Design Challenge Two: Kim Andersson

Kim Andersson’s Up In The Air…

Up In The Air 10x10

Up In The Air 10×10

Up In The Air 5x5

Up In The Air 5×5

Up In The Air Solid Co-ordinates

Up In The Air Solid Co-ordinates



For this challenge I’ve packed my bags with the tools of a Juggler!

I’m sure that a lot of us, at one time or another, feel like we’re doing a lot of juggling and that we already live in a circus ; )

Recently I was researching some images and came across this book “The Circus. 1870s-1950s” by Dominique Jando (published by Taschen). I had no idea of the immense history and legacy of the American circus.

The badge says it all. Have you ever thought about running away to the circus? Photo by Karen Leigh Photography

The badge says it all. Have you ever thought about running away to the circus?
Photo by Karen Leigh Photography

“During its heyday, the American circus was the largest show-biz industry the world had ever seen. From the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, traveling American circuses performed for audiences of up to 14,000 per show and crisscrossed the country on 20,000 miles of railroad in one season alone.” (


Performer Lottie Brunn, 1949, image from The Circus Book: 1870-1950 (Dominique Jando)

Performer Lottie Brunn, 1949, image from The Circus Book: 1870-1950 (Dominique Jando)


Looking at books and online websites I came across some wonderful vintage images of performers on and off stage, filled with color and character. What drew me into the photos of the jugglers (apart from some very fetching costumes) were the fabulous shapes of their juggling apparatus (clubs, balls, hoops) and the shapes that they make as they fly through the air.

I wanted to show these tools in a way that portrays their energy and motion while they’re in use. I also played with the scale so that you can still see full shapes in smaller quilt pieces, but the larger images are graphic enough that when cut into they are still graphically pleasing shapes and pops of color.

Vintage photo postcard

Vintage photo postcard

Vintage Circus Poster from The Ringling Museum

Vintage Circus Poster from The Ringling Museum












I imagine that if you had a tent full of juggling performers, my pattern is what it would look like up in the air. Swirling lines in the background represent the swirling energy and motion and give a great background texture.

The colors I’ve chosen are a vibrant representation influenced by the colors that I saw in use in vintage color photographs and circus posters.

It’s the circus, let’s have some fun!

Up In The Air + Solids + Linen Hexy play.

Up In The Air + Solids + Linen Hexy play.

Again, I couldn’t resist seeing what would happen when my pattern and solid coordinating colors are cut-up into hexys and rearranged (I also added some linen, I love using linen as a neutral!).

I want to get stitching, I hope you do too!





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17 comments on “Design Challenge Two: Kim Andersson

  1. Fun theme, and I love your color palette!

  2. Kim Andersson on said:

    Thanks Darci! :)

  3. Kiera on said:

    Really original idea! Great color palette too.

  4. Shirley on said:

    The pattern has a gorgeous vintage feel about it as soon as you see it. The colour palette is beautiful and overall the design has great energy! Congrats Kim on another great creation! :-)

  5. Really fun pattern Kim! I’m really enjoying seeing the designs you come up with, and can’t wait to see you work on fabric :)

    • Kim Andersson on said:

      Thanks Rebecca! So far I have a test via Spoonflower.. Looking good! ;)

      • That’s great to hear :)

        I tried Spoonflower a couple of times but the swatches took about a month to arrive to Australia…then I wanted to tweak the colours but didn’t want to wait another month again!!!

  6. Oh yes…Fun with vintage flare! Wonderful design! Super playful with great movement and color! Another superb design Kim!

  7. I can so see this in an amazing gender neutral nursery!! Add a few little brown monkeys, some vintage building blocks, some circa 1960′s Fisher Price pull toys and what fun it would be without feeling circus. I would so add this one to my stash.

  8. Really like the movement of the layout and the different perspectives of the motifs. Good design!

  9. Jan Hamilton on said:

    I loved the depth of the colors and the design has captured the essence of the juggler’s skill!
    The design had a feeling of movement too !

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