Monday, September 16, 2019

Needs simmering

I have gorgeous fabrics.

Shimmer Radiance by Deborah Edwards of Northcott
Just look at that blue with little metallic silver highlights!  How could I leave that on the shelf?

Natures Pearl fabric by Maria Kalinowski for Kanvas Studio
You can't tell from the picture, but the dots on this are metallic silver.  Very, very pretty though not my usual choice of fabrics.

I bought them with a particular design in mind.  I designed it in a much softer color palette for a project I can't share yet, and decided to challenge myself to give it a totally different feeling with stronger, darker colors.  It actually looked pretty good in Civil War reproduction blues, and in a particular group of reds.  I rather like the suggestion of plaid in the background.

Starlight Plaid in repro blues

Starlight plaid in reds

The catch is that I couldn't find what I had in mind at the quilt shop. I must be the pickiest fabric shopper ever, because with a choice of over 10,000 bolts of fabric at Quilting Connection  I wasn't satisfied.  Sigh. I just find it hard to change course when I have the perfect combo in my head.

However, change course I did!  How about a "guy quilt" in steely greys with just a pop of color in the stars?  That's when those two gorgeous fabrics above jumped on to my cart.  I chose three more greys to play with them, brought them home and promptly began to doubt my choices. There may not be enough value contrast between my first two fabrics for the design to pop.

Last night I stayed up late sewing some test blocks, hoping I was wrong.  While I sewed I had the sinking feeling that I was right.  I put the blocks up on the wall and went to bed mulling over options.  I liked the greys, but the blue wasn't working for the stars.  I went to sleep stumped about what to do about the stars.

I like my grey plaid background, but the star points fade away.  I still love that blue. I so badly want it to work, but I think it will have to wait for a different quilt.  

So what do you think about those stars?  I could use the same fabric as the lightest grey in the background, but would that make the quilt too dull, so very monochromatic?  Or creamy yellow stars?  Maybe I could find a red that would work, but it might be a challenge to find a value that isn't too close to the darker greys, with the same trouble the blue is having.  I thought it was vibrant enough that it would work anyway, but clearly value still counts.

So, it needs simmering.  I'm off to work on something completely different now!


  1. I have to say that I love Starlight Plaid in the repro blues. It really speaks to me.
    Being a little farther from the design wall gives me better perspective, so it is hard for me to say if the blue/grey combo works or not. I want to think it does. I want to believe that there is enough "electric" to that blue that it stands out (albeit subtly) from the greys. But again, for me, I have to step back as far from my design wall as I can to get the perspective that helps me make those kinds of decisions. I'm afraid the photo puts me closer than I am used to being when making those calls. Big help, huh? :)

  2. I really like these colors and fabrics together. The effect is understated, which I think works great for a guy. But I do see how those star points are fading away. Could you swap the lightest grey and the printed black so the star points have more to pop against, but you still get to use that amazing black? I'm not sure if that would disrupt the plaid effect of the design, though. (And I'm over here, also working on a grey and blue quilt, hoping it doesn't get too blue or too grey in any areas because random is how my pattern rolls!)

  3. Hmmm. How about a brighter blue for some pop? Or even a limey green.... or orange? something bright. That blue would be lovely in the other block as the dark color... with a light and medium grey. Maybe a black for the background...Just a thought.

  4. I love the greys, but I think it needs a brighter colour to make the stars pop. Perhaps a red, a yellow would be striking but maybe too overpowering for the stars. |Have fun laying out a few different colours and letting them percolate the right one will come to you.

  5. Yellow is traditional but a pop of color is needed so any vibrant but lighter color will work. Try a bright red, orange, or green. Use different hues of the color you choose to add more interest to the stars. I like the arrangement and the use of grey. Looking forward to seeing what you will choose.

  6. I really like the idea of the plaid look too! Hope you solve your dilemma and can move it forward. How about red stars that really pop?

  7. It can be so disappointing when perfect fabrics with perfect shimmer are just not the correct value. I love blues and grays together and am working on a quilt with those right now. But I had to discard many darker grays and lighter blues to make it work, alas. I hope you find just the right fabric for your stars in this gorgeous design!

  8. I think greys and blues together is a great idea. No suggestions on how to make it pop. Really light electric blue? Or something much darker and stronger. Good luck with that!

  9. Great pattern and beautiful fabrics but they do get lost together. No good suggestions here. Hope you can find something that plays well together!

  10. The first fabric I see stars, or waves sprinkling and the second one is ripples... more water! Beautiful fabrics, inspiring idea for the quilt, but you are right, need more contrast.

  11. I think it all looks just fine as it is, but then, I'm not as good at colors as you are. I'm sure you will make the right decision; you always do! Just go ahead and it will all work out just fine. ---"Love"

  12. When I enlarged the picture, the blue stood out a lot more, so I think it is great, especially for a man's quilt. However, I like the idea of red as well.


Thank you for visiting. I truly appreciate your comments and will try to reply to comments by email if your commenting staus is not set to "no-reply".

If you have a question, emailing me directly at will ensure I have your address to respond. I promise I will not share your email address and I will not use it for any purpose other than replying to your message.