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.
 
 
 


13 comments:

  1. Jean, it's gorgeous! as all your scrap quilts are gorgeous and the settings and borders are always unique and special. You really should publish a book, dear. and what are those two quilts popping out in the background of the photo? (g)

    ReplyDelete
  2. P.S. Forgot to mention.........you really do deserve a design wall.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL! Thank you, Kat. I wish I had ROOM for a design wall. This quilt has me thinking of packing away a lot of stuff just to make space for one... but I doubt that I will. *wink*

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh boy Jean, the minute I saw this quilt, the first thing that popped into my head was "wow, that is spectacular". When you said it was so-so, I couldn't help but shake my head :) I love it as is and seriously love the all the tips you give on scrappy quilts. I'm with Kat, write a book, all your tips plus some of your patterns, your followers really want one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Sue! I don't think I'd begin to know how to write a book. I really wanted to do one... ebook style, but I don't even know what software is used to convert .doc and .pdf files to that format! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jean, thank you for the tips! It helps me a lot as I do mostly scrap quilts and I see what you are saying about the long strips of orange. I do love this quilt and appreciate you sharing your insights.
    You do the most amazing things with scraps!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Diane! I think scrappy is magic... for the most part! Almost anything works. But yes, there are a few fabrics that will overpower everything else if you aren't careful to keep those pieces small. A lot of what I "know" (yeah... I R an Expert... NOT!) came through trial and error. Lots and LOTS of errors!

      Delete
  7. Jean, it's beautiful! I didn't notice any of those things until you mentioned them. The stars look fine--it adds interest. But I may tend to agree with you on the orange--I know it would probably bother me and be distractin. Maybe the quilting can help to tone it down.
    Anyway, I still think it's a lovely quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jean, I really like how ones eyes will focus on things and then see something else in a different block. if you want to sell the top let me know, I may be interested.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jean, I really like it. The stars don't bother me although you have a good point about them. The orange I agree with you - the little bits of orange work. I'm bookmarking this in my how to scrap folder - thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I see what you are talking about with the orange. if it wasn't in the center block, it would look out of place in the rest of the quilt. a smaller piece, ok, but that block sets the stage for the rest of the quilt. i don't mind the stars at all, just a wonderful scrappy quilt!!!'i think you are "over thinking" the quilt and trying to make it a controlled quilt. it is scrappy!! let it be that.JMHO

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jean, we are ALWAYS our own worst critics!! I think that your quilt is absolutely spectacular - I would never have noticed the 'troubles' if I hadn't read them lol. I think that the subtleties add character to the work, and I kinda like the orange! Can't wait to see the 2nd one :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. LOL! Thanks, Carol. It was intended more to teach the art of subtlety to new quilters doing scrappy projects than to say my quilt top wasn't any good. Like I said, I'll go ahead and finish it because it IS worth finishing. I just know it could have been even better if I had watched my color placements. People who never do scrappy quilts are sometimes overwhelmed when it "doesn't look right", but they can't figure out WHY it doesn't. :-)

    ReplyDelete