The story of my Chinese New Year quilt.
Our youngest daughter was born in Taiwan. So we get to celebrate Chinese New Year as well as our regular New Year.
Chinese New year is also called Spring Festival, as it falls at the end of the still
very cold and wintry days, but marks the end of those days and welcomes spring,
with all its new beginnings and fresh starts.
You can also call it the Lunar New Year since its date is set according to the
Lunar calendar. The Lunar calendar is still very important in China and South East Asia and all traditional holidays are still celebrated and many people calculate their birthdays according to the Lunar calendar as well.
The idea for this quilt was born in January of 2020.
I have to admit I always loved paper lanterns, they feel light, breezy and fun and always give a vibe of happiness, don't you think?
So I started my Chinese New Year series with all sorts of different paper lanterns.
There are 4 types of paper lanterns in this pattern.
The longer skinny lantern as you can see in the photo above.
A paper lantern that's shaped as a double trapeze.
The prettiest lantern of them all, called the palace lantern.
And of course the most popular paper lantern, the balloon lantern.
A quilt just with lanterns was the first idea, but it needed something more dramatic,
so I designed the dragon.
The dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good luck in East Asian culture.
They supposedly control water, rain, typhoons and anything that has to do with water. Dragons are everywhere all over East Asia - in legends, festivals, astrology, art, names and idioms.
Dragons are definitely seen as LUCKY and good, quite different from the evil, dangerous fire breathing dragons of most Western stories.
So here is my good luck dragon.
Just a dragon and lanterns didn't feel right and complete, so I added another very important Asian sign, the Yin Yang koi fish symbol.
It represents duality and harmony in life.
In Feng Shui the Koi is tied to the Yin Yang symbol and it is said to represent two Koi, one female and one male and shows that all things in life are connected.
How did I decide on the fabric and colors?
First of all, I have always been a huge fan of Art Gallery Fabrics, because they are the nicest finest cotton fabric. And when it comes to detailed foundation paper piecing patterns a high quality cotton fabric is very helpful. A light weight cotton just makes your life so much easier when piecing small segments with many seams. It was an absolute joy to work with Art Gallery Fabrics for this quilt pattern. The fabric series 'Matchmade' by Pat Bravo was a real match made in heaven.
And second of all my color choices depended heavily on traditional Chinese colors in general and for Chinese New Years in particular.
Red is Chinas favorite color which represents luck, joy and happiness as well as it wards off anything evil.
Yellow is an imperial color and represents power, royalty and prosperity.
So how perfect was the 'Matchmade' series for this quilt project?
I had to add a little more pink, since anything without a good splash of pink is just not me :-)
Therefore I mixed in some Art Gallery Pure Solids to add some more of my favorite hues.
I couldn't be happier with the fabric choices for this Chinese New Year quilt, I think it's the perfect combo. Don't you agree?
It took me about two weeks to finish this quilt top. The paper lanterns are fairly quick and easy to sew, they took me about two hours each. The dragon was a great project for a Sunday afternoon.
And while this quilt top looks really fabulous as it is, I knew I wanted something really special for it as far a quilting goes.
I am usually very content with simpler straight line quilting, but I thought this quilt asked for more.
So I called up Iva Steiner @schnigschnagquiltsandmore , and asked her if she would have the time to quilt this beauty. And yes thank goodness she did.
So I drove down to Luzern/ Switzerland and brought her my quilt top. It 's about a five hour drive from Frankfurt, but I loved the nice change during our Covid lockdown.
And all I can say, Iva did a fantastic job, her quilting is absolutely stunning and the icing on the cake of my Chinese New Year quilt, don't you agree?
Thank you so much to Art Gallery Fabrics for supplying the fantastic
'Match-Made' fabric series designed by Pat Bravo that made this stunning quilt possible.
And a special thank you to Iva Steiner for her stunning quilting in this Chinese New Year quilt.
So who is ready for a Sew Along ? Let me know :-)
Happy Lunar New Year.... Ingrid x
Oh, when I saw this new fabric line from Riley Blake Design called Ahoi Mermaids! by Melissa Mortenson, I just new I had to design a matching pattern.
This mermaid pattern comes in three different quilt block sizes and it will be perfect for too many quilting projects.
I think I need to make a mini quilt for my youngest daughter.
And just because these Mermaids are so cute and pretty,
here are some Mermaid facts or stories:
1. The earliest mention of a Mermaid legend comes from Syria.
The woman's name was Atargatis. Apparently she was beautiful and powerful and fell in love with a shepherd boy. After she had his baby girl Semiranis the boy died and Atargatis became depressed and very , very sad. So she decided to throw herself in the ocean.
But because of her beauty, the gods saved her and changed her into a Mermaid, with only her lower body being transformed into a fishtail.
2. The name Mermaid literally means 'woman of the sea'
The old English word Mer means sea and maid means woman... There we go Mermaid,
ahh woman of the sea :-)
3. The aquamarine is said to be made out of a mermaids tears
4. Seacows or Manatees were often mistaken for Mermaids.
Many lonely and maybe drunken sailor saw these huge mammals and thought they were Mermaids. Christopher Columbus was said to have seen ' ugly and fat Mermaids'.
I mean can you blame Christopher Columbus or the sailors? Months at a time at sea... but then again apparently only 5% of the ocean has been explored, so who knows for sure.
5. A Mermaids kiss gives you gills.
According to an old folks tale, if you kiss a Mermaid you can breathe under water.
6. The color of a Mermaids tail depicts her mood.
You be the judge, because whatever color a Mermaids tail is, is a clear sign of her mood.
And of course it totally reflects her personality... well if was a Mermaid what color tail would I have ?
Thank you so much to Riley Blake Designs for supplying the absolutely adorable
Ahoi Mermaids! fabric series designed by Melissa Mortenson that I used
for these adorable Mermaid quilt blocks.
So what color tail will your Mermaid have?
Happy swimming... ahh sewing