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Paisley & Me

I used to dislike paisley.  Almost to the point of hating it.

As in had a negative emotional response whenever I saw it. 

I have absolutely no idea why.  I don’t recall a bad experience with it.  (I did, however, endure the “what were you thinking” fashion sense as a child in the 70s ...) 

Anyhow, one day I learned the symbolism of the paisley motif:  it depicts a sprouting seed and symbolizes new life.  If you can give me the back story or history of something, I'm usually far more interested in it.   This new piece of information made me look at paisley in a different way with a softer, more compassionate attitude.

Since then I’ve developed a sort of friendship with paisley, mostly as it relates to quilting fabric in my stash (don't think I'd ever have drapes made with it or a sofa covered in it).

For example, when it comes to choosing fabrics for a project, I think about more than just color. 

I also pay attention to these print elements – all of which contribute to the project's end result:

  • scale (small, medium, large)
  • subject matter (flora, fauna, geometric, ...)
  • direction (parallel, diagonal, random, ...)
  • movement (busy, quiet, ...)
  • personality (traditional, delicate, sweet, ...)
  • mood (happy, serene, vibrant, ...)
  • texture (printed, woven, glazed, ...)

For me, paisley can be very … bossy.

But sometimes it adds just the right amount of something to perk up a quilt. 

Regardless of my continuing hit & miss results with paisley, I don’t ignore it anymore. 

Sometimes I invite it to play with the other prints in my stash. 

And on a really good day, it makes its way into one of my quilts.

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Reader Comments (3)

hey i love your story about paisley
i appreciate how you look at fabrics and how they like to play with each other
happy blogging your buddy

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbernadette

I love the black and white paisley at the end of your story. It's simple and uncomplicated, yet has a certain Je nais se quoi. I hadn't heard the story before - thanks for giving me the "bigger" picture.

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterseaweedandraine

I have always felt the exact same way about paisley! Thanks for the new insight :)
Also, I love the blog and especially enjoyed getting to know you in your "About" section. Already feel like I know you a bit and we are alike in so many ways!! Looking forward to reading your blog!! Thanks for sharing :)

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNelli

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