One of my favorite quilts at the World Quilt Show was “Millefiore” by Chris Kenna of New Zealand. I love the colors and the bold graphic impression the quilt makes. It’s bright, cheery, and stimulating. I like the way it appears to have 2 layers with the larger octagonal, almost circular, shapes in the front and the smaller octagonals in the background.
I realized at the show that this quilt reminded me a lot of a quilt I saw on the “nifty quilts” blog. If you google that blog and look at her archives from this past February and March, you will see she created a similar quilt although it is different in a couple of significant ways. The background is not another layer of octagons, rather just random scraps. Also the middle of the octagons are alternated to give the look of a pinwheel. Each quilt is interesting in its own way and I love them both!
Later at the show as I was wandering through the vendors, I came to the International Fabric Company booth, one of my favorites at this show through the years. They had packages of fat eighths of Naomi Itaya Japanese Fabrics and when I saw them I thought they might be perfect for making this millefiori or spider web quilt so I bought several of them.
Aren’t these lovely! When I got home I went through my cupboard of asian fabrics and found quite a few other Itaya fabrics in my collection so I should have enough! These are different from what we often think of as typical asian themed fabrics from Kona Bay, Hoffman, Kaufmann, etc. in that they have no gold/shiny accents and the colors are different. Very beautiful in their own way!! And if I use these fabrics, this will qualify as “Oriental Meditation #7”!!!!!
I was inspired enough to draft the pattern from the picture in the days following the show. I decided I wanted 7 strips in the octagon (as in the Millefiori quilt, not 5 as in the “nifty quilts” quilt) and I decided I wanted the block to not be too large. By studying the pictures, I determined I needed a square with the sides divided into 10 equal parts to make it work out right. Also, because my rulers are all in inches with divisions of eighths, the final length of a side had to be a multiple of 8 that I could work with. If each section is 7/8 inch, this x 10 is 8 3/4 inches so that is the length of each side. Following is my drawing as it developed. The last one is 4 blocks put together. I also realized, while drafting this, that 2 blocks are mirror images of the other two.
In the final picture above, with 4 blocks, I did not put in the smaller octagons behind the larger ones because I’m not sure I’m going to do that for a background. I asked my husband to look at the 2 quilts inspiring me and he feels the one I show above from the show is a bit too busy. So, I will continue to ponder what the “background” might be.
Of course, I have no time at all right now to actually get started with any sewing on this quilt with the pressure of trying to finish my large applique project for the guild show in October and the challenge quilt as well, not to mention my busy schedule at work! Therefore, this goes onto my “projects in waiting” list. I like this term much better than UFO’s. That way, the list can include my project ideas, not just partially completed projects in which some sewing has already been done. Projects in Waiting are just waiting for their turn to jump to the top of the priority list!
Once “Feathers, Flowers, and Leaves” and the challenge quilt are done, the Project in Waiting at the very top of the list is to finish quilting my Baltimore Album quilt, which I am going to call “Imperfect Beauty.” Here are some pictures of another project in waiting which I might return to soon. I started this one 2 or 3 years ago after looking at pictures from the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I have 86 blocks done so far. The quilt that inspired it is simply entirely made up of these blocks. I can’t decide if that’s what I’m going to do or whether I might use these as a border for something inside.
The latter, of course, is an unsewn block to give an idea of the construction. These were made out of striped oakshott cottons, which have a bit of sheen and are lovely, and 30’s reproduction fabrics. Here are the notes I took when I saw the quilt:
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