Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pandemonium Quilt Tutorial # 3 - The Pond & The Fountain

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for doing the comments on the last post, I also learnt a few things!
I was going to do a longer tutorial  today but I'm on another computer and this one is really, really really slow, I'm hoping it will upload itself because there is a photo below.

Have you noticed there is now a link to the tutorials? It is above the banner picture up the top. Thank you Janet!

I thought I'd go over the The Pond block first then the Fountain later.

When I start a new quilt, I need to "get into it" first, because usually it would have been some months since I've touched the fabrics in the baskets and I can't remember what each fabric offers in terms of components for the different bits of the applique.
I would usually choose a block that has a lot of little shapes in it with no major parts that I need to watch out for. The Pond fills this bill really well, it has many small shapes which will make me rummage my tidied baskets mercilessly.
The first thing I did was to do the actual pond itself. Trace the design onto the pond background fabric, number the shapes ( see tutorial # 1) and choose the fabrics, iron the freezer paper templates on to the prints and cut and place them on the pond fabric so that you can see how your colours are going. Choose the  fabrics for the swans first - need body and wings and the head plume. I would use a textured fabric that reads solid and a contrasting print for the wing and something solid for the head plume that goes with the body. if you go to the GloriousColor website, look at the following fabrics for what I call "textured fabrics that read solid":
KF " Rosette" - there are a lot of colours here but if you look at the flowers individually, I can see a bird's body there, when you iron the template for the body, you're going to see only that colour and it looks solid but has texture in it. I hope I'm describing this right, really hard to put into words, wish this is a real class!
PJ "Shell Montage", " Scallops" and "Feathers" have areas that read solid & textured.
BM " Shell Scapes", " Aurora", "Babble" & " Shingles" - these are more geometric but there are areas where the effect is solid. It all depends on how big the shape of the applique is.
The next things you'll be choosing are the ducks, fish and frogs combinations of fabrics. Work from the swans outwards and you'll be watching the colours develop. When the animals are done, use the plants to increase the colours, see if you need more greens or reds or yellows or whatever. I did some minor embroidery for the water lilies stalks.
Go back to the background of the block, you'll see that you need to applique the reeds first along the top edge of the pond. These are made using the Clover bias strips maker 1/4".  Now, applique the pond onto the background. This will make it easier or you to decide on the colours for the other shapes.
Next, I would choose the fabrics for the trees, I used the PJ " Floralburst" and "Lacy" ( I think this is the name for it), other suggestions for the trees:
KF " Cabbage Patch", Diagonal Stripe"
BM " Petra" , " Plaids", "Pythons", " Sand Dollar", "Dancing Paisley" in green & pink - these are my fave colours and "Rings". I also love " Gone Fishing", there are large fish area that might be interesting to use as trees. I don't think it would matter if you go out to the other area of the fabric if your tree is bigger than the fish! I bet by now you've found lots of fabrics with useful parts.
The cats are next - I love the PJ "shell" and "scallop" fabrics for these but check out the new "feathers" - some beauties there.
Now that you can see a lot more colours sitting on the background fabric, choose fabrics for the 5 standard tree pots. I find these to be quite fun. Choose the lollypop tree, then the centres of the pots, then a coordinating print to go with centre and then the round things for the planter feet and the circles up the top. To name a few, look at the following fabrics for the trees: " Big Blooms", " Radiation" , " Parasols", " Shell", " Scallops", " Feathers", " Petunias", " Suzani", " Iris & Peony".  If you examine the big florals, you'll find a lot of things that might be suitable for the pot's centres - things like the centre of flowers or the smaller secondary motifs in the fabrics. Look at "ombres", "aboriginal dots" for the contrast outside area of the pots. Use a solid for the round things - in a colour that is in the pot.
Choose the fabrics for the birds feeding on the trees. Choose colours that might be missing from the whole picture or something that coordinate with the trees. I would pick a colour that appears in the standard tree and then choose something that is a contrast to it.
Below the pond, choose fabrics for the turtles, find a feature area in a fabric, might be centre of flower in the fabric, its not a big area, but it needs to be quite distinctive, also look in the " feather" fabric. Choose the lower bird's fabric, look at the Coleous, Feathers, Shells, I'm sure by now you've found lots of things for the birds.
Now that you've got most of the fabrics chosen sitting on the background fabric, fill up the missing colours in the flowers/ leaves around the pond.
Lastly, fill up the berries on the trees using a mixture of  strong reds, pinks and a sprinkling of other strong colours, these berries are used to add colours. Not hard is it? I did some outline embroidery around the pond, I think it is called " stem" stitch.

