I have been so busy the last couple of weeks. First of all this happened…
My King Quilter Long Arm arrived in about seven boxes. My wonderful friends, Shelle and Janet, offered to come over on the Sunday before we left on the Retreat and help me put it together. Both of these ladies know so much and are so generous with their time and knowledge. For the price of a large pizza and two bottles of wine, they gave me six hours of their time on a Sunday afternoon and we got her together. I still have to sew a channel on my leaders (because I’m using the Red Snappers), but then she will be ready to load and I’ll be ready to take her for a spin.
Let me tell you, the Retreat was awesome! First here’s some background on it. When the High Point Quilt Guild formed in 2012, one of the first things the group decided was that we needed a few days to get together and just quilt. We didn’t want to worry about meals. We wanted to be able to stay overnight, and we didn’t want to have to drive hours to get to the location. Haw River State Park fit the bill nicely. It was close, it had lodge rooms, and it provided meals. So in October 2012 we had our first “Drop Everything and Just Quilt!” Retreat. And we’ve been going back every year since. We’ve expanded the Retreat from three days to four and now we allow non-guild members to also attend.
It’s four days of talking, laughing, eating, and quilting (not necessarily in that order) with a wonderful group of women. I would like to encourage you to find a group to quilt with. I belong to five groups – two are guilds and the other three are bees. While there is great pleasure in working on our art alone (it frees the mind, reduces stress, allows you to use a different part of the brain), there is also great fellowship among quilters. We support each other, inspire each other, pray for each other, and on occasion – when necessary – tell each other the hard truth. I have honestly learned as much about life as I have about quilting with the women I surround myself with.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful things that were made…
I promise to have more on color next week. Meanwhile, I’m still unpacking…
And there’s a good reason for this. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you are aware that I normally publish on Thursday, and at the very latest, on Friday. But this week is a little pushed for time, as I’m in a workshop tomorrow all day and then there’s guild meeting tomorrow night. So tonight it is…
I’ve said all of that to say this: Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. I know we’ve been discussing color (and we will pick that up again soon), but when we were just starting this series, I urged you to take a walk. Observe the color combinations that Mother Nature puts together and don’t be afraid to copy them.
We moved from there to focus fabrics, where I explained that it’s always important to let fabric “speak to you.”
Now for this: Look for inspiration all around you. I am lucky enough to live and work in High Point, North Carolina, the Furniture Capital of the World. I know, I know…Vegas is billing itself as that now, but we had the title FIRST. And while other High Point residents may bemoan that twice-a-year market as a time of too much traffic and too few restaurants, I love it. Know why?
All. The. Colors.
Main Street is awash with the newest colors and it’s easy to get inspired to either redecorate your house or make a new quilt every day! Understand that color is a very individual thing and what I may completely all head-over-heels for you may very well turn around and run from. It’s subjective. It’s emotionally and mentally linked. But try this little trick the next time you do a double-take at something and ask yourself, “Was it the color that made me stop and take a second look?” If that was the reason, or even part of the reason, you may want to snap a picture with your cell phone and file it away. Then the next time you’re planning a quilt, pull it out and take a look at it. That may just be your next focus fabric color.
This week, my DH came home with a new rug for his den. The colors were tan and blue. The rug immediately caught my eye because it looked old. I took a second look when I realized that those colors would look beautiful in a quilt. A few shots with my cell phone and now I have a pictorial file of inspiration.
Then there was also this:
This is a fabric that I am using for my Farmer’s Wife Quilt. I’m making that one out of Fig Tree Fabrics and this is a great print. However, for whatever reason, this week that fabric reached out and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey! I’d make a great focus fabric!” I happened to agree and purchased the last four yards on the bolt at Dragonfly. Since the pattern was large-ish, when I snapped the picture, I placed a penny beside it to give me a size reference. This will come in handy when I start purchasing additional fabrics to go with it.
Finally, remember this focus fabric that I said spoke to me from all the way across the room?
This is the quilt top I made with it:
It has not been quilted yet, but you can see the how the other material pulls out the colors of the focus fabric.
There will not be a blog next week as I will be attending the High Point Quilt Guild’s Annual “Drop Everything and Just Quilt!” Retreat. Much fun will be hand, many calories will be consumed, a lot of stitching will be done, and loads of laughter will prevail.
From fabric that “speaks to us” to marrying that fabric to the quilt pattern, I want to cover all of this in today’s blog…
Like I stated in last week’s blog, I’m not sure what makes me pick a certain fabric as my focus fabric. Sometimes I’m going for a certain color scheme on a quilt (especially if I’m making the quilt as a gift for someone and they have a favorite color), but most of the time it’s just a fabric that appeals to me for any number of reasons. It could be the use of color. It could be full of possibilities. It could be whimsical. To be honest, I’m not sure, I just have to have it and take it home with me.
