I’m so excited to introduce my new sewing kit: rainbow colourwash stars. This is a quilt that you can use as a wallhanging to add a splash of colour and interest to your wall, or as a large pillow for a cheerful addition to brighten up your living room. This colourwash star pattern uses 20 different fabrics featuring original hand-carved designs in only three colours to create a rainbow of overlapping shapes, transparency and interweaving colours.
In this post I want to tell you a bit about the inspiration for creating this design, why I think creating something with my hands plays such a vital roll in finding balance and rest, and share a few of the origin stories of the fabrics used in this kit.
First: what is included in the kit? You will receive an 8-page instruction booklet as well as all the fabrics for the quilt top (note, the backing, binding and batting is not included). The finished quilt top is 20×20 inches / 50×50 cm.
When I teach, I like to break new concepts or skills down into clearly understandable chunks, and this was my focus for the instruction booklet. I created lots of diagrams and detailed instructions about all the different kinds of seams used, sewing tips, and cutting instructions and templates for the different pieces used. The instructions are easy to follow and clearly outlined and I wrote them with non-quilters in mind, so that if you love to sew but have never tried a quilt, this could be the perfect first project!
I drew inspiration for the colours from a gorgeous woven woollen blanket I received for one of my daughters when she was a baby. The blanket creates subtle colour shifts by combining the wool of the warp and the weft to create a third colour block. To create this effect in a quilt, I wanted to use only three primary colours and combine them to make secondary colours which the eye will blend together. Once the whole quilt is sewn together, the eyes are drawn not only to the shapes of the stars, but also move around the quilt, following overlapping colours which create an illusion of transparency.
For the pattern, I played with a wooden puzzle my daughter got when she turned three. The coloured blocks can be put together in all kinds of different patterns and combinations. I took my favourite combination and translated it into the pattern for this quilt, thinking about how shapes on top of other shapes create stars and squares and transparency.
Choosing which designs to use for this quilt was a lot of fun. I wanted lots of different patterns, the scale had to be similar so that they would work on a small quilt, and I wanted to only use my linoprint patterns. Mostly florals, they were inspired by different places, gardens and memories over the years. Once the repeat and pattern are finalised, I carve the repeating block and hand print each design before digitalising and recolouring the prints. For this quilt, I recoloured the patterns in the chosen colours to create the sense of transparency and colour blending for this subtle rainbow created with primary colours. The fabric collection is also for sale, and you can also view all the designs in more detail in my shop. Here, I’d like to introduce three of the designs:
The small canning jars were inspired by my grandma’s pantry and going inside to find a jar of canned peaches on Sunday evenings.
In England we didn’t have our own garden, but I often sat in the shared garden right next to the road under a huge rose bush.
I created this pattern for the sheer joy of figuring out how to make lots and lots of flowers flow together in a seamless repeat.
If you quilt, do you prefer quilting by hand or by machine? I often quilt by machine because its faster, but for a small project like this one, I love how portable it is. Last summer I could sit outside with my quilt and whenever possible do a few stitches. Not only did this force me to slow down and enjoy the process of making, it also gives an amazing sense of achievement, even if you only managed a few stitches before having to stop again. I believe being creative and making things can bring balance and joy to our lives, and I’d love to share that feeling with others through my sewing kits.