Friday, February 11, 2022

Choosing fabrics that YOU like for your next quilt

 OK -- I'm not sure who read the blog first thing in the morning yesterday, but Grammarly did NOT do me a service. During my editing, Grammarly stripped ALL the punctuation out of the blog. ZERO periods, no commas, nothing! It was a nightmare, and I had two anxious dogs waiting, so I couldn't fix it at that time. It's fixed now -- thankfully, my "editor" doesn't read the blog until later!

I admit that I', a bit obsessive. I don't think I'm too bad, but once I get fixated on something and am motivated, I can stick to it like mud to Murphy!

That's sort of what's happening in Studio B. I'm obsessed with decluttering and tidying up. Oh boy --- why did that take so long? I know precisely! When I started to make the mess, I was in my glory--- all these newfound things to play with, fabrics to buy, projects to work on, and I couldn't see the forest for the trees. 

Then the mess became so huge that I was intimidated with fixing it. Where would I start? How would I find a home for everything? It became a nightmare, and I ignored it. 

At one point, I realized that things had to change. OK -- so it was water damage in the basement that spearheaded the need to tidy up. 

Now that I'm close -- seriously -- that's such a lie. Will I ever be done? I doubt it. Once I feel it's sorted and everything is put away, which is very close at hand, I'll dig out something else and start a further refining and sorting job. I know it -- I'm like that. I'll likely have even more lists of the projects, and they will be sorted by age, category, or some other obsessive thing. BUT it won't be such a considerable task next time around, and since I'm much freer in letting things go, I suspect that more stuff will get donated to the community projects pile. I'm OK with that! At some point, it all has to be dealt with. 

I spent the ENTIRE afternoon sorting and tidying. Good grief -- what a "time-waster." But I suspect that it's a good process for my brain, and I like doing this kind of thing. I'm MAD! But at the same time, I feel like a HUGE calm has descended on Studio B. It's weird -- there's no rushing around like mad, and it's very therapeutic to go through the stuff. 

You'll get to see more of what happened another day. I have something else to share today, and it's still about decluttering. 

Right now, I'm making/teaching FOUR different Jen Kingwell quilts. Once I'm done with this lot -- I'm done with Jen Kingwell! UNLESS  we have one more round to ensure the stragglers finish their Jen Kingwell quilts. 

There is Long Time Gone, and this is the second time around teaching that one. I still need to put the border on my quilt. 

There's BOHO Heart, where all the homework assignments are up to date, and I'll be prepping Green Tea and Sweet Beans this afternoon. And that leaves Gypsy Wife, now known as Wanderers Wife. 

I fell in love with that quilt MANY years ago and had actually started it. Trying to use up the basket of fabric is one of the reasons why I decided to teach this one. 

I'm making a totally different colorway for the class, and I decided to dig out that original basket of fabric and make TWO versions of the quilt. Both will be quite different. 

My original basket of fabric for Wanderer's Wife

The fabrics for the original quilt are busy, with minimal contrast, and I tried to replicate that with my fabrics. The main fabrics were a fat quarter collection I bought years ago. 

My main fabrics for my first attempt at Wanderer's Wife

I added some solids in the main colors of the prints. 

Solids for Wanderer's Wife

And then I picked these as my lights or backgrounds. My goal was to make a quilt with busy backgrounds. 

Background fabrics for Wanderers Wife

And here's one of the blocks I made. It meets the requirements -- the block pattern is visible, there is contrast in color and value, but I HATE it. 

One of the blocks from my original attempt at Wanderer's Wife

Why do I hate it? Knowing why you hate something is very important. You can't just hate something -- you need to identify why you hate it, so you don't make that same mistake again. I really do NOT like the busy backgrounds. I've tried several times with other quilts, but it just doesn't work for me. 

WAIT --- I know you're going to ask about the busy background for BOHO heart which is black on white. Yep -- that's very busy, but the contrast is full color and value, with the black on white acting like a neutral. 

See here with my bright orange, pink and red blocks -- the black on white is very neutral. 

Black on white acts as a neutral with the bright colors

And in the case of the apple quilt -- the same thing --- the black on white is neutral. I LOVE that effect and would do it again in a heartbeat. 

A busy NEUTRAL background which I LOVE

But this look? 

I am NOT fond of this look

Those blocks do NOT excite me in the least. So I took a MAJOR step and abandoned this version of Wanderers Wife. Yep --- I'm only going to make one, and that's the blue/yellow one I'm behind on. 

So what to do with all this fabric? Well, I picked fabrics for my Green Tea quilt, but was I thrilled with them? Again -- keep in mind that Green Tea is a VERY busy quilt, and there is not tons of contrast in it. 

