

  11. What a beautiful post!! and stunning quilt. it's such a grey day here today so your quilt has added some clear blue skies and sunshine to my day! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Sunflowers are probably my favorite flower- they are so happy looking and always make me smile when I see them.
    I love your gorgeous quilt- the varigated background really adds such nice dimension to the it.
    Your sunflower fabrics are stunning- such rich yellows.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilt.
    The festival has some wonderful pieces to view- Yours is one of my favorites.
    Regards from a Western Canadian quilter,

  13. I love your color choices. Every piece you ladies do is bright and beautiful.

  14. Absolutly BEAUTIFUL quilt - I love the colors!!


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