Monday, January 30, 2012

Is simple as easy as it looks?

I am not sure why but recently I have become interested in creating "simple" blocks of color that I can arrange to look like they just happened. I bet you think this is easy. One of those quilts that just happen. You know--the quilt that anyone can do. And maybe everyone else can do it--maybe it is just me that has problems with this--I don't know.

The last time I tried--years and years ago--before I had darling 2 Conway Street--and I was working in the basement of our house--my two kittens snuck into the studio and decided to "help" me by removing all the blocks of that quilt from the design board. Oh I was not happy. It took forever to re-arrange the work to get it right again.

Anyhow I decided to make a quilt that reflected the colors of the dawn through the mist. After all--these colors are soft and beautiful. How controlled could I be in adding different colors but still keeping the quilt cohesive? Could I get the quilt to look like it "just happened" but also work as art? I am doing the Baltimore Craft Show next month and I do need more quilts in my booth.

Sometimes you don't know unless you try. So I started sewing. Pinned up a few blocks. Amazing how a block can look out of place until it is surrounded by more blocks. What do I think of the dark block--will it give a feeling of depth to the quilt?

 Is that orange block too intense? Out of place? What can I do?

Yes, moving it does help. I like how the greys in the upper corner anchor the space. What about the white as a counterpoint to the black? I will have to see.

Filling it in does answer some questions. Make what I know. I love how some of the prints are adding that bit of sparkle to the blocks--don't you? Still not sure about that orange though. Maybe it needs to be moved again.  I keep piecing. One block at a time. Look. Squint. Sleep on the ideas. Make some placemats. This quilt takes forever.

 Not bad. The orange now seems to be OK. But is the white too stark? Almost jarring? What if I redo it? Do I want to--no. I want it done but.... Let's see.

Yes, just that simple change makes the quilt more cohesive, doesn't it? What do you think? Does the quilt look planned but also spontaneous? Does it hold together but also interest the viewer? Have you ever tried to make a quilt that is just blocks of color? How do you maintain the integrity of the piece over time and still have surprises in it? The joy of the unexpected?


  1. I love your color sense and it's interesting to see the quilt in progress.

    Was it a conscious decision to have a checkerboard effect? Every other square (the ones with the fabrics going horizontal) is a cool color and the alternate ones are warm colors.

    The lightest color is in the middle and the darkest ones are at the edges. The dark one in the second row tends to draw my eye.

  2. I'm curious about the final configuration of this quilt...did it change or did you complete it as shown? I love the randomness of the squares even though the pavement really isn't so random.

    1. Hi Jennifer--I completed it as shown. I will try to post a picture on my blog soon--it will have its formal image taken in a couple of weeks. Thanks.