What We're Making Day #4 with Nik

For Day #4 of What We’re Making, we are chatting to Head Honcho and provider of chocolate, Nik! Happy reading!

Tell us a bit about your project;
When my youngest daughter turned 16 she had a photograph taken of her in her prom dress. That year she also bought me for Christmas a book on the Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha. One of his illustrations in the book called "Woman with Poppies" reminded me of the picture of Olivia so I had this crazy idea of creating a similar picture in fabric using the photo of Olivia as the starting point. There is a product called TAP (Transfer Artists Paper) that allows a picture printed on an ink jet printer to be transferred by ironing onto any fabric. It is quite straightforward if your image no bigger than the paper size (8-1/2" x 11"), but the size I decided to make my image meant there was the extra challenge of printing and aligning seven different sheets of TAP. For the face and arms I printed onto a solid cream, the dress was printed onto a solid deep pink. The other fabrics were from the shop, including an Amy Butler print for the flowers in the circle and a Philip Jacobs floral for the foreground flowers.

The whole project (so far) has been hand pieced and appliqued. The longest part was the broderie perse - stitching the edge flower motifs to the background in the circular border - which, on and off took about two years. The foreground flowers are fused to the background with Heat 'n' Bond and at the moment I am stitching around the edge of these to make it more permanent.

Any hints/tips for someone who might want to make your project?
If you would like to try TAP be prepared to experiment. I had to throw away several sheets before I was happy with how the colours appeared on the fabric and a few more when I fused the image in the wrong place when creating the dress section. It is also a long-term project that I pick up every now and then to work on. I had intended to finish it for Olivia's 21st Birthday which is now two months away - I started nearly 5 years ago!

What or who got you into patchwork & quilting?
I have been buying fabric for the Cotton Patch for over 20 years, but I only picked up a needle in 2010. I liked the cover quilt on Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking. I ended up reading it and liked her approach. She uses bold designs and colour combinations with fairly straightforward designs. Let the fabric do the talking and keep the patches simple is definitely my approach.

What project are you most proud of?
My third quilt was a version of Pauline Smith's "Chelsea" quilt from the book Kaffe Quilts Again. I used a fabric collection called "Wild Garden" by Dan Bennett. I made it because I just loved Dan's amazing designs, but we ended up selling it as a kit and, with over 140 kits sold, I was very pleased.

What project was your biggest disaster and why?
No real disasters so far. My first quilt, a version of Kaffe Fassett's Red Floral Parade, contains some interesting adjustments, but I'm not going to point them out to anyone!

Who is your favourite fabric designer/brand?
It has to be the Kaffe Fassett Collective. It's colour therapy at its best.

What tool/notion could you not live without?
Clover's 4-1/2" Cut Work Scissors are excellent, sharp right to the point. I have a second pair just in case I can't find the first pair.

What current collection do you have your eye on and what will you make with it?
I have some small quilt designs I am working on. There are some new Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics coming out this Spring and I have my eye on a few of the designs.

Finally, any wise words or top tips for our fellow patchwork & quilters?
Don't be too precious or critical. An imperfect quilt is better than no quilt at all.

I don’t know about you but I am fairly in awe of Nik’s quilt. Good luck finishing it! Watch this space for his new designs as they may just become kits too. Tomorrow we are chatting with Nadine who is also making a quilt for her daughter.

If you enjoyed today’s post or have any questions, please comment and share!


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