We will explore color and fabric choices in the next several blogs, but to kick us off, let’s just start with this:
I found this beautiful lime green and purple fabric at Quilting at the Beach*. This particular fabric is the focus fabric for a quilt I’m making called Garden Gate. Lime green is also a favorite of mine, so to find it coupled with my very favorite color purple, was simply a dream come true.
This pretty quilt is designed by Diane Nagle and can be found in the September/October 2016 edition of Quiltmaker magazine. This particular pattern calls for seven cuts of fabric and some assorted scraps for the squares in the borders.
For those of you that have taken my beginning design class, you may remember that you really only need five fabrics to make almost any quilt. And for those of you who haven’t taken my beginning design class, there it is – the critical information you need. Five fabrics – that is all. You need a focus fabric, a neutral, two tertiary or analogous colored fabrics, and a complementary colored fabric. **
We discussed neutral fabrics a couple of blogs ago. Technically, neutral fabrics are those falling into the color realms of white, black, ecru, beige, tan, or gray. The neutral fabric is kind of like the mortar that holds bricks or cinder blocks together. Neutral fabrics don’t really get a lot of attention, but they’re the glue of the quilt. They make the quilt flow and ebb and allow a resting place for the eyes as they travel over the quilt. Quilts without these tend to make me a little edgy because I have no idea where to look first. It is interesting to note at this point, that the definition of neutrals (white, black, tan, ecru, beige, or gray) is changing a bit. Several quilt designers have opted for other solids as the neutral if it enhances the quilt better. For instance, I recently completed a quilt that pink was the neutral. And the pink wasn’t a light shade that trended more toward white, either. It was a true pink. It simply did the quilt a bigger justice than any other neutral, so I used it. When the quilt is out of competition phase, I will be happy to share it on this blog, but I cannot until then.
On Garden Gate, I fell back to my favorite neutral – gray. I think it worked better for the lime green and purple than anything else.
Since the pattern called for seven cuts of yardage, I chose four analogous colors instead of two. Analogous colors are those colors that are side by side on a color wheel, such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. I wanted to play up the purple on the lime-green focus fabric, so I opted for these analogous fabrics.
Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. In this particular situation, I wanted the complementary color to be opposite of purple instead of green. In this case, that color was yellow. This is the particular fabric I chose.
Why did I chose the complementary color to be opposite of the purple instead of the green focus fabric? I could have. If I had, the complementary color would have fallen into the orange-range. However, personally, I didn’t like the way that orange played with purple, so I opted for the yellow. And if you look at a more detailed color wheel (one with more than twelve colors), you can see that lime-green is a complementary color of purple which is a complementary to yellow, so really the yellow-purple-green-gray thing is going to work better than almost anything else.
Besides, I think yellow adds a little more sparkle to a quilt.
In addition to the colors, there were some other ideas I had to keep in mind about this quilt. Finished, this quilt is 63.5 inches by 76.5 inches or a little over 5 feet by 6 feet. It’s not a huge quilt. As a matter of fact, it falls between the youth and twin-sized quilt range. None of the fabric that is cut to make the pieced blocks is over 7.25 inches square and these blocks are cut on the diagonal to make two triangles. The solid blocks in the middle are 9.5 inches unfinished. Armed with this information, I quickly realized that large prints would not work well for this project. Those would overwhelm this sweet quilt. I also realized that if I chose fabrics with a pattern on them (which I did), the pattern would need to be fairly close together or I would lose impact.
So besides taking color into consideration, it’s also very important to read the entire pattern directions. Remember when we were talking about project planning back in the summer and I emphasized that it was important to take the entire project into consideration and not just the pretty picture on the pattern? This is another reason why it’s important. It’s perfectly wonderful to buy a pattern because we love it and it’s perfectly wonderful to purchase fabric because it “speaks to us.” However, when you marry the two, it’s important to count the cost and have all the details. Quilting is an investment of time and money, so make sure the fabric you love will work with the pattern or the pattern will work with the fabric you love. If they both marry well, then you will have a project that you will love to work on and be happy with the end results.
Now I have a focus fabric, four analogous fabrics, a neutral fabric, and a complementary fabric. All of them play well together and will work with my pattern. If I can get this sucker cut out and ready to take to Quilt Retreat at the end of the month, I’ll be in business.
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam
*Quilting at the Beach is a wonderful quilt shop located at 3246 Waccamaw Ave. in Myrtle Beach, SC. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth it to take the time and stop in for a visit. It has everything from reproduction fabric to batiks to the latest lines that are seen in current quilt magazines. Plus the staff there is so helpful and friendly, you feel right at home in a matter of minutes.
**This information does not pertain to scrap quilts. Those are a whole ‘nother ballgame.
If you’re new to my blog, or if you’ve forgotten, I am not employed by any of the publications, publication companies, or other industries I mention in my blog, with the exception of Dragonfly Quilt Shop in High Point, NC.