RJR What Shade Are You: Where Do I Begin?

We often freeze in the face of limitless options – a new canvas, a blank page, a single vacation day, or a beautiful collection of RJR Cotton Supreme colour swatches. What will be the absolute best thing I can do with this opportunity? One could ponder endlessly… and then completely miss the chance to accomplish anything. So where did I begin?

For the What Shade Are You blog hop, RJR Fabrics invites designers to choose any quilt backing from an RJR or Cotton + Steel collection. I am not one to use many prints in my work, but Cotton + Steel’s Wonderland Collection were simply irresistible! The print I chose incorporates various characters and motifs from the story of Alice in Wonderland on a periwinkle background.

I wanted to depict the Queen of Hearts’ crown using one of my foundation-paper-pieced patterns — “Princess Cut” — scaled at different sizes. As I flipped through the Cotton Supreme solids swatch book, the rich reds really stole my attention and the saturated blues were a suitable companion, while a navy blue background was the perfect royal backdrop.

I wanted to juxtapose the paper pieced jewels with some traditional piecing set on point. These form smaller jewels in the crown. The top and bottom borders seems like an appropriate nod to tradition, as well as an opportunity to showcase the beautiful reds and blues together.

Background: Indigo #191

Greyscale, from lightest to darkest:

  • Swan #370
  • Argento #362
  • Silver Screen #380
  • Silver #125
  • Gale Force #282
  • Chalkboard #382

Blues, from lightest to darkest:

  • Carolina #313
  • Cornflower #94
  • Lancaster Sky #316
  • Electric Blue #296
  • Night #280

Reds, from lightest to darkest:

  • Beach Coral #355
  • Moulin Rouge #356
  • Scarlet Letter #325

From the outset, I had in mind that I would endeavour into free motion quilting for this project. I wanted the jewels to be “set” in intricate metalwork, formed by the swirls and leaves in the negative space around them. In contrast, I used dot-to-dot ruler work in the jewels themselves and switched to a walking foot for radiating lines that shone from the crown. Some wobbly bits and not-so-straight lines, but I was pleased with the overall end result.

As the quilt approached completion, I knew without a doubt where I wanted to have it photographed. Completed in 1912, Dingle Tower is designated as one of Canada’s Historic Places and is a prominent landmark in Halifax. The two large bronze lions at the base of the tower were donated by the Royal Colonial Institute of London in 1913 and their design was influenced by the monumental lions at Trafalgar Square in London.

One of my favourite things is coming up with parameters – constructing a design problem out of endless possibilities or nothing at all, so that I have something to work around and something to solve. I am so happy that the Wonderland gave me an inspiring starting point, and subsquently opportunities to explore designs and techniques that were new to me.

Do you feel paralyzed when faced with too many choices? Jump in. Start somewhere. At worst, you will accomplish something mediocre — and at best, something wonderful.

Photos: Shaeline Faith Photography

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