Saturday, August 31, 2013

What Really Works??

What Really Works??
It's funny how set in our ways we get... or at least I do! My personal rut has always been to check all my Yahoo quilt groups each morning as I drink my coffee and try to pry my eyes open far enough to see whatever current quilt project I'm working on. That's not happening, now that Yahoo has made changes that put my computer into lock-down-mode every time I go to their site, so I think I'll spend a bit of extra time on my blog each morning until they get their Yahoo Groups working again. In the end, we may all end up using our blogs to communicate! *grin*
So... what to chat about...
I'm currently working on a quilt top that's fighting me. I think I made every "mistake" that I knew better than to make on a scrappy quilt. Colors that were just a shade too light are "flickering" out, which makes the bold setting I was working with just sort of disappear into a jumbled mess. I totally LOVE scrappy quilts... junky results not so much! This one is "so-so", but I think it would have been spectacular if I had been more careful with my color values!
So... let's analyze where it went wrong...
I'm going to start with a confession. This quilt was started in order to USE UP some random HSTs and fabric strip pieces that I had in my fabric stash. I didn't worry too much about colors and sizes of my scraps, since what couldn't be cut one size could usually be cut to another size. And if you keep it random (not just toss all the pink fabrics into one row) then you can usually get away with murder on repeating some fabrics. If I had made this quilt before, or if it were being made with someone specific in mind, I would have probably either been careful to use more variety in my choices OR go more controlled (using all blues and creams or all greens and creams, etc.) but that wasn't my goal on THIS one, so I didn't fuss too much. Also, I don't have a design wall, so I either make my choices as I go, or lay a few blocks on the table to see what they look like together. Sometimes that's enough, but sometimes you don't see the mess factor until it's all done.
1) The star blocks. Notice how on some of them you see the star first, and on some you see the pinwheel first. Even that would have been "okay" if I had used some consistency in placement. For example, all the pinwheel-first blocks could have been put in the first round of stars, and the star-first blocks in the next round of stars. However, the best solution (in my opinion) would have been if I had just been consistent throughout, using all light pinwheels and dark stars, or all dark pinwheels and light stars. Sort of a "MAKE UP YOUR MIND, JEAN!!" kind of issue.
2) The log blocks. Okay.. this is COMPLETELY about color choices and values. In any scrap quilt, I like to add a few "zinger" fabrics that add sparkle or movement to the quilt. Unfortunately, the bright orange fabric in this one didn't add zing so much as chaos! If I did this over, I would still use that orange, but ONLY in smaller pieces... NOT in the bigger log strips! Or at the very least, not a big log in the center motif! To me, this just looks distracting.
So, in closing, I will finish this quilt.. it's worth finishing! BUT, knowing me, I will also make another one like it, using what I hope will be better choices. When I get the "replacement" made, I'll show a comparison of the two and see if I really did any better! *grin*
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan
As promised, I DID get this finished, but I still plan to do it again with better fabric choices.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Déjà vu

Déjà vu!

This should look familiar.... I did another of the Log Cabin Plus quilts. *grin*
I sold the first one the day I finished it, and I really wanted one for my own bed so I made another just like it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Keeping At It

Keeping At It

Sometimes "finishes" are a matter of just keeping at it. We don't always feel like working on just one project from start to finish, but that doesn't mean they should be left as UFOs (un-finished-objects) forever, either. For example, this morning I finished adding the binding on two Christmas quilts that I had finished quilting MONTHS ago. But now they're done, and ready to gift when Christmas gets here. I'm way ahead of the game!!

On-going projects continue to receive attention as well. Here's where I am with my hand pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt that I'm doing in 30s fabrics:
It's far from finished, but I'm making progress, so I'm a happy camper!
One of the ways I get so many quilts completed, is that I "bribe" myself. When I walk into my sewing room, I spend the first 15 minutes doing something I REALLY don't want to do. Maybe it's putting away stuff from my cutting table... or trimming up some random HSTs... or cutting out the binding for a quilt that is almost done. Once I've put in the time "breaking rocks", I reward myself by doing some sewing that I DO want to do.  If I have 3 different sewing spurts during a day, that's FORTY-FIVE MINUTES that has gone to less fun work, but it doesn't FEEL like it was that long because it was in 15 minute segments. I get a lot of completed quilts that way, and WITHOUT feeling like it was any kind of a burden. Give it a try... you might like it!
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan