||[Aug. 16th, 2010|10:39 am]
I didn’t get nearly as far as I’d hoped last week on the Sea and Shore quilt. The light squares for the small half-square triangles are about two-thirds marked. Got more done on small chores on the fifthwheel, some organizing of cluttered cabinets and drawers, replaced the ancient and grease-stained painter’s tape which marks the center point of the hitch with fresh reflective tape, that sort of thing.
I did manage to lay out all the darker accent squares for the small half-square triangles and sort them into sets. Failed to think about getting a photo of the sets all laid out showing each color, which was pretty in its own right. The photo above is the stacked sets laid out on the table, but it gives you an idea of the whole. Each set is ten squares, two each of five colors, which will make twenty half-square triangles to go on four blocks, five triangles to a block.
I love scrappy quilts, and never use one blue where six or eight will do. But I’m not free-thinking enough to do the scrappy quilt thing often talked about, where one puts darks in one bag and lights in another and rummages out one of each, sewing at random. For every quilt I make, there’s a system to let me lay out blocks in an attractive way, one that furthers the idea of the quilt. I usually lay out my pieces by color, all the reds, greens, blues in rows, then pick the pieces for each block according to the system for that quilt. (In a nod to scrappiness, I don’t go so far as to order the rows, though.)
For example, in the double wedding ring quilt currently waiting to be quilted, I wanted the scheme to read primarily blue, so each arc had to have two blue-ish pieces in it. After selecting those two, I went through the other colors, making an arc that looked good as a set. For a log cabin that was to be primarily earth tones, each dark side had to have two browns or golds, with the rest of the colors to compliment them. (Photos of both are in the quilting photo gallery, if you’re interested.) For this quilt, there wasn’t really a color that was emphasized. The accent colors are all dark, some dull, some bright. When selecting fabric for them, I was thinking about colors of things you find at the beach: wood, rocks, seaweed, glass tumbled by the sea. The occasional beach ball and signal flag snuck in there too.
I don’t normally use muted colors, but the quilt this one is based on does. I loved the look of it, so took up the challenge of picking fabrics a bit outside my comfort zone. This was helped by the fact that the first few blocks were made from the store’s kits. I took them as a model, kept my idea of “things on the beach or the ocean” firmly in mind, and made my selections from stash. The next step was to divide them into sets. The key here was balancing bright and dull colors. Quilters know all about these balance games. If a quilt is all darks or lights, the beautiful pattern doesn’t get a chance to shine. All brights looks as flat (or confusing to the eye) as all muted colors. It’s the highs and the lows together that make a quilt lovely.
p.s. On that note, while I was pondering this write-up I came across a couple of essays from Patricia Wrede’s blog, talking about tempo in writing (pacing and rhythm.) If you swap out fabric for scenes and quilt for story, you have exactly what I am trying to get at, which was highly amusing to me..
Check out other quilter’s thoughts and works in progress on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday.