Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Those Kona Bay fabrics...

I should have mentioned in my last post where I got those fabrics from!

There's an interesting blog post about butterfly symbolism on the Kona Bay Blog.

The Nobu Fujiyama prints (the ones with the figures) were from Debsews. I also got the turquoise blue background print with the maple leaves and cherry blossoms from Debbie, but bought it back in 2006 I think - I seem to recall I bought it to coordinate with the cranes fabric used for the Yamagata quilt challenge.

The splendid black print that goes right across the shoulders came from Step by Step Patchwork Centre (they will be at Quilts UK, Malvern, next week and are the contest sponsors). I'd seen it online but realised the possibilities once I'd seen the whole width. Some of the Kona Bay scenic panels are printed twice across the width, but this one was printed with a half drop on the repeat, so I could use it without repeating the castle or the moon too obviously.

One of the most useful fabrics in this piece turned out to be the one with the pine trees and cranes, with large abstract fans with water swirls and seigaiha (ocean wave) patterns. I wanted to include pine trees and had another Kona Bay print earmarked for this, the January print from their Tsuki no Hana (Flowers of the Seasons) 2007 (?) collection, which I was originally going to use behind the seated princess figure. However, there wasn't enough contrast with the figure and I also wanted to blend part of the figure's original background with this extra fabric (so I didn't have to try to applique any really fiddly bits!), so I used a small plum design there instead. I had the same plum print as a backup in the more purple version, which I nearly used for the red mist clouds at the bottom edge, but that got replaced with a very subtle sayagata (saya brocade pattern) print, also by Kona Bay, which was a subtle way to include that pattern - one used by the Imperial court. The sayagata print (which I also bought in black and gold, just in case!) came from our local travelling fabric shop, the fabulous Dot Sherlock's Quilter's Needs (you can catch Dot at Chester P's & Q's meetings). I appears again in the uchikake kimono's padded hem.

Back to the pines - I bought this fabric because it looked like it could be useful for a project, but it didn't have the immediate "wow" factor of the Tsuki no Hana pine trees (which has masses of gold overprinting and looks just like a seventeenth century screen - Rimpa style?). In the end, it worked out better than my original choice would have done, as it doesn't detract from the central panel with the dancers.

Another print which turned out to be just right for this project is the lovely cranes and misty mountains I used for the fusuma sliding door panels.

There are a handful of fabrics that aren't Kona Bay - the red and gold crackle I used for the iko kimono stand (the brighter red makes the kimono's red look more subtle I think), the printed stripe used for the tatami mats (Moda), the black and white woven tsumugi striped kimono cotton used for the veranda floorboards and the butterfly fabric (not sure who made this).

This kuro tomesode kimono with a wonderful palace scenes (from The Tale of Genji) was the inspiration for the general layout of the quilt, although there was only space to have one room with all the appliqued dancers!

Reiko was very enthusiastic about the Nobu Fujiyama fabrics when I sent her an early "work in progress" photo, so I sent her a selection for a New Year present. I'm looking forward to seeing what she makes with her pieces.

This is how my quilt looked in the very early stages -

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