Saturday, January 19, 2019

adventures book tour: Fireflies


QUILTER: Rachael Dorr
QUILT: Fireflies

Tell us about yourself! What’s something people might not expect (or already know) about you? 

I'm a British import, a mother of 3 young kids, 2 dogs and 2 bunnies. 

Can you provide some background on how you approach quilting customer quilts generally? What types of things do you typically consider?

I keep everything the quilt owner wants in mind. We talk about what the quilt is for and what sort of effect they want - and then I do everything in my power to make that happen for them. You can add a lot of things by the way you quilt something - from the batting you use to type and color of thread.

What influenced your quilting choices for this particular design?

Well you said you wanted the bums to glow!!! ...... so I decided how I was going to make that happen first (thread graduation in rings & a touch of metallic thread.) They are fireflies and typically you would see them at dusk in a garden so I started with some leaves/foliage at the top (feathers.) And then I just played. I love to play in negative space - so from a distance you can't really see anything but the quilt design but up-close there is a whole other layer to the piece. My biggest love is texture - and I love the way free motion quilting can make this happen. 



Were there other ideas that came to mind? 

Probably but it was such a long time ago I but can't remember!! 

Any specific tips or resources for our readers who might be struggling with how to quilt this (or other) designs?

Gosh - I think all these choices are so personal. I think free motion quilting can be quite daunting especially when we have a big quilt in front of us - but it isn't as scary as it seems it will never get easier if you don't practice. Think about how long it took you to learn to write and how much effort and practice you put in as a child - it requires the same amount of regular practice - so my advice would be just to do it - by the time you have finished your first quilt you will be 99% better than when you started. Choose a neutral thread that blends into your quilt top to start - and just go for it. 
To work out design ideas I take a photograph of the quilt top, photocopy it and play with designs by drawing on the photocopy. By the 4 or 5th run you usually have a clear plan. It also helps you work out anything that definitely does NOT work! Because unpicking sucks - and you want to avoid that!!!!





Every quilting design is a lot less complicated than it may seem - 99.9% of all designs are constructed from 5 basic shapes that we use everyday in our writing or sketching - a straight line, an arc, a loop, an s shape and a hook - you can make literally 100's of patterns out of just one of these elements - imagine how many patterns you can make is you combine two or more.




You can change the look of a simple design by playing with scale (think tiny pebbles to big happy circles) or direction (lines are great for playing with direction) or by combining elements or by play with spacing. 





Resource wise if you are lost for ideas - Angela Walters, Christina Cameli and some of Leah Day's designs are great places to find beginner ideas and clear instructions/tutorials. When you are feeling more confident you can start trying Leah Day's more complex designs motifs. Krista Withers, Judi Maden, Karen McTavish and LuAnn Kessi all have amazing design ideas you can get a lot of inspiration from. Pinterest is an endless resource of ideas too and I love 2nd hand books too.









What machine do you quilt on?

I have a 12 year old Bernina and a Handiquilter Fusion - I can not tell you how much I love both these machines.

How can our readers keep up with you on social media? (website, blog, instagram, etc.)

Best way to follow my work is to follow me on instagram @rachaeldorr


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