Thinking about poppies

I've been thinking about the different ways I could make the poppies for a while now. I'm very much a 'trial and error' kind of person, most of the time I can't tell how something will look until I've made it, regardless of how much I've planned it through and thought about it. All the time I'm adapting what I'm doing as I go.

That's one of the reasons why I'm so glad I'm doing the test piece!

I want a poppy that pops out when you first see the quilt, it should be the first bit you see and the bit you want to study close-up. It has to be totally different to the Soldier On logo - a point of difference which will make the logo stand out as purer.

So you can understand my thought process, I've dissected the components to deciding how to make the flowers:

  1. Analyse the War Memorial poppy - two layered, spiky black bit in center, very shiny, ranging from light pink to bright poppy red in colour.
  2. Analyse a real poppy - similar layered construction, less regular than the AWM poppy, more varied in colour, 'softer' in center.
  3. Study various methods of construction - there are many options, each with pros and cons, each with a different result. I wanted a method which meant the petals would stand off the quilt, much like Annemeike's work, not 3D, but certainly not flat either.
  4. I could paint the design, collage fabric and raw edge applique, 'needle paint', there were lots of ways I could have gone.

I've chosen to borrow techniques from BarkLife, so I'm going to use felt and wool fabric, purely for the 3D effect they give me when I'm quilting. I was trying to collage the fabric and introduce colour variation that way, but I'm unhappy with the result, not least because it makes parts of the petals seem raised when they shouldn't. So I'm going to paint onto the felt instead.

Here is the process I take for each petal:

  1. use greaseproof to make a template of the petal shape, allowing for any parts of the petal which need to be hidden behind other petals.
  2. cut out felt using template, adding a small seam allowance. Too much seam will make the shape difficult to turn right-side-out.
  3. paint colour variation onto the petal, then let dry.
  4. cut backing fabric to match the felt, then sew right sides together, leaving a small turning hole, then turn right sides out and press flat.
  5. Using a variety of different colours, quilt a simple design onto the petals, making sure you stitch close to the edge to start with.

Ok, so that's where I'm up to, I'll work out the next bit when I have the first flowers petals finished!

Here are a few pics so you can get an idea of how I'm going so far (the big white shape is the interfacing template for the next petal):