Portraits of Africa – Playing with Colour

2 weeks ago in our newsletter, we introduced you to our new collection – Portraits of Africa.  This week I have been working on creating a beautiful quilt and vest with these great designs.

african portraitquilt500

Being the planner that I am (not), I created the collection before I thought about how I would put the designs together.  I always thought I would use an animal print, but as soon as I placed a black and white zebra print fabric around the blocks, it looked really wrong.

I probably spent a good hour at my local fabric store yesterday, looking at different options to highlight these beautiful designs.  I tried bamboo prints, animal paws, and I think every colour from the rainbow.  I was about to give up, when I walked past a row of batiks that I had dismissed as being too colourful.  I suddenly noticed that there was a zebra print in one of the batiks, and I immediately fell in love.  I really like that the fabric includes all of the colours we used in the animals, and when I look at the quilt completed, it gives an African sunset appearance.

Initially I had planned on using my double miter ruler and encasing each block in the fabric, before joining the blocks to make it look like they were floating.  I stuffed up two blocks of these, before I realized I was on a time crunch (need the quilt for tomorrow), and I needed to get moving.  So instead I used a simple block/border technique.  I trimmed each quilt to 11×15 inches, and used a 3 inch strip between the blocks.  With a 4 inch border to complete the quilt, I am so happy with the results.

At the same time, our next door neighbors are selling their house, and I have been checking it out online.  They have professionally styled their house for sale, and on their wall is a gorgeous colourful zebra print.  From what I have seen online, this is a trend at the present time, African Animals in really bright and colourful scenes.


my neighbors home, with the inspiring zebra wall print

When I initially designed the Portraits of Africa, I only saw them in Autumn colours.  Having seen this canvas art, I was inspired to try a more dramatic pallete.

I have embroidered the Zooey the Zebra design on the back of a Denim Vest.  I have used a much more vibrant colour pallete, with a fluroescent pink, and turquoise blue/green.

The only issues that I encountered when I was embroidering the vest was the amount of stretch in the vest fabric.  Thankfully the design helps with this, and as soon as I have removed the excess stabiliser, any minuscule puckering disappeared.


my finished vest – gorgeous bright colours, and perfect for Spring.

Grace (12 year old daughter), is so happy with how these ones turned out, that she has said she would be happy to have this as a quilt on the bed of her new room.  This is a high compliment, and over Christmas I will be working on this for her.

I hope you have been inspired by this colour story, and are as eager to try these new designs as I was.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

Related Posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: