Friday, February 25, 2022

A straight line kind of quilter

I have made no progress choosing fabrics for Shiny Blossoms.   I'm still well and truly indecisive. In the hopes that a break will let me come back with fresh eyes and ideas,  I shifted to pondering a different project.

blue and green geometric quilt top.
Modern Lace quilt top, featuring the Mountain Gems collection from Island Batik.

This version of Modern Lace,  featuring fabrics from Island Batik's Mountain Gems collection, needs quilting.  I really want to quilt it myself, because it has pretty blues and greens and it will make me happy to look at the fabric all over again while I quilt it.  Plus, I'd love to have a home-quilted version to contrast with the longarmed version that graces the pattern cover.  It would fit right into my "There's More than One Way to Quilt a Quilt" presentation (click here for more info about that).

Paper, rulkers, templates and pencil strewn over a blue and green quilt top.  Quilting motifs are drawn on the paper.
Coming up with a quilting plan for Modern Lace

I planned to quilt some ruler work curves, perhaps clamshells or a string of small circles.  I really thought it would add pretty frills to a "lacy" quilt, but when I started drafting out that plan on paper none of my ideas excited me.

It turns out I'm in the mood for straight lines.  This quilt is all about crisp lines and angles, and all my curvy ideas were just too busy.  The blue and green fabrics are so pretty all on their own, I don't think they need busy quilting to draw the eye.  I'm going to skip the curvy designs in favour of quilting straight lines to accentuate the block layout.

A grouping of 6 folded blue and green batik fabrics, laid out in a fan.
Mountain Gems fabrics from Island Batik

What about in the background?  Before I pulled the quilt top out today, I thought there was a lot of background space that would benefit from  more intricate quilting.  At the very least I could add a string of circles all along the outside edges, like a string of beads.

Memory is a funny thing.  There really isn't much background to fill at all. The longer the top sat on the shelf, the larger the background space became in my mind. There really is not much background at all, and the ideas that have been hanging around in my head for the past several weeks will not work in the actual space.

So...I'm turning to unassuming straight lines again.  I am coming to terms with the idea that I'm a straight line quilter most of the time.  I see curves on other quilts and love them,  and I want curves too, until I actually start drawing things out.  When I actually start quilting on my own quilts, the uncluttered look of straight lines wins more often than not.  It's actually rather intriguing to see what I can do with straight lines, changing spacing and angles and lengths, and crossing over...

Do you have a "go-to" quilting style?  Straight lines or curves?  All-over or custom? A random mix?  I'd love some links to some of your favourites so I can go take a peek while I wait to start quilting Modern Lace.  I need a trip to the store for matching thread before I can start, and I don't have the car today...

Happy quilting,


PS Random thought:  Why doesn't the spell checker ever suggest "quilting" as an alternative when I (often) accidentally type "quiting"?  You would think it would recognize that I use the word a lot!

Saturday, February 19, 2022

I need to choose

 I need to make a sample for a new pattern.  It's written, the design is featured in Northcott's Winter 2022 look book  and it needs a cover quilt.  Unfortunately, the fabric I designed it with will not be available for several months.

Shiny Blossoms mocked up in Northcott's upcoming Dragonfly Dreams fabrics

Since I designed it with a light background, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to make the sample with a darker background.  I spent a couple of hours browsing the aisles of my local quit shop and came up with two possibilities.

Sometimes I can see clearly in my head what the quilt will look like in certain  fabrics.  This time the picture stayed fuzzy.  None of the fabric combinations I pulled together made me excited to take it home.  Still, I needed fabric for the test sample so I ended up buying a little bit of each combo to make sample blocks.  I felt sure I'd know what to pick once I had blocks sewn.

Nope.  I still don't know.  

The center star and the checkerboard cornerstones in both blocks are actually the same light yellow with little speckles.  The photo really washes out its colour and doesn't do it justice, but it's really quite pretty.

I love blues, so I was surprised when the blue version didn't immediately speak to me.  I think the blue floral might be what's holding me back.  I though a print would add interest and that the little yellow accents in the floral would go well with the yellow in the star, but I'm not sure this print fits with the rest of the fabrics.  Also, my eye is drawn to the central star rather than to the whole block. 

I really love the texture in the black background, and I feel the greys I chose emphasize the blossom shape more than the star.  To my surprise, this block actually appeals to me a little bit more than the blue one.  I'm just not sure I want a whole quilt of these fabrics.  I'm also worried all that black without brighter colors will not appeal to customers if I use this quilt on the pattern cover.

One option would be to go ahead and make the black version to test the pattern, but use the Dragonfly Dreams mock-up on the cover.  I'm not excited about that though. I like to have a finished quilt on the pattern cover to show consumers that it's possible to make the quilt.  The few patterns I released with a mock-up on a cover (because I had difficulty getting a good photo) don't sell well.  Then again, maybe that's just a coincidence. I have a few patterns I was excited about that have an actual finished quilt on the cover yet don't sell well at all, so maybe real quilt vs mockup wasn't the issue.

Another option is to go back to the shop and try to pull together another fabric combination.

What would you do?  Ideas are welcome!