The Fountain.

The first item you need to choose is the arbour tree, I've used the "ombre" because you can make the tree go from one colour to another from the bottom to the top. " Ombre" comes in many colourways, choose one that you love, then choose the fabric for the fountain. This block is really easy as far as for choosing the fabrics. The hard part is the very many circles to sew ( what was I thinking?)
When I cut out the little circles for the fountain, I numbered it according to the "squirt" - so,  "squirt" # 1 has 5 circles and this would be numbered 1/1,1/2, 1/3 etc and I would put these in a separate little ziplock. I then gathered a collection of blue/turquoise shot cottons and use these for the water droplets. Iron the circles to the different blues and re - bag these before they get lost. Later,I would applique these circles with the freezer paper templates still on top ( save myself from marking them)
I love fountains, real ones as well as the applique variety. I did mine in " shell scapes" but I could have easily done in other fabrics, " Shingles" came into mind, also some stripe fabric like the "Serape"  or "Python" might be interesting.Choose a fabric that will go with your rose arbour.
Choose the fabrics for the 4 birds, I should have chosen something with a bit more contrast to the trees I think, mine kind of "merged" a bit! The pots shouldn't be  problem, put whatever takes your fancy. Don't forget the star in the middle of the fountain. If you've chosen a fabric with a feature motif that you can centre where the star is, you'll save yourself from having to do the star - or you can skip the star!
Now, the " roses" circles. As the tree have changed colour from the bottom up, you might like to keep an eye for the colours of the circles. In mine, some of the red circles are too close in colour to the tree branches, I think I should have put some green or strong yellows next to the orangey part of tree.

Till next time, happy stitching! I'll go over the Kitchen Garden and the Folly and perhaps some basic handpiecing ( I do mostly hand piecing). I'm not good at machine piecing but I think I can do some step by step tutorial for the easy blocks like the star and pinwheels. Or is this going to be too simple for most of you? Cheers, Kim McL


  1. Hi Kim

    thanks for the great turorial. I can't wait to get going. A question....on the pond, iit looks like there is a dark blue edging around the pond. Is that embroidered, or a separate fabric?



    1. Hi Deb,

      The dark line around the pond is the stem stitch embroidery using DMC floss, 3 threads.
      When I finished the appliqué, I felt it needed a bit more definition.
      Have fun when you start, let me know if you have any other question, Kim

    2. Thanks Kim

      I love adding embroidery to quits, gives some extra definition. Thanks for your generous sharing of information,

  2. Would love to see how you do hand piecing! I'm afraid I'm not very good at it; actually I've never really learned it. So yes please, the simpler the better!

    1. Sure thing, I'll do that next using the easy blocks, the harder ones works on the same line. K

  3. Thank you so much for the time and detail you are putting into the tutorials, it is much appreciated and a great help with the fabric choices.

    1. You're welcome! Please write if you need any clarification, K

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  5. Kim--You mention your "baskets" of scraps. Can you elaborate on how you organize all your bits and pieces? It seems each time I go to do a block (Lollipop, I end up with fabric all over the place. Any hints? Julie

  6. really enjoyed reading through your blog!!! great info too

  7. Hi Julie,
    I organize my fabrics by lines, so all the "shell montage" or "feathers" or whatever are together rather than by colours. Then, I'll be putting the geometrics in one basket, the big florals in another and so on. Usually I would try and put the fabrics back in the right place, however after a while, I ended up doing a big tidy up again. I tend to do the cutting up for the quilt in the one go, sometimes it is the whole weekend or the whole week and bag each block, I find that easier because I can remember where the fabrics are located.
    With the Pandemonium, I did the cutting for the appliqué blocks first and then all the pieced blocks a couple of months later. I did find that was harder, by then, I'd already forgotten where the fabrics are! K

  8. I appreciate your help, Kim, on how to organize the fabrics. My biggest problem is that they are SOOOOOOO gorgeous.....that I don't want to cut them.......or I am afraid I will find a place they would look better later after I have already cut it for something else!!!! Perhaps the solution is to buy each piece to fondle, one to use!!!!

    I am so loving this quilt. I am easily bored by repetitive blocks, but these are all so different. And even the pieced blocks look so entirely different done out of the various fabrics. May this journey keep being so enjoyable!!!!!

    1. Please see below, I think this computer is playing up, when I click on the reply, it sends me to do a comment, K

  9. I get a bigger yardage and have them made into skirts and those Bermuda shorts, that way you get to enjoy the fabric as is!
    I get bored too, which is why I tend to make quilts with different blocks and 4 different borders, K