Monday, May 23, 2011

Exotic flower quilts: Paradise Stitched, by Sylvia Pippen

Today, we begin a five-part series on quilts featuring exotic and unique flowers. To kick off the series, we are featuring several quilts from an outstanding and prolific designer, author, and teacher, Sylvia Pippen. Join us, as we sail the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and Australia, lands of magnificent natural floral beauty.

Plumeria floating on water, 22 x 33, by Sylvia Pippen, at Sylvia Pippen Designs

Sylvia has so many fabulous quilt kits and patterns on her website - Sylvia Pippen Designs - that it's difficult to select favorites. However, we were enchanted by the exquisite appliqued pinks, peaches, corals, and magentas of the delicate plumeria flowers as they rest gently on a water background. Unconstrained, the flowers extend from the water, into the border batik. Silvia has made this quilt so life-like by the swirls of Japanese sashiko stitching which follow the curved applique background, thus replicating the ripples and undulations of a quiet pond. As a time-saver, the sashiko embroidery design is already screened onto the background cloth,  so all you have to do is follow the dashes printed onto the cloth in order to complete the stitches. Included in this kit is the Hoffman turquoise batik for the borders, water, and binding, along with sashiko thread and beautiful color-washed fabric for the plumeria.

 Blue lady orchid, 14 x 18, by Sylvia Pippen, at Sylvia Pippen Designs

This quilt block kit  is part of Sylvia's new quilt and new series on Flowers of the Outback, featuring six  Australian wildflower designs. We love how this cerulean blue fabric is gently tinted with pastel streaks to make it appear as if the orchid blossoms are streaked with sunlight.   Sylvia is preparing for a teaching tour of Australia in October/November 2011, where she will give classes and seminars on applique and sashiko techniques. The black Kona cotton background fabric is included in the kit and really makes the vibrant orchids just pop right off the quilt. We think that black is a great neutral when working with high-chroma, pure jewel-tone colors, as it provides a perfect contrast. Sylvia also sells the pattern for this quilt without the fabric, so that you can make a 20 x 24 wall quilt of Blue Lady Orchid.

Heliconia with bamboo, 31 x 38, by Sylvia Pippen, at Sylvia Pippen Designs

Heliconia flowers, with their bright pointed leaves, are an important source of food for hummingbirds in the tropical rainforest. The sashiko bamboo design provides a graceful sturdy backdrop for these exquisite blossoms in shades of orchid, pink, and pale yellow. Note the magenta, fuchsia and orchid inner border of this quilt, which glows against the black Kona cotton and reflects an eye-catching color scheme of fuchsia with yellow, orange-yellow and pale green. This "Heliconia with bamboo" quilt can be seen at Sylvia Pippen's Gallery; there is also a heliconia fabric kit in "sexy pink".

Paradise Stitched: Sashiko and Applique Quilts by Sylvia Pippen

Having lived in California, New England, and having sailed in her own sailboat across the Pacific Ocean to her current home in Hawaii, Sylvia Pippen is living a fascinating life. In addition to being a very gifted designer and teacher, she is also a wonderful author, as you will see when reading her book, Paradise Stitched, from C and T Publishers. It provides numerous ideas for creating beautiful quilts by combining sashiko stitchery with applique, including tips for fabric selection and patterns. Also, check out Sylvia's first book,  Asian Elegance, which she co-wrote with her mother, Kitty Pippen.

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