Fabric Color Can Make All the Difference in a Quilt Design

As I sat designing quilts in EQ7 the other day, I was amazed at how just a simple color change could make a quilt design look completely different – but also that it could change the depth of a quilt.  Depth?  Definitely.  Perhaps the closest example I can come up with is that a color change can take a one dimensional quilt and make it appear to be a two dimensional quilt.

If you’ve ever gone to a quilt show, you may see some folks looking at a quilt just as a person would look at a piece of art at a gallery.  Some quilts are worthy of our time to just look at them, absorb their beauty and craftsmanship…and those that truly draw our attention are usually those that appear to be two dimensional.  You turn your head one way, then another…you go off and look at other quilts…but always return to the one that strikes you as amazing.  And you stand there and wonder how it was made or how the designer and quilter were able to take a one dimensional quilt and make it appear to be a two dimensional quilt.

Let’s try a few simple designs and I’ll attempt to show you what I mean:

D1

This is a very one dimensional-appearing design.

D2

This design appears to be more two dimensional – with the blue nine-patch centers “popping” out of the quilt.

D3

Again, a two dimensional-appearing design with the nine-patch centers fading into the background and the ‘frames’ of the centers standing out.

I hope you can see the difference between the fabrics that make a quilt appear to be one dimensional or two dimensional.  Many times, it’s just one fabric that can do this for a quilt and sometimes it takes more than one fabric.  The goal, as is often suggested, is to buy your fabrics in the light, medium and dark fabrics.  They do NOT have to be all matchy-matchy…but, they do all need at least a single color that coordinates with another fabric.  Find a focus fabric you want to use and then choose the remaining quilt colors that will pull the color from the focus fabric – that’s the best way to create a two dimensional-appearing quilt, with the lights, mediums and darks coordinating with the focus fabric.

Play with this, see if you get the same results!

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    Quilted Lovies

    As I was searching through my stash baskets this past week, I ran into the fabric that a first cousin of mine had requested a number of years ago, to be used to make her a tote bag.  As far back as I can remember, this cousin loved the Spanish style – her sofa was an antique and covered in a red plush fabric.  Her dining table and chairs were the heavy, dark woods associated with a Spanish style.  Her house was even Spanish style, from what I remember.  Needless to say, when she asked me for a tote bag, she wanted it to be be in black and red fabrics!  I completed the ‘bones’ of the tote bag (shown below) but then she asked me to add a zipper so it was still a work in progress.

    My cousin then asked me to make her a baby quilt for her new grandson, who was to be born soon.  Unfortunately, she unexpectedly passed away before the baby was born and even before the quilt was done.  But, while she was in the hospital recuperating from a hip replacement…and then when she was at home recovering…we chatted often via Facebook.  As she felt weaker and weaker and had a premonition that she was going to have to go back to the hospital, she still visited with me when she was able.  She told me that if something happened to her, she wanted me to finish the tote bag for her oldest daughter, finish the quilt for her soon-to-be youngest grandson and to try to be available online in case her middle daughter needed a supportive ear or a virtual hug.

    I tried very hard to keep my promises that I made to her.  The tote bag was finished and went to her oldest daughter.  The baby quilt went to her grandson when he was born and then I made another quilt (same pattern, different fabrics, additional borders) for the baby’s older brother – children of her youngest daughter.  I also made a lap quilt for her middle daughter, so she could wrap herself in the quilted love that had the fabrics that were near and dear to her mother’s heart.  I then offered to make small quilts for her oldest daughter’s three children.

    Of course, disaster struck me before I pursued the last three projects – my dreaded MS diagnosis I received in December 2010.

    I have not forgotten my promise, however, and that leads us back to searching through that stash of mine.  Since I’m feeling a bit better and have some of my quilt mojo back, it’s time to get that to-do list better organized.  Once I recovered all of the leftover fabrics that my cousin had picked out from my stash, I had a bit more than I expected – but not enough to make three child-sized quilts.  What I decided to do was to make three quilted lovies.  These will probably be about 24″ square but will include a heart in them, made with my cousin’s red fabrics and then I will use the black fabrics as the borders.  Perhaps they will look something like this:

    Lovies

    Of course, my biggest hope is that I am once again able to create some quilted love from fabrics that their grandma had chosen – and they can love on their lovies to help them through good times and bad.

     

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      What’s Happening in the Quilt World 5/52: Free Quilt Patterns

      One of the best things about my website at BOMquilts.com is that I get to surf the web for free quilt patterns!  Who doesn’t love FREE?  Without further ado, let’s take a gander at what free quilt patterns the popular quilt magazines are offering!

      Free1

      Free2

      • From Quilter’s World:

      Free3

      Free4

      Free5

      Free6

      Where do you like to go to find free quilt patterns?

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        Documenting a Quilt with Photography

        I am pretty retentive when it comes to photographing my quilts – whether I am making one from someone else’s pattern or one of my own designs.  I try to take a picture of each block that goes into a traditional block quilt (or the finished project if it’s not traditional blocks).  As I was searching for a quilt I made a number of years ago, I realized I had some of block photographs and thought I’d have my own little show n’tell with quilts that I made in 2004.  Hope you enjoy the journey with me – and if you click on the blocks, you will see the quilt that the block goes with at BOMQuilts.com:

        ChocolateCakenRosesBlock

        “Cinnamon-Teen Chocolate Figs and Roses” Original BOM Quilt Designed by TK Harrison from BOMQuilts.com

        FairyTaleGardenBlock

        “TT Fairy Tale Garden” Original Quilt Designed by TK Harrison from BOMQuilts.com

        MistletoeInTheCorner

        “TT Mistletoe in the Corner” Original Quilt Designed by TK Harrison from BOMQuilts.com

        These definitely weren’t all that I made in 2004, but it’s a start!  I think I’ll take some time to put some pages together for myself with photos of the quilt blocks and the finished quilts.  How do YOU document all of the quilts that you take?

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          Fabric Stashbusting

          With six promised quilts or quilt projects accepted to an online quilt magazine, I had to do some stashbusting this weekend.  And I truly saw what type of quilt fabric color I had become over the years.  🙂

          I needed some red and blue fabrics for one scrappy project – but do you think I could find ANY of those in my stash?  Oh noooooooooo, it couldn’t be THAT easy!

          But the stashbusting was good for at least one good thing:  It showed me that I have a lot of fabrics in colors I would normally not quilt with, and very little of the fabrics that I use all the time!  Although my second daughter and I organized all of my stash in little baskets, what we didn’t do was to organize them by color (because we ran out of baskets!).  I purchased six new baskets and so perhaps I can find her in another bored moment and have her help me organize by color and not just by the size of the fabrics in my baskets.

          As this epiphany hit me, I dug a little deeper for scrappy fabrics in my stash for a quilted project and finally settled on using these fabrics:

          IMG_0421

          Now that I have them, I can get busy piecing my project.  I also need to get my stash fabrics color-coordinated so that when I need red and blue, I can make a note of it and head to my fabric supplier to fill in the blanks of my stash!

          Do you have your stash color-coordinated?  If so, what method of storing your stash suits your quilting style and purpose?

          Share and Enjoy!