It's always delightful, following an earlier phone conversation, to see a finished piece 'in the flesh'. So a big thank you to Hazel Earl who emailed to share her thought processes and some images of Celtic Orb, her entry at the recent Festival of Quilts. Here she shows us how the Celtic Orb was put together, from the initial colour selection to the completed patchwork assembled and ready to quilt, along with some of the stitch detail and the finished piece at the show.
I wanted to create a miniature quilt using a palette of 16 different shades plus background and contrast fabrics. I designed my quilt to create a feeling of depth and shape, so it was important to get the right combination of fabric shades to give body to the piece. One of the challenges when creating miniature patchwork is that while you only need small amounts of each fabric, they need to be finely woven and therefore can be quite tricky to find.
Looking at colour options I settled quite early on blue as the dominant colour and the Lakes collection from Oakshott gave me just what I needed. I was able to select 8 shades of blue to give me the gradient of colour that I wanted from the centre to the outer rim of the orb. As a bonus, the Scandinavia collection provided me with all but the darkest of the contrast colours that I needed and the range of colours from cream to pink and grey with a hint of green added life to the design. For the darkest contrast colour I went back to the Lakes collection.
She needed only small amounts of each colour, although the English paper piecing technique required slightly more to allow for wrapping around the pieces.
One of the things I like most about the Oakshott colour packs is that they have such a clean finish to the fabric so I was able to include lots of detail in my stitching as I created the ornamentation for my design. I find that the fabric supports the stitched design without fighting with it. My style for these miniature pieces is to use a variety of stitching and threads as part of the quilting to provide variation and interest and I was really pleased with how that worked on Celtic Orb. The combination of the cotton fabrics with the silk background and the holographic contrast fabric from my stash was very satisfying.
The completed Orb on display at the NEC, kindly pointed out by Hazel's niece Charlotte Crees (thank you Charlotte!).