Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where does all the yellow go?


My quilt started with the title, which at first was little more than a mental wail of desperation. You were all posting pretty photographs of the dandelions in your gardens and I was stuck in inner city London trying to find inspiration and wondering where all the yellow went in cities. Or indeed where the yellow in the petals of a dandelion went when it turned white.

The next week I went on the prowl in city centre Leeds. The answer to the first question became apparent - the only yellow in city centres is in warning signs of all descriptions. Later, feeling philosphical I wondered: what is the point of a dandelion? Maybe it is nature's warning flower. Warning! Life is short and fades. Notice it and enjoy it while you have it!

I snapped away with the camera and particularly liked the crusty texture on the pedestrian crossing sign. The dire warning of death by electrocution was right outside my hotel.
I was rather pleased my developing plan to do a dandelion quilt with no real yellow in as I hate yellow and, at Festival of Quilts in August, even got a friend to try to help me buy yellow fabric to even out my stash. She failed and I sayed in my comfort zone of autumnal shades! However, the weekend after Leeds, I was at the Great Northern Show in Harrogate and spotted this fabric which was so perfect it enabled my to move away from my comfort zone. The buttons just jumped into my hand and got me all excited.

I pieced the three strips of the background and appliqued the photos on with zigzag and monofilament for no other reason than that when I printed them out on one sheet I forgot to space them with a quarter inch all round to allow for piecing!

Each black column has dandelions quilted in monofilament with yellow in the bobbin. Again, by accident, the tension used on a sample allowed occasional tiny bits of the bobbin thread to peek through. I left it like that because it looked to me like the yellow was just at the last stage of disappearing into seed heads. I quilted on the yellow strip following the shape of the flowers.

Originaly I was going to use a photo of the seed head at the bottom of the falling petals but it ruined the balance of the compostion, so I used it as a label instead.

[at present Blogger refuses to upload more photos - I will post the label when it is behaving!]

My first art quilt, first photo printing, first use of monofilament and buttons. Loved the experience. Thanks Diane, bring on the next one Francoise!

11 comments:

StegArt said...

That center fabric is so totally perfect. I enjoyed your writing on not finding any yellow.

Gerrie said...

Wow! Helen. That is a lot of firsts. I love it. You have brought up the question that has plagued me about dandelions. Where do the yellow petals go? I don't ever remember seeing a transition from yellow petals to white seedy fluffs. So I am truly enjoying your title and take on this. The buttons are just perfect, aren't they?

Karen said...

Your quilt is another example of taking the theme and running with it. You really spent time thinking about this in a different format and I think it is refreshing

Diane said...

Yes! What they said! It's a great different twist on this theme, very thoughtfully portrayed. Where DOES that yellow go? I will be watching for stray dandelion petals now. Your quilted flowers with the bits of yellow showing through LOOK intentional... what a happy accident!

Nikki said...

I love the background fabric and the buttons. I think the zigzg around the photos is a nice touch. It reminds me of photos added to a book.

Nellie's Needles said...

WOW!
I like the effect of the bobbin color being pulled to the surface. However, if this is not desired, I've found that the top tension on the Pfaff needs to be set at "0" for monofilament and silk threads.

Françoise said...

Beautiful. So many good ideas and a lot of thinking went into this quilt. A great job.

Kristin L said...

Great job, Helen, of finding the theme even when you thought you couldn't find it. The variety of interpretations here is amazing. The yellow fabric and buttons just prove that when it's right, it's right, and stuff really does jump into your hands :-)

kirsty said...

You have encouraged me to try to be less literal in my approach :)
The yellow fabric in the centre is such a skilled use of what can be a very overpowering colour - somehow you've managed to use it in a way that has accented the photos rather than distract from them. I don't think I would have been so brave! Well done, you, it worked !!

Brenda said...

Where indeed?! The black framing around the yellow fabric and around your images adds to the impact of this confronting question.

margaret said...

Good to see those "danger signs" getting noticed! And what a satisfying, thoughtful piece.