Fiesta Beauties Quilt – grand debut

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; center/right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; top right

The Fiesta Beauties quilt is finally finished! I am so pleased with the result.

Many if you know that I have been working on a series of quilts that have evolved from my Lovely Landscape quilt from the Maverick Quilts book.

Drum roll, please!

Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; lower right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; lower right
Fiesta Beauties Quilt back
Fiesta Beauties Quilt back
Close up of Fiesta Beauties quilt back
Close up of Fiesta Beauties quilt back

With how much work went into the front of the quilt, it seemed only fitting that I make a whole second quilt for the back side!

And of course, there is that dee-luxe quilt label. (see last post)

Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection

I created a series of pieces of the focus fabric, which is Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabrics (still my boyfriend, I might add!). I tried to focus the visual impact of each part by covering up images that I didn’t want.  Mostly that meant covering up partial faces and sometimes extra arms, elbows, hands or hats.

Auditioning a flower applique to cover a hat
Auditioning a flower applique to cover a hat

Then I created the circles for the edges of the focus pieces. All the focus blocks are in 6″ (finished) increments to go with the 6″ finished blocks.

Circles ready for machine applique step
Circles ready for machine applique step

Each circle was machine appliqued to the blocks.

Circles and focus fabric sections in progress
Circles and focus fabric sections in progress
Right side in progress - auditioning appliques
Right side in progress – auditioning appliques

I began to audition the border fabric and started cutting boat-loads of flower appliques.

Charras, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Charras, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Viva Frida, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Viva Frida, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Cacti, by Michael Miller
Cacti, by Michael Miller

After sewing the pieces together, I worked to integrate all the visuals in the piece by breaking the barriers of the focus sections and the surrounding blocks.

This is where the fun begins because there are so many ways to do this. Often I found myself “creating” new flowers by strategically splicing pieces of the fabric.

Estela needs a blue flower
Estela needs a blue flower

In this section I wanted to break the plane by bringing the flower out into the next block.

plain fabric ready with a blue flower
plain fabric ready with a blue flower

This flower proved especially challenging, as it didn’t have any whole petals to work with.  If I just removed the surrounding imagery, the flower would look chopped. I wanted a whole flower.

Flower with leaf
Flower with leaf

For the foundation, I made this cutout. By including the leaf, the applique will blend in better on the background.

Bring in an extra petal
Bring in an extra petal

Then I have to cut up a whole flower to get another petal to overlay.

Overlay the new petal
Overlay the new petal

Trim things up until it looks right.

Trim the petal if needed
Trim the petal if needed
Bring in the flower with the leaf
Bring in the flower with the leaf
Glue flower and leaf in place
Glue flower and leaf in place
Glue on the extra petal
Glue on the extra petal

I added appliques all over the place. All of the other appliques (except the really big cacti) came from other Alexander Henry fabrics I’ve collected over time (of course).

Here are some examples of the results.

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; middle right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; middle right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; left middle
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; left middle
First layer of quilting in - choose second layer thread colors
First layer of quilting in – choose second layer thread colors

When it came to quilting, I gave everything a once-over with a blue and green variegated rayon thread called Rainbows from Superior threads. In this pass I quilted the backgrounds and borders as well as the edges of all of the appliques.  Then I chose colors to go with all of the different parts of the quilt. Each flower, circle and applique was then quilted a second time with a thread of a matching color. I ended up using green, orange, pink, red and brown.

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; upper center
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; upper center

It’s getting packed up for its debut at Sisters next week.

I hope y’all like it!

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3 thoughts on “Fiesta Beauties Quilt – grand debut

    1. Thank you so much! I’m still having the happy feeling that we created at Bella’s Studio! Almost caught up and ready for a new art quilt! Stay tuned for blogs from Sisters!

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