Caribbean Colour Story

Just back from the islands… and I’d forgotten how much Trinbagonians (dwellers of Trinidad and Tobago) love colour.  Even unexpected places have colour… the underside of the new overpass near Champ Fleurs in Trinidad has been painstakingly painted in deep cobalt blue. Contrast that to the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, which is shedding chunks of concrete, and is a dull, lifeless, paintless concrete grey.

Tobago residents, in particular, like painting store fronts and home bright and bold colours. It seems that shades of yellow, orange and green are “in” colours for residential homes, and for commercial properties, anything goes! I saw colour combinations such as burgundy rooftops with pale terracotta walls, sea foam green and yellow, cranberry accented with pale pink. This (of course) got me thinking of new quilts to sew, and new fabric and colour combinations 🙂


We spent a lot of time on the beach, but I enjoyed traipsing around the island, taking in the lush green foliage, blue waters and vibrant coloured flowers as well. Tobago is truly a paradise island – gorgeous and inspiring!



Patchwork Plotz

Finally, I’m finished with the green quilt for my friend, whose son recently turned one year old. The patchwork reminds me of garden plots, and although I did not use baby themed fabrics, it makes a pretty baby quilt. it’s about 40″ x 40″ in size, just about the perfect size for the car, or for travel.



Most of the fabrics came from Sew Sisters, except 4 (the 2 borders, the deep green squares and the orange binding), which were part of a quilt kit from Mad about Patchwork… I love the unexpected impact of the deep brown inner border and bright orange binding, against a palette of cooler greens, blues and lavender shades.

Suburban Dis”track”tion

I finally finished the subway quilt, aka suburban dis”track”tion, in March 2012 – several months after Mel’s birthday. So it was indeed a surprise for her when we unveiled it outside on the steps of the Keg, just before dinner. She loves the colours, and snuggled up with it that night, in spite of the fact that it was quite warm that week.

this quilt gave me a lot of insight into the way I create. i was inspired by oh fransson’s subway quilt for the idea. I used EQ7 to design my own version, but then redesigned it en pointe. the resulting quilt was supposed to have no borders, but I eventually opted to reduce the design size and float it in a solid charcoal grey, with a thin hot pink border. I’m surprised at that decision, because borderless quilts feel more modern to me, and I thought I was leaning more to a modernist sensibility!

the colour palette kept changing. I had charcoal grey, pale grey, purple and yellow in mind. purple turned out to be difficult to find, so I used berry colours instead. i omitted the pale grey, because all the pale greys seemed brownish next to the charcoal. then I added blue. then I found this great green African print at the York Heritage Guild quilt show at the JCCC, and decided to mix that with some green batiks from my stash. and so each subway line took on a life of its own. I love the hot pink with yellow polka dots, used where the lines crossed, and in the border – this reminded me of the platform edges in the Toronto subway stations, made of a kind of yellow rubber, embossed with yellow dots.



the quilt back was influenced by a need for storage space, a desire to include my favourite Ohio star block, and economical matters! My stash is getting huge, so I cannot afford to store all the excess fabric that remains after I finish a quilt. I made a conscious effort to use all my scraps, including some tonga treats batiks left over from a previous project. I had not used the purplish pink flame fabric on the front, so incorporated it into the back, along with more hot pink.

I kept getting distracted by exposure to the quilting world.. every expedition to the quilt shop, the quilt show, the creativ festival, new quilt magazines… all these influenced creative decision making. I was also distracted by life – the last 6 months have been very busy, including a trip to Tobago, where the blue skies and aqua waters influenced my decision to include blue batiks.

We snapped these pictures outside near a condo construction site close to Yonge street – it was pretty warm in march, although the sky was cloudy that day. I like this suburban setting – I live near one of several construction zones for the Toronto subway expansion right now, so it feels very much like home to me 😉