Old stained-glass window panes set in stone-grey abbey walls bordered with red tapestries were the inspiration for my Flowers Of The United Kingdom wall hanging. That was the original name because the flowers are the Scottish Thistle, the Welsh Daffodil, the Irish Flax and the English Rose. I started working on this wall hanging with the Scottish Thistle in February of 2013 and slowly worked my way through the other three blocks. The flower quilt patterns took me some time to draw exactly the way I envisioned them.
Welsh Daffodil was the hardest one for me to design but the easiest to stitch. I wanted a symmetrical design for these blocks and this little flower put up a good fight. This design went through a few iterations before I fell in love with this one.
Having visited Scotland twice very extensively and having fallen in love with it, I really wanted to make a thistle quilt block. This wild flower instigated the idea of a wall hanging in my mind. Unlike the daffodil, I knew exactly how I wanted to draw this one. Because of the nature of the thistle flower having a lot of corners, this one is the most complex of the four designs.
Flax for Ireland was the next one I worked on. I didn’t want a to make a shamrock for Ireland. After asking a couple of friends and looking up reference material, I came up with Flax. This flower was the easiest to draw. You probably already saw this one where I used this block for the first tote bag I ever made. I removed the yellow parts in between the petals from the original design since that was causing the block to have too many points to line up when stitching the two sections together. I wasn’t ready to give up on the original design yet, so I used this extra block for the tote bag and went back to my drawing board.
I ended up redesigning the block using Y-seam even though I didn’t know how to stitch Y-seam before I worked on this block. I looked up how to stitch Y-seam and trusted my ability to draw a pattern without ever having sewn using that technique before. Y-seam is really not as hard as I thought it would be and it worked out exactly as I envisioned. I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Last but not least came the English Rose because I had absolutely no idea how I wanted to draw it. The daffodil was a little easier to draw because of its limited number of petals, whereas I had to work with the shape of the rose. I like what I have here, it was easy to sew and I love the little gingham fabric I used for this one. It was a lucky find!
As you can tell, they all share some design elements. I also added some extra details on each side of the flowers, but they can easily be substituted with a single piece of fabric for simplicity. Each central flower block is 6.5″ x 8.5″ with seam allowance and the overall block measures 10″ x 10″. Some of you may remember my showing these finished blocks last year. Then I got stuck at how to quilt this wall hanging and it sat unattended in the cupboard until very recently.
One day I was reading in the living room and it started raining outside. As I saw the the raindrops falling and splashing, I had my quilting motif. I drew a set of 0.5″-spaced concentric circles and cut them out with my small rotary cutter. I used them as templates to draw out every single circle before I started quilting them.
Once I finished quilting the wall hanging, the name Raindrops On Flowers sounded so much better.
I took my time with every single part of this project until it felt right to me and I am so happy that I did. I have never hung any picture over our bed because we live in California and I am afraid that it might fall and injure us during an earthquake. After experiencing an M6 earthquake in August, I was very happy about my decision. That very day of the earthquake I had finished painting our bedroom a shade of light buttery-yellow and a mossy green accent colour on the bed-wall. Now I have the perfect wall hanging for that wall.
As my friend Susie said so aptly shortly after the earthquake, “I can’t help but think that this quilt that you are finishing, reminds me of nature and beauty… with earthquake shocks moving through them…”