Sunday, August 26, 2012

Choosing Fabrics for Landscape Quilts

Collection of small scraps sorted by colors
There is no wrong fabric for a landscape quilt if it serves your purpose, but generally choosing color-on-color cotton fabrics in a wide range of values gives you a very useful palette to work with.

 Large prints are problematic in a landscape quilt because they draw the eye to the elements in the print rather than blending into the overall composition.  Conversely, solid colors are generally too flat and end up looking like a paint by number picture.

Color on color prints, best for landscape quilt
I rarely buy anything other than fat quarters, and I save every little scrap of fabric left from previous projects.   I use these small pieces, collage style, to make elements for my quilts. 

For example, the section below is part of a river before it goes over a waterfall.  This section could be one solid piece of dark blue, but it would lack some of the dimension provided by the variety of fabrics.  I'm not happy with the part where the light blue triangle section near the top abruptly changes from a medium blue along a straight line.  I will either thread paint over the place where the two join, or use textile paint to try to blend them better, or, most likely, pull out at least one piece of the light blue fabric and insert another darker fabric.  All of these pieces are attached to a piece of nylon petticoat netting (not tulle).  So this piece is now like one solid piece of fabric, but it is not difficult to snip the threads between the pieces and insert another piece or two.

I'll explain this method of working with turned edged fabrics to create landscape elements a piece at a time in a later post.  

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