|The Good Shepherd|
require certain fabrics, but my patterns can be made with an endless variety of fabrics and colors.
In the quilt above, I chose a green batik with leaves sprinkled all over the background. I took the blues and purples that were in the batik and used them for the shepherd's clothing and for the scrap border. I could just as easily have used altogether different colors. I try to repeat the colors found in the busiest fabric. To demonstrate this, I am using pieces prepared for applique. They are not sewn down and details have not been added with embroidery (such as the lamb's face and the fingers). I am just setting the pieces on different fabrics straight out of my stash - without even ironing them. This is often how I develop my color schemes. If I decide that it would look good except for one element, I can change that element and see if it works better. All this can be done before sewing anything down if you use my freezer paper method. (There is a tutorial on my website under "Getting Started". (Many people are familiar with freezer paper applique, but usually in their method the paper is ironed to the wrong side of the fabric. Note that in the method I use the freezer paper is ironed to the RIGHT side of the fabric!) I did not invent this method, but have no idea where I learned it. I just know that it works really well and makes applique easy!
Here is a "sample" of what it might have looked like in reproduction fabrics in softer colors. Because I have a black shepherd's hook I chose to add a black and white checkerboard border. I would probably chose to embroider the verse in black instead of blue.
I could have chosen to use a more feminine color scheme with a pink paisley background. I used the same pieces, but changed the headband to a checkered one. I used a large check in the border. I still like the idea of the verse in black. I love the contrast of black and pastel.
But what if you really like the look of the batik with the leaves? How about using a "solid" green batik and adding leaves with rubber stamps and acrylic paint? I have done this and it works beautifully. You need to iron it to heat set the paint after it dries, but it will withstand many washings. (If you have ever gotten acrylic paint on your clothing, you know that it doesn't wash out easily if allowed to dry!) Don't attempt to get solid areas of paint. Batik is not solid. There are areas in batik where the color is very subtle.
How about those of you who are afraid to hand applique? Did you know that you can chose to sew them on by machine? With this method, the edges are all turned under, so there will be no fraying after washing. You can use a tiny buttonhole stitch to go around the figures and sew them down by machine. Or you can choose a tiny satin stitch, although I find this takes longer than hand sewing!
I often find that what I planned to use does not look as good as I thought it would. Setting the pieces out like I did above gives me a chance to make changes early on before I have put a lot of time and work into the project.
So....have fun with your colors. Use colors YOU love. Use up fabrics that have been sitting on your shelves. Then let all of us in blogland see what you've done!