Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hǎishàng Dumpling --- Kim

Hǎishàng Dumpling   (33 x 27 inches)

Cotton hand-dyed fabric
Machine pieced, hand appliquéd, and machine quilted
Paint, wood, and bead embellishment

Design notes

I really enjoyed the challenge this month. I loved the colors and immediately locked onto a theme of 'noodles and dumplings and chopsticks' (oh my!) My first thought for the dumplings was to use yo-yo's but when I recalled a tool for making dumplings, I considered that as a potential shape to use.  The road map of Shanghai with the Huangpu river looked like a plate of noodles to me and that became a key element of the design. Another inspiration came when I was selecting and sorting the fabric,  it reminded me of the "Chinese Coins" quilts I've seen. I didn't have enough fabric to wrap around the right-hand side of the noodles but I'm pleased with the offset look. 

I did more hand appliqué than I had planned - the roads, river, and dumpling wedges.  With gold thread, I machine quilted the center stripe on the noodle roads and, after making a freezer paper template, I  quilted a Chinese crescents-like pattern throughout the  Chinese Coins. The chopsticks are held in place using Velcro. Finally, I added three red craved dragon beads along the bottom of the piece.

I selected the more poetic name for Shanghai, switching the order of the two characters, 海上 -  Hǎishàng (which is often used for terms related to Shanghainese art and culture) to name the piece.

Happy with my result, I was holding up the piece and my husband asked "What are those sticks doing on your quilt?" I told him they were chopsticks holding a dumpling. He said "What dumpling?"   

Yes, What dumpling? has become the alternate name for the quilt. 


  1. Totally fabulous, Kim! It stands on its own as a beautiful piece, and as an interpretation is completely original. I love the colors, am so delighted to see your design book, and am impressed by the research you did. (And what would we do without our literal-minded husbands?) Kudos, for sure!

  2. I, too, was fascinated by your concept book. I love seeing how a piece comes together, from concept to finish. The quilt is beautiful, colors and layout and your husband's comment is priceless.

  3. Fantastic Kim! Seeing the process through your book is a wonderful insight to how you work. The layout is very pleasing. Adding the dragon beads adds to it. Really impressive work!

  4. It's such a wonderful piece. I love the grid quilting, resembling Chinese streets and the fabric is a refreshing choice. It conveys the message but in non-traditional colorways. Love it!

  5. Wow- a stunningly original take on the photo. The colors sing, and the quilting really adds to the overall design. And I love your design book, wish I was that disciplined.

  6. I agree with all about your is fabulous to see your mind at work. This piece reflects that process perfectly. Your interpretation was unique and well thought out. The colors used & quilting were also unique and added immensely to the success of this quilt.

  7. Your design book is a project in itself. All my notes and sketches get stuffed into a binder sheet for each challenge. I was feeling good about "so organized". ;-)

    Kudos! All the elements from the photo are there and uniquely arranged. This is an inspired interpretation.

  8. Extremely original thinking and execution, Kim! Your style is alway so well planned and delightful and it came across superbly in this piece.

    Someone should write a book about what husbands say about our work!

    Nice, Kim!

  9. What dumpling indeed! Some husbands are just clueless. But that's okay. Very clever interpretation, Kim. I'm amazed at the notes you keep.

  10. I really have to echo what everyone said. The interpretation is very clever and very original. I also like how all of the elements are kept seperate but are also blended together through the color scheme and layout. This is a really good effort, thank you.


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