Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about my fabric preferences and what works best for my style and budget.
In summary, I wrote that I found it easiest to work with tone-on-tone low contrast texture-y looking fabrics. I can use them a lot ways and in a lot of different styles of quilts. Most importantly, they DON’T define the style of my quilt – that’s my job.
High-contrast multicolored prints – especially those with a lot of white – give me a lot of trouble. I’ve always felt that all the different colors in a print need to be recognized and honored, which explains why I think a lot of designer prints don’t play well with other prints.
That particular color of pink. Or that especially unique aqua. Even what should be a neutral gray that doesn’t quite go with any other gray in my entire box of gray fabrics (doesn’t everyone have a box just with gray fabrics in it?)
The other difficulty is that high-contrast, multicolored prints have a style. Contemporary, traditional, whimsical, youthful – the designer makes that determination by what they put on the fabric, be it stick figures or over-blown Jacobean flowers.
Having the style pre-defined feels very limited, like “the-only-print-that’s-going-to-work-is-more-KF-stuff” rather than the the dam-the-torpedoes, I-know-I’ve-got-the-right-color-in-here-someplace or at-most-I-can-buy-a-fat-quarter-to-get-me-through feeling.
Yeah, you can cut those Jacobean flowers into little bitty pieces, but that’s the only way to get rid of that style – it never really goes away. And didn’t you buy that fabric BECAUSE the Jacobean floral spoke to you somehow? Why bother buying it then?
And this experience has confirmed the validity of that post from long-ago.
So back to my Crossroads quilt. I’ve got a plan, pulled my first choices of fabric from my overflowing stash and started constructing my blocks with center post.
As the quilt developed on the design wall, it became obvious that I was missing flow and connections between the different scrap fabrics. That’s partly because even though I thought I had a lot of fabric, what I found is that I have a little bit of a lot of different prints.
The cohesiveness was just **meh** . I needed a change in color palette and prints to help everything work together better. (Do you hear it? The siren song?)
The first thing I did was to pull out the cornea-searing yellows (all KF prints) that hogged the spotlight. Then, much to the delight of a couple of online retailers and my LQS, I beefed up my inventory of softer, cooler KF prints (there it is – the vicious cycle begins again) and forged onward.
Now I can take a cold cruel look at what I’ve gotten myself into. The best way to do that is to take off my glasses and squint.
Are there globs of dark? Washes of light? Chunks of color that should be broken up? Wads of muddiness that need to be thinned out?
Here it as it stands – the blocks are not yet stitched together. These are the blocks for the center section of the quilt that will fit on the center of the bed. (The overhang may or may not be more of the same blocks – as the Supreme Ruler of my quilting empire, I reserve that decision for later.
If you squint, you can see a couple of value problems – one in the upper right corner and one in the mid left area. Specifically, the print that is in the row 1, column 5 and it’s repeat on row 4 column 2 seems to be muddying up the water.
Now I’ll let this stay on the design wall and marinate a bit while I work on the overhang.
(I regularly bemoan my photography skills, and this is no exception. The photograph also shows 4 blue blocks that look a little painful as well as a couple of acid green blocks that are putting up a fight, but I think that’s partly because I tweaked the colors on the photo. Regardless, they’re still in the mix for the moment – more surgery may be coming!)
All the best -