How’s everyone enjoying National Quilting Month so far? I’m secretly looking forward to the snowy weekend here in Colorado so I can spend a nice long stretch of time in my sewing room and work on several projects that have been slightly neglected recently. There is some quilting that needs to be done, for sure. One of these days I’ve got to teach the house to clean itself since I have way more important things to do.
I’ll also probably go back and read our newest issue, February/March 2013, as I’ve just been able to glance through it since I got it. It’s always fun for me to see everything we worked on in such a nice shiny package. We send it off to the publishers and put it out of mind as we begin work on the next issue, so I see it with new eyes when it reappears in the final incarnation and I remember anew everything that went into its creation.
I’ve blogged about our Staff Picks blocks before. It’s great to test out the new fabric lines and come up with a pleasing way to use them. For Feb/Mar 2013 I was lucky enough to get to use Alchemy by Shell Rummel for Blend Fabrics. This line is so beautiful! The delicate pastel colors, the cool organic shapes and serene mood all combine to make fabric almost too pretty to cut up. Almost. We all loved it immediately and agreed it was definitely one we wanted to feature. So I set about finding a block I liked and put it together.
I was surprised when I looked at my finished block and I didn’t really care for it. I didn’t lay out my patches beforehand, I just cut and sewed them together. I loved every fabric individually, so I wanted to use as many of them as possible but the block looked too busy and too bland at the same time. What was the problem? There was no contrast. I had enough time and fabric so I decided to give it another shot.
The next time, I was more careful. I thought about my block design in relation to light and dark, and fussy cut certain patches to create a definite focal point. And I laid everything out before I sewed it together to make sure I was happy with it. It still has an organic feel with the shapes and colors flowing into one another, but there’s more visual impact (You can get this free block pattern on our website. Try out your favorite fabric and color combinations and let me know how it turns out!). It certainly gave me some food for thought.
Just because a fabric is beautiful, it does not automatically mean that any quilt made from it will be just as stunning. The beauty of a quilt is entirely dependent on the quilt maker’s choices and his or her aesthetic sense. The color selection, placement of lights and darks and which patches are cut from which fabric make a huge difference in the final outcome. It can be the difference between a so-so quilt and a spectacular quilt. It is a lesson I keep learning over and over, and I hope I will master it one day.
I’m not the first to be stymied by this, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Even Lori, who is such a talented and experienced quilter, had to re-do a project for an upcoming issue (Stay tuned, everyone, you will love it!) because it lacked contrast. It looks much better now with the addition of some deeper and darker shades. Has this sort of thing ever happened to you?
I will keep all of this in mind as I spend my weekend quilting and thinking about my next piecing project. I hope you do, too! Mary Kate has challenged us all to get more quilting done this month, which I definitely plan to do, but I just wanted to distract you long enough to give you a few things to think about for your next project, and to remind you to enter our giveaway!
There’s still plenty of National Quilting Month left, so like us on Facebook to find out first about all our celebratory blog events and giveaways! We’ll let you know on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too, so find us there too!