Inspiration Series: Cultural Costumes

For years, she patiently waited for me to bring her to life!

These adorable girls in their traditional country attire had been in my fabric stash for years. Occasionally, I would stumble upon them while looking for something else in my fabric loot and think, “Someday.” The time came recently as I prepared to for a quilt show trip. I perused my stash for future projects I could tackle, and I zoned in on these little ladies and decided it was time!

Heavy on black in this palette

The color palette for this quilt came about quite by accident. As I said, I took these ladies along with me to the Mid-Atlantic Quiltfest I attend yearly with my mother, also an avid quilter. I strolled through the vendors mall, waiting for that fabric family to jump out at me, and guess what? It did! I stumbled upon the perfect bundle of fabrics that fit together just right with my cultural costumes print. I didn’t intend for the palette to be so heavy with red, yellow and black. It just kind of happened that way. Once I got home, I added some other fabrics to the mix (always the scrappy quilter). I was intentional about adding gray. Gray is such a great, neutral color, and I knew the big stitch quilting I had in mind would pop against the gray.

Insider Info

I designed this quilt “by hand,” meaning it was before my EQ7 days. It would have been much easier to design had I used that program. I went for the challenge anyway, which was designing borders which didn’t go all the way around the quilt. I like the asymmetrical look. I also wanted a way to showcase the black, floral print on its own. This border design allowed for that.

As for the big-stitch quilting…I learned that from Jo Glover, a former fashion model turned quilter! She regularly teaches the Big Stitch class as a weekend class at the John C. Campbell Folk School deep in the North Carolina mountains. If you’ve never had an opportunity to go to the Folk School,  you are missing out. I highly recommend it, whatever your craft. Since ours is quilting, they offer a wide selection of quilt classes…but I digress.

Jo was inspired by the sashiko stitching during a trip to Japan. Upon her return, she developed her Big Stitch quilting technique. I have a link to her YouTube video below where she demonstrates her method. I love this technique because you are able to use the wonderful variety of colors of perle cotton threads to “pop” against the fabric in your quilt. It is quilting with a purpose. The quilting is an element to the quilt, not something that disappears into the quilt. All of your hard handwork will not go to waste.

border talk

I left the black, floral print as a stand alone border.

“With Big Stitch, I hope to preserve the tradition of hand quilting.”

jo glover

Don’t miss an opportunity at the folk school!

Click the photo to see Jo Glover’s You Tube video tutorial

An excellent book about incorporating culture and quilts

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