The pattern for Green Tea and Sweet Beans

Here's my original selection of fabric. 

My original selection of fabric for Sweet Tea

And while I think that is exciting and would have looked amazing, I now have a collection of fat quarters with prints on them that I think will look better. I'm so glad I held back from making any blocks. 

Here's my new set of fabrics for the quilt. I kept the fat quarters and the solids and added a variety of whites for the backgrounds. NOW I want to make that quilt. Even better -- I didn't have to buy anything. 

My new fabric collection for Sweet Tea and Green Beans

I had even cut some of the strips for the background of Wanderers Wife. Those got sorted, and the ones that matched the fat quarters got put with the fat quarters, and hopefully, I can use them somewhere in the quilt. 

Strips cut for Wanderers Wife

The pale busy prints got sorted and put in the appropriate scrap boxes. 

Sorting the strips

The same thing happened with the fat quarters of the busy prints, so they got sorted by color and put in the appropriate fabric basket in the stash room. 

The busy prints are sorted

Gosh -- I feel so much better about that. I have an excellent colorway for my new quilt, I got rid of a UFO, and I won't be making something that I don't like!! It's a HUGE win. 

Here's an interesting thing -- I do NOT know why people feel compelled to make their quilt EXACTLY like the original. OK  - I do get it, and it may have been the original coloring that attracted you to the quilt. I get that. But now you're going to have a quilt that's identical to hundreds of others. I think more people are afraid of making a mistake. 

I've heard other people say that they love a particular quilt but don't have fabrics like that but have tons of other fabrics in their stash. So why not shake it up and choose something totally different from the original. Use your favorite colors, mix them up, experiment with the colors. That is the BEST part of the entire quilting process. 

And yes -- sometimes there's a fail, like what would happen with my original Wanderers Wife. I knew I wasn't going to be happy, so I abandoned it. Isn't it better to abandon it and have a few orphan blocks than to make a quilt I didn't like? 

And if you don't experiment, you'll always play it safe. You won't learn anything. Then there's the fact that the blocks have to be identical to the pattern or in a specific spot in the quilt. NO, NO, NO!!!! If you don't like a block -- find a substitute. The participants of the sew-along groups get better with this one all the time. But unless the sizes are all different (like in Long Time Gone), it's OK to change up the position of the blocks. That's the case with BOHO heart and Wanderers Wife. Many blocks are the same size and can be switched around to make the quilt setting unique. I'm not married to the layout in the book. I'll put the colors where they will fit best. 

Yes -- I have more experience, and it may be easier for me, but it wasn't always that way. I NEEDED to have the SAME fabric as the pattern, but NO MORE. I march to my own drum, and I LOVE it, but I had many failures along the way, I had much angst in some cases, and it was scary and challenging, but I'm so glad I persevered. 

But since this is our hobby and it's not cheap, you must follow your heart. If you need to make the quilt like the original, then DO IT. There's nothing wrong with that. If you need the same fabrics or colors, go for it. And if you don't like the fabrics you've chosen, and you're partway through -- STOP and change them, but not before you ask yourself WHY you don't like what you've chosen. 

It's OK to make mistakes, and I would still be matching fabrics if I didn't make a mistake or two along the way. 

I know that Murphy seems to get all the air time but look at that sassy Husky we call Lexi. Look at that eye -- oh yes, she's pretty lazy compared to Murphy, but she's very aware and will follow you without moving her head!! Oh, Lexi!!! 

Lazy Lexi with the watchful eye

And on that note, I'm out of here. Another morning married to the computer and then downstairs to get some work done. I'm making significant headway on my Master List for February -- and I hope to check a few more boxes off today. NO MORE sorting today. I've run out of time for this month. 

Have a super day!!!


1 comment:

  1. Lol, Elaine…
    Whether you were or not, I felt like you were talking to me when you talked about not adhering totally to the pattern/colourway. Yesterday, I went shopping for more Tula Pink fabrics in blue/purple colours, and agonized a bit because I couldn’t find any I liked. I toyed with the idea of driving even further to Barrie to hunts for Tula Pink options. Originally, I was thinking I only wanted to use Tula fabrics for her Butterfly pattern….but I got over it. I bought some Kaffe Fassett blues/purples that I like better. This also all came about because I didn’t like the yellow/green section of the butterfly and decided I wanted to extend the pinks/corals down, and the blues/purples up. And now, if that isn’t enough, I’m thinking of totally changing the background fabric….even though I already purchased her colourway :P