So, I went to Seattle a couple of weeks ago. My first time anywhere on the west coast. I am in love. I simply adored the weather when we were there. 40s and misty/foggy most of the day, but somehow still bright and pleasant. It was just beautiful. So many shades of grey. The filtered light made all the flowers simply glow. Yup, flowers in February. But mild in the summer. What a lovely climate…
We went for a walk at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens one morning. We were still on east coast time, so we were up and ready hours before anything was open, which left us hours to leisurely stroll the gardens and snap photos. It was so serene. One of the first things to greet us was this spectacular witch hazel. Remember now, this was early February- so, it’s winter!
The crisp yellow against the foggy trees was almost too much- we could have gone back to the car at that point and I would have been satisfied.
What are those scraggly pine trees in the background? Larch? I think it’s the same one that is on the Oregon License plate. I love their irregular shape so much. Our boring old spruces with their perfectly triangular forms just can’t compare.
Anyway, the witch hazel. As if it wasn’t enough to find a sunny yellow flower against a foggy grey sky, each flower emerges from a base of deep rusty red. That little bit of rust does a lot of things here- it warms up what can be a very stark color combination, It adds a third color which can be useful when planning the design of a quilt, and I think it gives the composition a more organic feel.
Fabric images courtesy of Pink Chalk Fabrics
My quilt mock-up is obviously a pretty literal interpretation of the blooms. I think it would be fun to sew these free-form. Because machine paper piecing is just not my thing. It really wouldn’t take too long, right? Sew, press, trim, then add the little rust triangle, repeat. I have a quilty weekend coming up, so maybe… I think for this one, I would hand quilt some irregular wavy lines, sort of mimicking the branch structure, from the bottom right up to the top left.
I went back and recolored my Candy Hearts Quilt with these fabrics as well. Because that quilt was really bright :) Love this.
I also want to share a quilt I have admired for years, Witch Hazel by Ruth B McDowell. This photo is from her book Fabric Journey. It’s one that I have probably stared at for hours, trying to absorb all the fabric information that is incorporated into the work. I adore all the pale greys she used for the background of this quilt, especially the one at the top with the branches.