Inspired by my recent Photojojo Time Capsule, a collection of photos from my flickr stream from one year ago, I’ve decided what will be the next finished project. If you click through you’ll get a hint, but I really need to tell you about the designer who influenced the project and made it possible.
It can be easy for me to sew patchwork and take the fabrics for granted. I so often just put together designs without knowing much about the manufacturers or print designers and I mostly like it that way. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work that individual designers do for the big companies, but I haven’t quite worked out my real feelings about the manipulative marketing that goes on. This seems like a good topic for another day. But when I know that a single designer has, herself, handled the very fabric I am using then I get quite intrigued indeed.
Malka Dubrawsky is an amazing modern quilter who dyes fabrics using several processes like itajime and batiking. She uses bright bold colors and always manages to knock me out with the way she uses the fabrics in patchwork. You can see a gallery of her recent quilts and some of her latest fabrics at these links.
I first encountered Malka’s quilts in 2007 when this photo of her Numbers quilt became popular on flickr. It’s an IKEA fabric that she quilted creatively. But really it was the beautiful quilting stitches and the color combo on this XOXO quilt that got me hooked.
Take, for instance, her artful use of stripes. [These fabrics are all her own hand-dyeds.]
After a brief email exchange with her I learned that Malka was inspired by the quilts of the great Anna Williams and she kindly suggested some books for me to read. Here’s an example that those stripes echo. Anna intricately pieced all her patchwork, but Malka used a modern technique with similar effect.
A strong innovation Malka brings to the art of quilting is her manipulation of dyes on commercial fabrics. By discharging dye and overdyeing, she manages to tease out an amazing range of colors, patterns and textures that then come together in her quilts. I couldn’t resist investing in one of her Twinkle miniquilts.
Those circles are not pieced or appliqued, rather they were discharged and overdyed. I love her quilting stitches too, by the way. Malka’s talents are endless here! And she has shared her techniques in several magazines and most notably in her two books.
One can purchase yardage of her batiked fabrics in her Etsy shop. They are a bit pricey but if you’re lucky like me, you’ll catch one of her charm packs or scrap packs in the shop!
It took no time at all for me to try my hand at using this array of colors and prints together effectively. Using a charm pack, I played with some English paper piecing to make this hexagon miniquilt. (Finished in June 2009.)
And I challenged myself with just 8 charm squares and one hour of time and resulted in this tiny improvised miniquilt. (Finished in May 2009.)
After these two, and in the spirit of another scrappy community quilt project I was working on, Malka then shared a small collection of her scraps with me. Combining this collection with the charms/scrap packs and small amounts of yardage I had purchased from her, I began lingering in patchwork using them with a chocolate cotton-linen blend.
Having highlighted the individual fabrics and stressed myself out with precision piecing a ton of little squares, I then indulged in some scrappy improv to make a partial border. The quilt top was finished exactly one year ago.
My goal is to baste and quilt this top this weekend so I can share the final quilt with you soon. It’s a quilt that is very much influenced by and a celebration of the fabrics and their designer.