Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Discovery!!

I've made an exciting botanical discovery this week -- it's an exciting variation of the Carolina Lily!!
Carolina Lily is the challenge prompt for the second Project Quilt Season 8 project
(read all about it HERE).
Carolina Lily -- a traditional pattern with a difficult memory for me.
Many years ago, I started a Friendship group at my shop to exchange quilt blocks.  We met monthly and there were a dozen of us.  The third member to "present" a block for us to make gave us a Carolina Lily pattern that has some flaws so it was a hard make for most of us.
Then she quit coming after she got her blocks!!
I just have to think Carolina Lily and that memory flares up!
But I do like the look of the block and when done the traditional way with 45 degree diamonds, it involves y-seams -- easy for me to piece with Marti Michell's templates and the Set-In Piecing Simplified technique!
But how to give it a bit of a twist?
That Fierce Feathered Star I tested for Jesse (HERE) back in the fall must have been lurking in the back of my brain because I decided to supersize the block!!
I'm going to drag you through most of the process I used so if you aren't interested in it, just jump to the end to see the (almost) finished result.
I used the large 45 degree diamond template from Set E (8-pointed star) to make eight pieced diamonds.  The actual Carolina Lily (state wildflower of North Carolina) is orange and I raided my precious stash for three prints with lots of texture.
The piecing went quickly thanks to the trimmed points of the diamonds which take all the guess work out of matching. 
I do lay everything out carefully as it's easy to sew the wrong sides of the pairs together. 
No pin poking necessary even at this stage! 
If the seam allowance is accurate, this intersection lines itself up. 
The base of each flower is made from eight assorted green triangles using the large triangle template in Set E.
I arranged the orange prints with the lightest one at the outside points. 
Soon it was time to audition for the background fabric.  I had in my mind a print with a white or cream ground and green figures on it but as you can see here, I threw down as many options as possible and left the studio for the day.
The next morning when I returned, the prints that weren't working were quickly obvious and went back into the stacks.  I settled on a Moda grunge with a snow white base and some brighter white and soft gray highlights (at the top of the picture). 
The quickest way to figure out what size triangle was needed for the background was to lay Marti Michell's Small Diagonal Set Ruler in position -- the seam line on the ruler is lined up with the approximate seam line of the pieced units.  There it is -- no math required -- 7".
The advantage of this tool is that you use strips which often saves fabric -- always good since I'm often working with limited quantities of fabric that is no longer available.  Cutting them this way also assures that the outer edge of the triangles is on the straight grain -- very important!!
Perfect results!!
Time to create the lily pot!  Originally I was thinking green but then decided to try blue which is opposite orange on the color wheel so the best for contrast!  I was going to make it by piecing together 59 half square triangles.  As I was sorting through the blues, this beauty popped out from the bottom of one of the stacks!
Can you believe how perfect it is??
It's old -- a Free Spirit collection named Sarsaparilla -- over 10 years old.
It was easy to give up the idea of piecing all those HST's -- time is of the essence in this challenge!
The stem unit is a combination of piecing (the center stem) and applique (bias strips so they would arc beautifully).
When it was time to cut a BIG triangle for the pot, I realized I didn't have a large enough piece of the blue fabric, so it needed to be made in sections.  I also was concerned that the big floral area would be overwhelming so I made a square in a square block for the center of the pot to break things up a bit.  When I got the main part of the pot assembled it was too narrow across the top edge.
Everything had gone together so smoothly up to this point.
Time to take a break.
When I came back, I could see two choices -- start over or add more fabric.
Time is of the essence so I took the simpler route and added the outer blue strips.
The last thing that needed to be done was to calculate the large background filler pieces.  The 20" right triangles were easy but this large kite shape took some courage to cut. 
Happily it worked fine! 
Tuesday evening I completed the top and took this picture.
It's 59" tall and 48" wide.
L. michauxii subsp Amazonian
I left the studio for the day thrilled with the result but when I walked back in there on Wednesday morning, my eye went straight to that square in square block.
Not what I wanted!!
So out it came and a square of the gorgeous blue print replaced it.
Much better!!
All properly collected specimens must be labeled so I organized a label I could ink onto the background fabric using my light table. 
A little more searching through my stash found a backing fabric and I layered it up to take along to a retreat with friends this weekend.  I hope that by the time you are reading this, I've finished the quilting (it will be simple) and am working on the binding.
It's my hope that I'll finish by the Sunday deadline and get it linked up with the challenge #2 linky but if I don't, it's okay because I've had such a good time creating this piece. 
I intend to donate it to a local organization for a fund raiser . . . if I can bear to part with it!?!
Have a great weekend!

And just in case you ever need to name a new species, you can get the inside story on how to write it out correctly HERE.


  1. This is beautiful and I am really looking forward to seeing how you quilt it! Have fun this weekend. :-)

  2. This is gorgeous! Have a fun filled weekend.

  3. How beautiful! Quilting this will be a joy.

  4. Beautiful lily. Have fun quilting her.

  5. I love everything about this block. Thank you for sharing how you solved the problem of the too-small triangle. I would never have thought of that. Your final design is so very pretty. Whoever gets this is very lucky!

  6. Fanatic! you know how I love that lily.

  7. I so appreciate how you combine your passion for the outdoors with your quilting! And, how you stretch yourself with these new challenges. Seeing your process is so helpful, and often makes me look for more MM templates. :) Oh, the way you did the stems...ah ha!

  8. Wowzer! I would find it hard to part with too.