Wikipedia: “A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level substrate, consisting of plant beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, which are separated and connected by paths. The borders of the plant beds may be formed with stone or tightly pruned hedging, and their interiors may be planted with flowers…”

I have been dithering and procrastinating about this one for far too long. So it’s a relief that I finally have the templates drawn and cut for my next Bee, Myself and I project, which will be known as Parterre.

I first had the idea a couple of months ago, in the middle of doing something else. At the time, I could only scribble down a quick sketch and some notes. It’s times like this when I miss the fabulous multi-coloured ballpoint pen I had as a child, with six different inks in it. Does anyone else remember those? But I digress. This has been nagging at my brain for weeks and weeks, like a tiny stone in the shoe, and finally it got too much.

Today, I sat down and made the templates, drawn out first on quilter’s graph paper, then transferred as individual pieces onto plain paper and spray-mounted onto firm card to make templates to draw around, with seam allowance included. Like the previous BM&I project (the Hatbox quilt), it’ll be raw edge appliqué, blanket stitched onto the background and trimmed out behind to reduce bulk. I won’t use fusible or glue, as you can’t then remove the excess fabric at the back. As before, I’ll add a layer of tear-away stabiliser at the back, layer all the pieces, pin and then baste by hand before stitching everything down. Labour intensive yes, but the result is a supple block with a tidy back, and no ugly channelling of the stitching. The blocks will finish at 10 inches square, and I haven’t yet decided how many to make! That decision can wait until I discover how tricky the block is…

I’ve done a pull of fabrics from my stash of FQs and larger scraps. The circular ‘frame’ around each block will be a slate grey chambray-effect glazed cotton. The backgrounds will be cream on cream prints, for visual interest with minimal interference with the prints. I have two reels of half inch jacquard woven ribbons (originally bought for gift wrapping) to form the stem of each flower, and dozens of yoyos left over from The Cloths of Heaven quilt, which will be the centres of the flowers. The leaves and flowers will be in contrasting or even clashing prints. This baby is going to be bright! I’m also considering putting a small button in the centre of each yoyo, and am still debating what colour to use for the blanket stitch; the red worked well on the Hatbox blocks, but I don’t want to cover the same ground. I’m pretty sure I won’t need to buy anything except perhaps backing material when the time comes to start the hand quilting.

I’m hoping I’ll get the first block done in time for Bee, Myself and I at the end of the month.

39 thoughts on “Parterre

  1. Love this idea. I’m working on my own parterre at the moment, but it is outside and will have real flowers and shrubs in it! I’ve managed to plant a couple of things already but it’s slow going. Also, Choco thinks it’s just one great big toilet created specially for her! I have a feeling yours will be looking beautiful long before mine….

  2. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I love the idea of the blocks and using ribbon and buttons to add more texture. It will be a labour of love and no-one is likely to pay enough to make it worth while as an earner but if it is for yourself or as a gift that doesnt matter a bit. I love hand sewing – sobrestful and meditative.

    • katechiconi says:

      No, this one’s for me, much like the Hatbox quilt that’s waiting to be assembled. I treat these appliqué/hand quilted designs as skill-builders as well as being able to please myself completely with colour and design!

  3. This sounds pretty amazing Kate. I like the thought of buttons added in too – anything that adds to the texture and interest of a piece is usually good in my book. I’m going to look forward to watching this come to life.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think a button at the heart of the flower will add a little ping of reflected light. The design is simple, but gives permission to use a riot of different colours and fabrics 🙂

  4. tialys says:

    A glimpse of some lovely fabrics there. I’m looking forward to seeing the first block emerge.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s not complicated, but it is quite a geometric and formal pattern, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that works against some fairly riotous patterns! Maybe once you’ve seen one you might fancy giving it a try?

      • tialys says:

        Hmmm. We’ll see. It will be something a bit different I suppose and I should have finished my pixelated sewing machine soon so……

      • katechiconi says:

        You could wait and see how the first block turns out before you decide. I’ll scan the templates just in case, and then I can just keep it in my file anyway.

  5. cazinatutu says:

    Yes, I loved those multicoloured ballpoint pens too. You can still get them, at least on the internet. But nowadays everyone seems to head for the sharpies.

  6. Kerry Davidson says:

    I love that block. My first thought was how much I’d like to make some, but my To Do list is too long at the moment. Looking forward to seeing them progress

  7. Lynda says:

    Reading that you made your templates was surprising. Not because it’s you, you can do anything, but because it never occurred to me to try. What a gifted brain you have! I look forward to watching this quilt develop.

    • katechiconi says:

      I really couldn’t begin to make something like this without accurate templates to mark the fabric for cutting. You also need to work out how and where the fabrics will overlap so you can add seam allowances to the relevant areas. I think this is one block where I might show a more detailed step-by-step for the assembly.

      • Lynda says:

        Looking at the cut out templates it looked too hard. Seeing your flat pattern made it look a bit more doable. 🙂 Something for me to think about and experiment with in my quilting journey.

      • katechiconi says:

        It’s achievable, or I wouldn’t take it on. Originally, I was thinking about piecing it rather than going with appliqué, but the thought of all those curves made me tired! I can do it, I just didn’t want to!

      • Lynda says:

        ” I can do it, I just didn’t want to!” HA! I hear that. Maybe on a smaller scale project, but your comments make it sound like it will be very large when finished.

      • katechiconi says:

        The blocks are 10 inches square, so for it to be a usable quilt it needs to be at least 6×6, wouldn’t you say? I’m thinking maybe 7×7 or 7×8, though…. We’ll see!

  8. As always I await the progress… I love all your ideas .. but then again I am biased 😃

  9. A very interesting and lovely idea as well as learning a new word. Excited to see this begun and the first block. Love your fabric chosices 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      What you see is just a very small sample of the teetering stack! I’m considering having both leaves and the flower in different fabrics, just to keep things interesting. I’ll see how it goes…

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh my this sounds gorgeous and I think I just about understand what you are planning. Would love to see how you construct a block.

    • katechiconi says:

      As I said in another reply, I think I’ll show a blow-by-blow of how I go about it – I need to make sure the templates work, after all! Hopefully it’ll turn out OK, and I’m hoping my mental picture can be achieved.

  11. mlmcspadden says:

    This looks like it will be a really interesting Quilt. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the blocks emerge.

  12. You say it’s simple, I say it looks beyond complicated but in the end, when you are done, it will be beautiful. Looking forward to seeing this garden unfold.

  13. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Completely different from the stars but I’m sure it will be another stunner in the end !

  14. rutigt says:

    Sounds great! Will be interesting to follow the progress!

    • katechiconi says:

      I know it’s hard to imagine from a description and a tiny little scribble, but I have a very clear idea in my head, and I’m looking forward to showing it to you.

  15. […] So, Block 12 of the Parterre quilt: […]

  16. […] So, Block 13 of the Parterre quilt: […]

  17. […] Here’s Block 14 of the Parterre quilt: […]

  18. […] Here’s Block 15 of the Parterre quilt: […]

  19. […] Here’s Block 16 of the Parterre quilt: […]

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