Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall! My Favorite Season for Quilting

Detail, a Touch of Fall

 Fall in here in Wisconsin is everyone's favorite season. Why? Well it isn't just because of Packer football, or because 99% of the biting flies and mosquitoes are dead, or because those days of 95 degrees and 70% humidity are gone. Nor is it just because fresh apples are plentiful and our homes smell like apple pies and homemade apple cider.  Fall is beloved because of the colors - such glorious colors as the maple trees turn bright red and the aspen and birch turn a warm golden yellow. 

Touch of Fall

 I bought an apparently ugly pair of cheap tennis shoes yesterday. (You know they are ugly when even your husband can't say anything nice about them!) So while I'm soaking them in a dye bath I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite fall quilts and some photographs to inspire and maybe help you to make your own autumn quilt.

Along a trail at Devil's Lake State park (Photo by Cathy Geier)
 Fall colors in your quilts as in nature don't always have to be all golden or red. Many many times the predominate color is still green.  This means that that red and golden foliage is given more of a visual kick when you put it next to still green trees.  This is what I had in mind when I made Touch of Fall.

Keewenaw Peninsula, Michigan (Photo by Cathy Geier)

Fall can also be rich golden yellows and browns. In the photo below this color scheme would be more difficult to make into a successful quilt.  Why? Mainly because there are just 2 colors in this photograph and the quilted landscape might turn out a bit boring.  If I were to use this photo, I'd have to bring in another color - maybe I'd add more green to the sapling in the middle so the quilt isn't so uniform.

Devil's Lake State Park (East Bluff Trail, photo by Cathy Geier)

Some fall photographs get really over 'enhanced' and look almost neon don't they?! But, I wanted to show you another type of fall scene; the scene at peak color when most of the trees are red and golden.  This type of scene inspired Autumn Triptch, my next quilt to show you. 

 I think it is important to add focal points in landscape quilts. Add something to catch the viewer's eye and keep them lingering a bit. 

Autumn Triptych
 In Autumn Triptych the focal point is that sapling. This watercolor quilt was a project from my first book and it uses less than 10 fabrics.  You can see that I chose to made a quilt saturated with red and gold fabrics against a green background.

 Birches is another watercolor quilt. I love the look of white birch or aspen trunks tucked into rich warm reds and golds.  I stuffed each trunk with a bit if batting by the way. I didn't want the background seams to show through after the quilting.

 Another of my favorite fall scenes is when the rich foliage of the changing trees is seen against gray fog. We get a lot of gray foggy days here in the Midwest.  All the colors become muted on those days - until out of the fog you come across a maple or oak tree. I love scuffing through the leaves and taking quiet walks on those days!
Foggy Fall

 Yes, landscape quilts can get abstract a bit!  The foggy color palette on those misty days here was what inspired my quilt Foggy Fall.  Simple vertical strips with warm red and color foliage comprise this quilt.  (It is a project in my second book by the way.) 

Detail, Foggy Fall
 Of course, fall trees along lake shores make great inspiration!

Autumn on the Lake
I sold this quilt a few years ago and still miss it.  One of the really fun things about watercolor landscape quilts is that 'anything goes'.  I cut up all kinds of stuff for this quilt; sunflowers, calico prints, blue sky florals, and of course leafy fabrics. I put them all together to make a scene reminiscent of Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore along Michigan's upper peninsula.

I hope where ever you are, that you are enjoying a great fall season. I'll be back soon - I leave again for another week. In the meantime I'd better sign off and check my shoes!

Happy Quilting Adventures! (Comments welcome).

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