Last month I had a vase filled with gorgeous tulips.

04-04-16 Tulips

I took many photographs of the flowers as they opened. This photo inspired the piece I am working on now. I chose to use a method that I learned from Denise Oyama Miller several years ago — she calls it broken color. I like the method and the results I’ve gotten using it before.

First, create a pattern. Transfer the pattern (reversed) onto fusible web, then cut the pieces out. Select fabrics and fuse the pattern pieces to the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the pieces slightly inside the pattern line. Place the pieces under the pattern on a piece of background fabric. Here is the pattern with my fabric selections already underneath. Click on an image for a larger view.

05-11-16 Tulips, pattern with fabric under

When all the pieces are in their proper place, fuse the pieces to the background fabric.

05-11-16 Tulips, fabric fused

Notice the lines of background fabric which peek between the pattern pieces — hence the technique name broken color. Now for the stitching.

05-17-16 progress

My progress is slow but steady. This is the first work of this kind I’ve done since moving to Portland last summer, so I’m a bit rusty with my execution. I’m doing more warm up exercises to get back into my rhythm with free-motion work. I also like to tie off my threads as I go — say, every 2 – 3 pattern pieces. I find that I get into less trouble this way. The back stays uncluttered so I don’t have to spend time getting those loose threads untangled in the stitches I’ve done for another section of the work.

05-17-16 progress back

Of course, one has to have the right tools at hand but when I stopped to do the finishing work on the first few pieces, I realized that mine were not in their usual spot on my work surface. Now then, where did I pack those things last year? Happily, it didn’t take too long to find them. And here they are:

05-17-16 tools I use

I found this needle threader on line years ago — don’t ask me where, I can’t remember. But this is the only needle threader that I have on my work table while I do thread work. I’ll be back with progress on this work soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed the final notebook cover, the one I’ve made for myself. 05-17-16 notebook done


05-17-16 open


I enjoyed doing the hand stitching on this piece. This one sits in my desk, waiting for the day when I need it.

15 replies
    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      Yes, it will finish as 12″ x 12″. I wanted a small format to get back into the swing.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      More than anything, I want my creative life to be fun. I know that trying something in a large scale right now would prove to be too daunting and frustrating. With experience comes wisdom — thank goodness.

      Oh thanks for posting the poem. I’m headed on over to your blog now!

  1. Nancy Karigaca
    Nancy Karigaca says:

    Fascinating method with beautiful results! The tulips seem totally alive and even moving! I forwarded this to my sister, the quilter, who also appreciated your work.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      Thank you, Nancy. I’m interrupted just now, but will get back to completing the thread work on the tulips. I hope to use the thread in a way that will increase the visibility of the direction of the pedals and the color changes in them. And thanks for sharing this as well. Love that word of mouth.

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