Today’s post is written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

This summer, I designed a Japanese-inspired quilt as a wedding gift for a good friend.  I chose a focal fabric with a large floral print (peonies – one of her favs) in the pinks and purples that I know she likes.  For the center panel, I selected several Japanese embroidery designs from www.em
and stitched them in colours that matched the chosen border fabric.  Close up of Japanese-inspired quilt centerThe middle panels included a geisha in a cherry blossom garden.  I finished this section with a free motion quilting that reflected the blossoms.  That part is a little difficult to see in the picture.

In keeping with Japanese style traditions, I pieced an asymmetrical border that included pinwheel floral elements. Japanese inspired wedding quilt in pink/purpleThe quilt finished at approximately 76″ x 84″ – a good size lap / couch quilt.   I hope that my friend and her new husband will enjoy it for many years.

Making some changes

I was quite pleased with the finished quilt but kept wondering what it would like in a different colour combination.  I decided to make a variation in the same design with some minor changes – a good chance to compare impact of colour.

To begin, I chose a different border fabric…20160914_ScrappyPinwheels (7)…and restitched the same embroidery designs with the new colour scheme.20170113_JapaneseClose

This piece, as the title suggests, is still in progress so this is just a teaser.   I have completed piecing but not started quilting.  Stay tuned for updates (which might take a bit – I have some other things to finish first and this one is just for fun).

Lesson Learned – Scrappy Pinwheels Tips

I liked the design elements with pinwheels in the first quilt so decided to keep that feature.  I made the pinwheels using 1/2 square triangles using this quick method How To: Make Super-Speedy Half-Square Triangles from Quilting Quickly with Jenny Doan.

20160914_ScrappyPinwheels (3)I chose one background square and one focal fabric square, which resulted in finished pinwheels like this.  Pinwheel sample from centered original This was ok but when I looked at them, decided I wanted to change the look so the flower accent was featured in each blade, rather than being mostly hidden.

After some experimenting, I got the results that I wanted by adding a frame around the focal fabric then cutting that square to create an on-point block.

When I made my half-square triangles with this block and a background block,  the flowers were more central in the wheel.PInwheel closeThis was the first time that I made scrappy pinwheels and it is something that I will be doing more for other shapes and patterns.

Watch for pictures of the finished project on our Facebook Page