Balinese Travels

My brother-in-law and his partner travelled to Bali a couple of years ago, and brought back some fabrics they’d purchased in a factory there. Batiks – but different from the sort we usually see here. The designs look handpainted, and are busy and intricate – not repeating patterns, but more like a sprawling tapestry across a length of fabric. Meant more, I think, for shirts, skirts, scarves, curtains.

I offered to make them a quilt using some of their fabrics, and they happily accepted. Um, but that was last year already! Yikes! I made it my goal to get their quilt finished by the end of February this year.

starting to cut hexes.jpgTheir Bali batiks were mostly black & golden brown, with a couple of green/white fabrics and a purple/white. My first challenge was to think of a pattern – I settled on 8″ half-hexes. I thought they would be big enough to show off some of the patterning in the fabric, and a little more exotic than squares and rectangles.

Then I had to add a fair number of fabrics to the ones they’d provided, to get more variety and value differences. In this picture, I’m starting to cut out half-hexes, and auditioning some fabrics to go with them. I was trying out that purple Japanese fabric in the fourth row down, but eventually discarded it. It was turning out to be the only Japanese print in a sea of batiks, and the difference was drawing my eye too much.

starting to lay out.jpgIn this next picture, I’m randomizing the blocks. You can see I’ve pulled that Japanese fabric, and I’ve mixed up the pairs (no longer pairing dark green and light green as two sides of one hex – I thought separating them would help distribute colour across the quilt better).

I had to cut a total of 288 full half-hexes, plus another 48 partial halves (to make a straight edge along top and bottom). But the end of the evening, I was tired!

ready to sew.jpgA good night’s sleep, and I was back at it this morning. I got all the halves cut, and worked on laying them out in a pleasing way on my design wall.

I like the light/dark half hex arrangement. The colours are subtle and earthy, and remind me of sunlight sparkling on the dappled ocean, or of wooden beads, perhaps. I hope they will like it, too!

Now to sew… once I start piecing, the seams will shrink up the fabric so it fits my design wall better. The half-hexes means it will be easy to piece columns, then join the columns to complete the hexes and make the top. Okay, off to sew!




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